A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
OK. Let's take a count. The Crimea and now the eastern portion of the Ukraine. (For those of you less comfortable with the classic term for Ukraine and Crimea, which is today adding "the" before the name of each of those countries, feel free to overlook my use of the classic terminology. For me, standard English is NOT a second language and on occasion, classic English is employed by this scribe to embellish a point or even to make a point. I shall continue my usage of "the" before both the Ukraine and the Crimea.)
As I said, Putin's Russia has drawn the Crimea back into the Russian fold and has moved troops up to the borders of the eastern most portion of the Ukraine. Should he decide to invade the Ukraine, no doubt he will be successful and the West -- or as we are referring to the alliance of western states today -- "the Unled," will have lost again.
Pay careful attention -- for this is how you fight a politically correct war. Obama is doing all the politically correct things and he is getting his lunch eaten, having his derriere handed to him, by the very politically incorrect Mr. Putin. (Have you noticed how scribes today tend to place MR. before the name Putin and leave it off when referring to Obama? Ummm. a Freudian slip, perhaps??)
Speaking of having Obama's lunch eaten, the US responded to pleas for arms and ammunition by the Ukraine with (Are you ready for this?) a stack of MRE's! (Meals Ready to Eat. They took the place of the old C-rations and K-rations.) The last I heard those MRE's were still in the warehouse somewhere.
The Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I. In the period between the World Wars, the Baltic states also included Finland. But today we tend to think of the first three, named above, as the current Baltic states. These small countries are located in northern Europe east of the Baltic Sea.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been members of both the EU and NATO since 2004.
Estonia and Latvia border directly to their east with -- Russia.
It is believed that Putin, in his endeavor to recreate the old Soviet Union, will most certainly want to reoccupy all three of the Baltic states.
As we noted above, all three of the states are members of NATO as well as the European Union. An attack upon any NATO member is considered an attack upon all NATO members and that includes the United States.
But the problem is, you see -- Obama!
So far as the Russians are concerned -- they have already seen Obama's proclivity for inaction, demonstrated in Syria and, most recently, in the Crimea and the Ukraine. They do not fear any interference from NATO which is led, for all intents and purposes, by the US, which means -- it is led by Obama.
At the moment the Baltic states are hanging out there as so much red meat for the Russian wolves.
In the coming days and weeks, we may gain more insight into the plans of Putin for the Baltic states by watching closely what he does with the eastern portion of the Ukraine.
Plainly put, the Baltic states are his for the taking and Putin knows it.
Here's the thing, however. The Crimea and the Ukraine are in dire financial straits. While Russia may be awash in petro dollars, she really can't afford to take on more debt. However, by re-taking the Crimea, Putin has just assumed the debt of the Crimea. THAT may be why those thousands of Russian troops have stopped at the border of the Ukraine. The bean counters, back in the Kremlin, may have must run the numbers and slipped them to Czar Putin.
The economy of the Ukraine has been run into the ground -- and then some. Does Putin really want to assume their debt as well? Even a megalomaniac must consider options such as these.
So -- what's Putin going to do? Well, in my estimation it is a bit if a toss-up.
Look. Down on Russia's southern border sits a ancient land called Cathay/China. China worries Russia -- all the time. Russia/Putin understands that China is a threat and a threat Russia cannot handle alone. When that fact is considered, a new light is shed upon the machinations of Mr. Putin in the Ukraine.
Now, everyone knows the US is not going to get into a war with a nuclear armed Russia over the Ukraine or the Baltic states. A clandestine war may be altogether something else, however.
See, that's what the US missile emplacements were all about in eastern Poland and the Czech Republic. You know, the ones Obama canceled when he decided to - uh - "reset" the "relations with Russia" button? Yeah, the very ones! They were intended to discourage Russia from doing exactly what she has just done and continues to do. America's strategic thinkers had that one right. Unfortunately, our limp-wristed, flower child of a President is unable to see beyond his, er, teleprompter. His total lack of understanding of the world we live in now has the eastern half of Europe in the grip of fear and uncertainty while the Russian bear prowls their eastern borders completely at will.
I am convinced that Putin really DOES want to invade the eastern Ukraine. The so called Donbass region which is heavily populated with Russians and Russian speaking Ukrainians. Putin feels he is on a roll and he'd really rather keep rolling. He knows he has noting to fear from the US or NATO. But --and here is where China comes in -- Putin knows he has China watching his every move from his vast southern border, his soft underbelly, if you will.
Putin is smart. Far more cunning than the US president and far more understanding of world politics. He also deals, for the most part, in reality. He is also willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals.
Look. Putin knows he might well find himself in a situation with China in which he will inevitable need assistance from the western countries. So, he can't afford to sever all the cords that bind us, one to the other.
Over its history, Russia has a record of fighting many wars -- and losing many wars. Most of the time, if not all of the time, the losses were due to poor leadership.
Russia is a vast country with multiple cultures composed of many races. Ruling Russia has been, over the centuries, akin to herding cats! From the Czars to the Bolsheviks to, whatever the heck they are now, taking Russians to war is a hit or miss proposition. That's not a "put-down" of the Russian soldier. It is my interpretation of the historical record of Russia's past.
Too, Putin is trying to rebuild Russia's military after Russia's near total collapse in the late eighties and early nineties.
A great deal of Mr. Putin's chest thumping is bluff. (One tends to listen to bluster from a man shaking his fist in your face while his other fist holds nuclear missiles!) He is covering his weakness with bluster. He is encroaching into the western hemisphere, going head to head, with America's Monroe Doctrine, which plainly tells European states to stay the heck out of our backyard. The Russian naval and air bases in Cuba and in Venezuela (and other places in South America) are, for the most part, merely to draw our attention away from his ambitions closer to Mother Russia.
As our intelligence services, our diplomatic services, and the executive branch of our government is in such a state of disarray, much of what the US government says about Putin and Russia these days is pure "guesstimation."
The US is much weaker today than we were on December 7th, 1941.
And we are going to be hit. The continental United States is a target -- and we will be struck, and fairly soon, most likely with a nuclear weapon over Manhattan or Washington, DC.
Shocked? One needn't be. Like Russia we have a soft underbelly, too. The Mexican border and the Gulf coast. That door is wide open. There is nothing to stop our enemies from initiating an attack from that quarter, an attack that would be largely successful.
Look. The US has a troop of amateurs running our government. Heck, they can't even run a website on the Internet -- and we expect them to run a country? What? Are we nuts?
Apparently we are. And we are going to be vulnerable for a very long time into the future.
I would suggest to Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry, that they should just shut up. I mean, stop talking, babbling, threatening. It makes them look like children and stresses their weakness rather than their imagined strength.
Mr. Putin will eventually make his move -- or not. There's not a cussed thing the US can do about it, so why pretend? Obama missed his chance at gaining Mr. Putin's respect when he stopped the missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic. That was indescribably dumb on Obama's part, but is is spilt milk. These are the consequences -- at least part of them.
This is a multi-act play. We have yet to see what comes next. And believe me -- there is more... much more.
J. D. Longstreet
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