John Hulsman: “the West can still best a crumbling Russia”

John HulsmanFollowing his hugely popular pieces on Russia’s takeover of the Crimea, John Hulsman, prolific foreign affairs commentator, continues to offer his sought after analysis of the situation.

In this morning’s City A.M. article, John argues that although Putin has won the Crimea, he should lose the long game. Over just a few days the Russian President has “weakened Western standing, crippled the new Ukrainian government…and secured primary Russian interests.” In comparison, President Obama’s less measured response shows a discrepancy between his real world options and his “maximalist Wilsonian rhetoric.”

In other words, the threat to place economic sanctions on Russia would be a dramatically terrible idea. John explains that this is because we now live in a world of interdependence advocated by leftish foreign policy, which in this case is a great handicap when considering that Russia supplies one third of Europe’s gas supply.

However, despite this state of affairs John demonstrates that like Putin, the West too has the ability to demarcate spheres of influence:

  1. First, make specific threats – that the US is prepared to fight a war for all the exposed members of the alliance.
  2. Second, Nato should forward deploy troops to the Baltic states and Poland, as a physical gesture of the West’s continued solidarity.
  3. Third, a new missile defence system should be deployed in Poland. This physical reinforcement, coupled with rhetorical clarity, would go a long way towards calming our allies’ fears.
  4. Lastly, the West must be prepared to play a long game, all the while calmly seeing that we hold most of the geopolitical cards.

The last point pertains to the fact that Russia is solely dependant on oil and gas to survive. With the US now embarking on its shale gas revolution, the opportunity is rife to imperil Russia’s great power pretensions.

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