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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Aurel Braun: Putin’s dangerous misadventure: A ‘Greater Russia’ or a ‘Great Russia?’

...the 1994 treaty that was signed by Russia, the UK, and the U.S., which bound all to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty places legal obligations on the West, and Ukraine’s government has called on the U.S. to help. U.S. President Barack Obama has characterized Russian actions a “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty” and warned that “there will be costs” and Secretary of State John Kerry has labelled Moscow’s moves as an “incredible act of aggression”.
Perhaps the West will not go beyond rhetoric, but it should be kept in mind that today Russia is but a pale remnant of the Soviet Union with a uni-dimensional economy and a per capita GDP roughly that of Barbados. Its economy is increasingly stagnant and large-scale political dissatisfaction in many parts is smouldering just beneath the surface. Ensnared in his own political fantasy, Mr. Putin has failed to transform Russia into a modern state, has wasted vast resources, missed all historic critical opportunities, and depleted Russian international prestige by trying to save the murderous Syrian government, defend Iran’s genocidal regime, and coddle Belarus’ repugnant dictatorship. Russia is very vulnerable to economic sanctions and international ostracism....

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