by Chris Stevenson
After months of ogling over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s selfies and memes of him hunting, wrestling alligators, driving F1 race cars and flying fighter jets, the American right are now wrestling with the crickets that began drowning them out after news of Putin’s phone call to President Obama late last March. What would make this latent darling of the American right suddenly jump up right before giving some polar bear the 3-count to call our liberal non-military president a buzz on the hot-line? The PoliticsUSA.com site ran some of the readouts to the call:
“President Putin called President Obama today to discuss the US proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crises in Ukraine, which Secretary Kerry had again presented to Foreign Minister Lavrcv at the meeting at the Hague earlier this week, and which we developed following US consultations with our Ukrainian and European partners… President Obama underscored to President Putin that the United States continues to support a diplomatic path in close consultation with the government of the Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people with the aim of de-escalation of the crises. President Obama made clear that this remains possible only if Russia pulls back its troops and does not take any steps to further violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” Mircea Geona, an economist from Romania stated in Bloomberg News “we’re witnessing the start of a new geographical and economic cold war and I think it will take at least 2 or 3 years to establish some sort of equilibrium.” Bloomberg estimates these sanctions could shrink Russia’s economy by 2 quarters.
You know what this means don’t you? That’s right the cold war never ended. The cold war between the American right and the left still continues even in the midst of the Russian incursion of the Ukraine. Yes people are up in arms over it, few people know that post-Soviet Russia has been playing themselves and testing their parameters for years now. At times they been right under our nose. The main reason for this is their new military hardware, chief among them is a new fleet of very powerful and dangerous submarines known as Borei Class. They been building these since the mid-’90’s while phasing out their Typhoon, Delta 3 and Delta 4 subs. The Boreis are smaller than the Typhoons but carry more armaments. Russia doesn’t care about you knowing about their Boreis, in fact they insist on it. That’s how cocky they are and really have always been. This information shouldn’t come as a shock once you know Putin’s father served in the Soviet submarine fleet during the early ‘30’s.
The BBC said according to a meeting of NATO’s defense ministers in Brussels, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated “Russia had increased its military spending by 50% in the last five years, while NATO cut funding by 20% over the same period. The decrease hasn’t stopped Rasmussen from accepting Obama’s plan to raise $1 billion to increase US military presence in Europe. The thing to remember here is, American government generally have had a problem with world nations that benefit their own citizens economically. During the time Putin has been either president or premier unemployment was cut in half, real income has increased and “real wages more than tripled.” Perhaps pressure is being put on Obama to make Putin the new Qaddafi by using the Russian incursion into the Ukraine and subsequent annexation of Crimea as an excuse.
Back on May 7 Putin announced he was pulling his troops out from the border of Ukraine. Yet on another occasion he was considered to blink, once again due to sanctions against Russia and it’s economy. But some perceive him to be feigning. According to a May 8 Chicago Tribune story: “One reason to suspect a Putin feint is that Russia’s major trading partners in Europe-the ones who could do serious damage to Russia’s economy and Putin’s oligarch buddies-have resisted broader sanctions. Save Ukraine? Not if it means disrupting business in Russia. So Putin may be calculating that a brief tactical retreat will slow what little momentum there is on sanctions.” On the other hand Thomas Friedman’s column in the May 27 New York Times makes the daring but inevitable comparison to who else but Nikita Khrushchev and the old Soviet Union back in ‘62. Even going so far as to use the quote of then-US Secretary of State Dean Rusk who compared it to a street face-off, “we were eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked” wrote Friedman comparing the last minute turn-back of Russian warships just miles away from Cuba and the American naval forces, to Putin’s pulling back his troops from Ukraine’s border, thereby letting their presidential election proceed.
Make no mistake about it, Putin did “blink,” but it’s akin to a snake blinking. While he did allow for the Ukraine to hold their election, he refuses to acknowledge Petro Poroshenko as president or president-elect. Before Putin’s March 28th phone call to Obama he didn’t want to recognize him as US President. The ex-KGB officer promised on several occasions to withdraw troops from the border. The latest being on May 19. According to NATO (5/28) while thousands did withdraw many Russian soldiers still remain. While his moves seem dictated through what he gauges through his political periscope, Putin knows the world is watching him with a side-eye glance.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog www.thebuffalobullet.com, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the link below.