In an opinion piece for City A.M., John Hulsman, a leading geo-political risk analyst and speaker, discussed Putin’s position with regard to the emerging situation in the Ukraine.
Presently, John explains, the EU and NATO countries have two dire choices with how to proceed: a) back up their rhetoric and put the money where their mouth is, which seems implausible considering that a monumental amount of financial aid will be needed to repair Ukraine’s crippled economy; or b) watch the whole enterprise fail and let Russia take the reins, a truly tragic situation.
John argues that from Putin’s point of view, it is “far better to do far less, let Western over-promising run its course, have Ukraine limp along, underlining how badly it needs Russian help and support.” He goes on to outline four steps Putin can take to aid this process:
- Lightly encourage separatists in eastern and especially southern Ukraine to demand such a degree of autonomy that the central government in Kiev barely functions.
- Simply make Ukraine pay the market price for gas, thereby dooming the enfeebled country to economic ruin.
- Count on Western aid arriving a day late and a dollar short.
- Understand that the IMF will demand absolute austerity considering the Ukraine’s notorious record on rule of law issues, which in turn will confer huge unpopularity on the government and discredit both the fragile new regime as well as the West in general.
Considering that over the weekend “Putin has discredited the West, fatally weakened the new pro-western government in Kiev, and scuppered any hope Ukraine might have had to join Nato”, as John writes in this morning’s City A.M., it seems as though the odds remain on his side.
Today the article featured as the most read story on realclearpolitics, which is the compilation of all the major English language foreign policy stories in the world on any given day. Click here for the full analysis.
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