Russia on the march: 10 reasons Putin is likely to invade eastern Ukraine

Posted by: Phineas on March 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"I won"

“Can’t touch this.”

There’s a good article by Michael Weiss giving a list of reasons why Russia’s Vladimir Putin is probably going to make a move soon to take over Ukraine’s largely ethnic-Russian eastern regions. It’s well-worth reading; Weiss covers the realities of power, political considerations, and Russian military movements (1). He also brings up a motive that’s psychological, but I think it fits. Let’s see what you think:

2. Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States, and especially its current commander-in-chief.

On Feb. 28, Obama warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” — before high-tailing it to a Democratic National Committee cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. The next day, the world awoke to a Russian invasion of Crimea. “Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly — and comprehensively — as Obama’s warning on Friday night,” the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported. And let’s look at the laundry list of American desires and warnings the Kremlin has brushed aside: Russia has dramatically increased its arms transfers to Syria since the chemical disarmament deal was struck last fall. It continues to host fugitive NSA spy Edward Snowden. And during the midst of the Maidan protests, Russia’s own spies intercepted a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, then leaked the contents of it to Kremlin-controlled media. Moreover, neither Putin nor his inner circle seem terribly aggravated by the current suite of U.S. or EU sanctions or the blockbuster admission by the Treasury Department that Putin — now a staunch patriotic proponent of the “de-offshoreization” of the Russian economy — personally controls assets in Swiss oil commodities giant Gunvor.

While I would never argue that psychological motives are paramount –Putin’s too much of a power realist to fool himself with petty self-gratifications– I’m sure they’re there. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB officer, trained to be brutal when necessary. His goals are those of every Russian ruler since the Mongols were driven out: seeking the security of Russia by dominating the states around her and keeping powerful foes at a distance. In America, he sees a nation in short-term decline, creating an opportunity for him to advance those goals. In Obama, he sees a weak, out of his depth, would-be academic beta-male whom he, Vladimir Putin, almost a caricature of the alpha-male, can intimidate to seize that opportunity.

In short, Putin sees Obama as his [you fill in the word] and loves showing that to the world.

You can bet he plans to enjoy that feeling again, soon.

(1) They’re deploying field hospitals. That’s a significant sign it itself.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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7 Responses to “Russia on the march: 10 reasons Putin is likely to invade eastern Ukraine”


  1. Drew the Infidel says:

    There is a wealth of history behind all this. Obhammud is trying to breathe new life into the failed “peace through disarmament” policy of Wilson and FDR. The General Disarmament Conference of 1932 showed the futility of this paper castle mentality.

    Every successful invasion of Russia from Europe has come from the west as when Hitler invaded by going across the plains through Poland and Belarus to stage the battle of Stalingrad. Putin wants to return to the days of Bolshevism and have Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. as “buffer states” to forestall a repeat. Now, as then, a thug like Hitler, Tojo, and Putin does what he can get by with. To that ilk, patience and cooperation with the international community are unknown attributes.

    It is the ultimate in pusillanimity for Obhammud to scold Putin for his czarist actions as though he had picked up the wrong fork at a Georgetown dinner party.

  2. Tango says:

    I agree with Drew. Little to no chance that Vlad the Putin stops now. Except mebbe to reload.

  3. Neo says:

    I want to draw my line in the sand now.

    I predict that after Putin gets Obama into diplomatic discussions on the future of the Ukraine, that the Russian military will invade Eastern Ukraine.

    The whole point … to show the world one more time that Obama is less than a “Paper Tiger.” Putting him somewhere between “poodle” and complete imbecile.

  4. bill glass says:

    C’mon…seriously? Putin wouldn’t do any ’19th century’ thing like invade a neighbor.

  5. Tuerqas says:

    I also agree with Drew’s general point except…successful invasion of Russia? I can only think of 2 and neither came from the west.

  6. Neo says:

    (CNN) — Potentially easing a diplomatic standoff with the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that he’d ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from his country’s border area with Ukraine, Merkel’s office said.

    Putin made the comment to Merkel in a phone call about Ukraine, her office said. The Kremlin made no mention of a withdrawal in its description of the call but said the two leaders discussed Ukraine, including “possibilities for international assistance to restore stability.”

    Probably withdrew the tank carrier trucks.

  7. Drew the Infidel says:

    There is little chance Russia will be attacked from the east. The only country there is their ally China who would have to cross a portion of Siberia. Russia owns everything else that direction all the way to the Bering Sea.

    An amphibious assault from the south is next to impossible through the Black Sea since, if not for the Straits of Bosphorus, is landlocked. The area around Ukraine and Rumania is rough and mountainous, making invasion there much more difficult.

    “Successful” in this context means an actual border breach. Russia’s western border is like the US southern border, all flank and no front.