POW! Putin’s swift absorption of Crimea and his fiery speech Tuesday, which seemed to put a full stop on the post-Cold War era, forced the Obama administration into a new phase.
UPPER CUT! Putin has brilliantly out smarted the US and Europeans in a couple of days and has earned Russia more than 20 billion dollars and has also managed to get an extra 30% stake within the lucrative Russian energy sector.
POW! Obama will pick up the banner next week and Washington has already sent six extra F-15 fighters to step up NATO air patrols over the Baltic.
MISS! Obama will also next week urge allies to do more to help Ukraine navigate an economic crisis exacerbated by the loss of a huge loan from Russia.
POW! Putin, not merely bolstering the security of Russia’s naval base on the coast of Crimea (an autonomous republic of Ukraine that once belonged to Russia) but has mobilized 30,000 troops to occupy the entire enclave.
MISS! Obama placed sanctions on Russia, and last Monday the Dow Jones surged 182.2 points to 16,247.9 at the open on Wall Street on positive news that Western sanctions against Russia over the referendum in Crimea look relatively lame.
KNOCKOUT! Putin has outlined the Kremlin’s retaliation strategy, firstly to drop the dollar, sell US Treasuries, tell the Russian companies to default on their American dollar debts, and seek to build an alternative currency system to replace the Greenback!
Putin can sit and wait in his ring side corner. He has the upper hand in this game—and the more the West plays on his terms, the stronger his hand will be. Sanctions won’t change his behaviour, except to strengthen it—and once that becomes clear, Putin will become stronger, the West will become weaker, and a solution to the Ukraine crisis will recede in the distance.