I am reluctant to make what is becoming increasingly obvious about the aims of Putin. We need only to hark back to the 1930’s and reflect on another time in history, prior to WW2, when another ‘dictator had expansionist plans, to make a modern day comparison. One could almost have some sympathy for Russia’s claims re the Crimea, although his methodology in achieving his claims, leave many questions uncomfortably unanswered.
Is Putin going to stop at the Crimea or is he going to continue his westward roll through parts of, if not all of Ukraine, the Baltic States and even Finland? He may even have his eyes on Poland and other former Republics. The only ones he feels unsafe in are the ‘Stans’ on his southern border. Even he knows that he would be chasing the tiger by the wrong end in those cases!
It is time to draw the line in the sand and put in place far reaching sanctions that deliver the message that says-STOP! Putin has hooked into a latent nationalistic fervour that many dictators find convenient, when things are about to pear-shape on the home front. The Russian economy is very narrowly based on oil and not much else. The corruption has meant that few now control the vast resources of the old Soviet State, all friends and allies of Putin.
Russian people are not stupid. They know that they have a new Stalin on their hands and for many---this is indeed good; it reminds them of a past when housing, jobs, health and education were a given. The new Russia may not be able to deliver in that way, but the spectre of a ‘strong leader’ gives them false hope.
This time in history, the USA is not following an isolationist policy. IT is Europe and to a lesser extent other powers, that are sitting watching and hoping that they are not going to be badly affected by the events unfolding at Putin’s behest. If the UN had ‘teeth’ and was not made ineffective by the ‘power of veto,’ perhaps hope would rule.
In the meantime, it is a dangerous time for us all.