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The Children's Crusade - Obama and Merkel Go After Russia

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(Article changed on March 21, 2014 at 00:03)

(Article changed on March 20, 2014 at 03:57)

Putin plays chess while Obama and Merkel struggle with checkers
(image by Adrian Askew)

Much like a team of annoying, spoiled children, President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel are having a tantrum as Crimea joins the Russian Federation.  Obama and Merkel seem more intent on provoking and humiliating Russia and President Putin than reversing the new realities in Crimea.   Image: Adrian Askew 

Regrettably, they hold on to their dangerous plan to weaken and isolate Russia, as though they believe that the Communists are still in charge and seeking world domination.

The Obama - Merkel response includes:

  • Sanctions so tepid that the stock market went up in celebration of business as usual with Russia;
  • Claims by Secretary of State Kerry that Russia is violating international law; and,
  • Personal attacks by Merkel and German media figures claiming that Putin is "out of touch with reality."

These actions would be laughable were there not a more sinister history leading up to the current crisis.

Prior to the fall of the Ukraine's government, the European Union (EU) and Obama administration provoked Russia in a serious way by offering a EU alliance to the Ukraine, fomenting revolution through funding for protesters, and selecting a replacement of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

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To Russia, a Ukraine-EU alliance is the first step toward EU and NATO membership, an outcome that any Russian leader would find anathema.   A hostile Ukraine, living off of the Crimea and the generally pro Russia industrialized southeastern regions represented the cruelest of ironies.

Who Prevails?

The Western leaders lack the support of their people while the Russian people support their leader, President Vladimir Putin.  Only 36% of Germans polled in early March support economic sanctions against Russia.   In the United States, 56% prefer that the country "not get too involved."  Only 48% of those polled approve of the president's actions while 56% approve of economic sanctions.   On economic sanctions, the poll failed to ask if sanctions hurt the U.S. economy, do you approve.  The Russian government has the support of 90% of the population according to a recent poll.

The Russians prevail in terms of national unity.  Putin benefits from that.  Far from weakening Putin, the entire effort to capture the Ukraine has increased his popularity.

A recurrent theme from the West is that Putin is "out of touch with reality."  Angela Merkel supposedly said this after talking to Putin on the phone for an hour last week.  Reporting on Putin's speech to the Russian Federation Council has this theme embedded - he's simply not dealing with the real world.

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What the Western press forgets to mention is that chess is one of the most popular preferred activities in Russia.  Fifty million Russians play chess on a regular basis.

Putin is playing chess while Obama and Merkel are, at best, playing a weak game of checkers.

Two of Putin's key goals are a buffer state between Russia and the eastern branch of NATO and port facilities for the Russian Navy in the Black Sea.  Prior to recent events in the Ukraine, Russia had to worry about each successive Ukrainian government and watch the calendar as the years ticked off until its lease of naval facilities in the Crimea expired in 2042.

What have Putin's latest moves accomplished?

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"In this scenario, Russia has put NATO's king in ... by BFalcon on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 8:25:35 AM
Come on, it's a metaphor, let it stand. ... by Jim Miles on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:46:43 PM
Yes and no. My "beef" with Michael is that he do... by BFalcon on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 5:54:28 PM
You live in a fantasy land of your own imagination... by Michael Collins on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:23:53 AM
True, this is your last sentence and I read it. ... by BFalcon on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 9:07:41 AM
And this I should have added: " A hostile Ukrain... by BFalcon on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 5:55:59 PM
Jim, I think a lot of what goes on with foreign po... by Michael Collins on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 7:22:35 PM
Agreed, very much so. This is why I said that yo... by BFalcon on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 9:20:14 AM
I'm using what's called a metaphor.  ... by Michael Collins on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 6:10:31 PM
Looks like his shift ended at 6pm ... by Samson on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 7:39:03 AM
 Sir, A girl (born in West Germany !?),... by Ad Du on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 8:43:41 AM
Why speak so obliquely? What rubbed off on AM was... by Jim Miles on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:52:37 PM
Germany is not occupied. And if you believe that ... by BFalcon on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 9:16:31 AM
I wonder if Obama told Merkel that he considers G... by Alan MacDonald on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 8:47:00 AM
All the countries of Europe will remain client sta... by Anton Grambihler on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:39:41 PM
Agreed.  Thanks for the tip on the TV journal... by Michael Collins on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:28:07 AM
EU countries have indeed become client states of ... by K V Ramani on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 8:13:22 AM doubt about it! Putin made a ... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 11:44:15 AM
Yep, either our rulers are comically stupid or th... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:32:40 PM
They're afraid that we know what they're up to and... by Michael Collins on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:31:51 AM
Yeah, Mark, I don't think it has to be either/or. ... by Jim Arnold on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:44:08 AM
I am very  much suprised to see that in all c... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:33:08 PM
You're right.  I'm not done on this topic and... by Michael Collins on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 6:12:54 PM
President Kennedy failed to support the CIA Bay o... by kevin walsh on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 8:43:53 PM