As the rest of the world decides on Putin

This is a tough situation in Ukraine. You have a large part of the country who wants to be part of Europe and dictate their own course and you have another part which is pro-Russia, yet I am not quite certain they know that the Russia in Putin’s mind is a dressed up version of the Soviet Union. You also have a country in need. I am glad we are talking with our allies, as some definitive action will be needed and needed very quickly.

This part is for certain. Vladimir Putin is a hood. For those who don’t know the vernacular, he is a crime boss. HIs country is known for corruption and bribery and doing business in Russia is an exercise in mistrust. There was a “60 Minutes” piece a few weeks back with a businessman who knows Russia well and he calls it a criminal environment. The owner of the New England Patriots football team has even accused Putin of stealing his Super Bowl ring after asking to hold it. Putin is also a narcissist and fancies himself with a much greater image than people in the know do. He also squelches disagreement and adversaries.

This will be a hard thing for me to say, but he is the kind of individual that will only react to power. It is good we are discussing sanctions and boycotts and we should. We should also send bailout money with troops support to Ukraine. Putin is seizing the whole country if you have not figured it out, and I have not put it past him, to seed the violence with people who are pretending to be Ukrainian like Hitler did with Poland. We are in this predicament as he bribed Viktor Yanukovych with money to stay aligned with Russia back when an agreement was on the table to be part of Europe. Putin could not stand for that, so he will take matters into his own hands.

I am peaceful person, but sometimes you have to be direct with people like Putin. You cannot threaten to tell mom. I recognize fully the risks that this takes, but the west is being invited in to help the temporary Ukrainian government. So, the west better not wait as it will be too late. By the way, George W. Bush thought he had a kindred spirit in Putin. He was wrong. Putin played him like a fiddle. Obama needs to change instruments and get a larger band, but act with more force on this. Please remember this thought, Putin does not care about sanctions. He can tell whatever story he wants to his fellow Russians. He is also a hood. He is backing that murderer in Syria, so that tells you all you need to know.

24 thoughts on “As the rest of the world decides on Putin

  1. We were having this exact conversation over coffee this morning. Only I referred to Mr Putin as a thug. I am horrified at the prospect of our troops intervening in the Ukraine. Dreadful thought. So, I am sending him something, too, but it’s not a box of Girl Scout cookies. Working it into next blog post…

    • This is a difficult one, but we definitely need to know what we are dealing with and how he will react. He is very good at playing with our weakness, which is a divided government. This makes him even more scary.

    • No, everyone is not a bad guy. Yet, this one scares me given his ability to play off others weakness and exploit them. I hope and pray the international community can pressure him to back off and let the Ukraine people decide. I think it has been decided for the Crimeans, yet it would be nice to see it as a formal vote. The former Ukrainian leader who fled the country should have no say in this given his actions of late and his living high on the hog at the expense of the Ukraine people. Thanks for commenting. I would love to hear more of your thoughts as this is tough. BTG

  2. Your analysis of Putin I believe is right on, he is a thug, con man and murderer, at best.

    However, we can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. We can’t continue to send our troops to every hot spot in the world, just because someone does something we don’t like or approve of. We’ve provided defense to europe for 60+ years, if they believe the Ukraine situation is serious, then spend some money and send in their own troops. How many fronts can we fight on? Syria? N. Korea? Ukraine? Iraq? Afghanistan? Iran? Where does it end? These are all spots we’ve been in, or threatened to be in just in this Administration. A little Wilson doctrine right now would be a good thing.

    We’re not taking care of our own, either in food, shelter, education, freedom, or medical care. Now we should spread our military out, at untold expense, because we don’t like Putin?

    Remember why Rome ultimately fell. It spread its thin military out across the known world, and ultimately such efforts broke and destroyed Rome. How are we even remotely any different?

    Yes, I don’t like Putin, either, and agree with your description of him. But I do not support our immediately climbing on our high horse and sending in the cavalry.

    But thats just me…

    • Barney, all good points. This is why it is a dilemma. My first hope is the western world and perhaps our Asian partners present a united front on sanctions, boycotts, etc. One of the reasons Russia is interested in Ukraine is they are shaky economically. Corruption hinders free trade and growth. If we do decide anything more, it has to also be united without us being alone. Yet, with that said, all of your points are valid and must be factored in. Thanks, BTG

      • I agree with Barney, but as you replied, I think a coalition of nations putting pressure on him is the best way. Not sure if that would help, though.

      • Amaya, thanks for your comments. It is hard to say what will cause him to stop in a full takeover. I listened with amazement to a Russian speaker this morning who said the blame lies on the EU. He noted if sanctions come that will give license for Putin to assume more control of the country. So, Putin will use whatever means necessary to justify his cause to the rest of the world. Now, mind you back in November, he gave the loan to the Ukraine for $15 billion and said publicly it matters not what the Ukraine decides. That was when the now exiled President decided to forego joining the EU. Putin is also not considering that Ukrainians took to the street and died for this cause. I hope if the world joins together and sanctions and decides to boycott these talks and have less to do with the country, it will have an impact. The question is will it stop him from taking over the Ukraine. Thanks again for your comments. BTG

      • Take a look at the attached article. Instead of being cared for, our injured veterans are being pushed out of the system, a process started by Cheney/Rumsfeld so that the numbers would look better for their chicken-hawk war.

        We’re not caring for our veterans today (See the Repubs recent filibuster against better care for vets) so adding to the rolls of injured soldiers in another war is stupid. Are these young women and men to become merely throw-away youths, pawns in the hands of politicians who have no skin in the game?

  3. BTG, from all vantages…a repeat of historical events. The most horrendous “event” would be Hitler’s campaign to rule…everything…simply said. I agree with Mr. B. that we can not police the planet, but to sit, watch and do nothing is as criminal as watching the decimation of [yet] another peoples’ wish for a better existence which would capture forms of freedom.
    This should not be a dilemma…

    • Raye, it is a repeat. Please refer to my note to Amaya. Russia needs the Ukraine to make them more vibrant, so he will stop at nothing, unless we make it less worth his while. He is old school Soviet Union, but is a very skilled politician, which makes him worse. Critics of him in Russia are dealt with. The absolute key is we have to make invading beyond Crimea worse for him, otherwise he will do it. Very clearly, the world is seeing to not to trust this thug. Yet, it still won’t stop him from this mission. What are your thoughts on actions? Thanks, BTG

      • Have read Amaya and your response several times. There is definitely a disconnect between [even] bordering EU countries and in my opinion just about any other “union” “organization” “committee” and/or “coalition” formed to promote peace and advance human rights and civil liberties. It is as if the bully is on the playground and no one, not one organization is going to take a firm stance. Look at Syria. Look at Venezuela. Actions? I do believe sanctions would be a good place to start. Sanction everything…especially anything that has a dollar sign attached to it.

      • Bully is an apt word. The unified condemnation is a good start as the Russian markets fell 13%. Sanctions would be harmful long term. Even his actions are harmful long term. He may still press forward, but the economic cost can be high. The key is a unified front of saying this is wrong.

      • Article in NYT front page. Did you see it? Lots of ideas, and not good ones from some of our own…let us not go there…however…my point is we, collectively as a world of nations, cannot hide our eyes…or our souls and continue to let this happen. Having travelled all over Europe, Middle East, Asia UK…I know this to be true: we as people are more alike than we are different. We all want the basic things in life and we all want our children to grow up knowing peace. Mr. B. and I share a soap box now and again…I’ll step down now. Best to you BTG. R.

  4. Barney, thanks for sharing. I agree with you that we don’t care much for our pawns in the fighting and especially when they return home. As you recall we sent them to Iraq and Afghanistan ill-equipped with little armor for roadside bombs and very few people who understood the language, culture and history. Plus, we treat the poorly when they get home. That is why I don’t disagree with your concerns above. Thank bro, BTG

  5. Update from the news. Angela Merkel is quoted as saying “Putin is in another world” after her conversation with him. Merkel has probably the best relationship with him and Russia needs a productive relationship with Germany, so for her to say that is telling.

  6. I am grateful to hear you fostering a discussion of this sad situation. I lived in Ukraine for a year recently, 10 months in a city along the Dneiper River just north of Crimea. The entire situation is difficult for Americans to understand. Ukraine’s culture is entwined with Russia’s. Many loyal Ukrainians speak primarily Russian, and it is perfectly acceptable to do so. They do not consider themselves less Ukrainian for their Russian language. But their relationship with the Russian culture does not mean they like Putin. He is meddling in their affairs, and not for the benefit of the Ukrainian people. Even so, I do not believe the United States should intervene in any way. The EU should be bartering this situation. Any posturing by the US would be one-upped by Putin, and the losers in that kind of situation would be the Ukrainians themselves. One other thought: Yanukovych was a fairly elected president. If we are to be truly impartial, we would have to define what the people’s revolution did was overtake a sitting president. Isn’t that a ‘coup’, just as Putin says? I am not endorsing Yanukovych at all – I was there when he was elected, and it surprised me then, but people voted their will. Tough situation – thank you very much for caring enough to learn about it and express your opinion.
    (ps – I used to be Marsha when I was writing about the Bungalow!)

    • Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate your perspective and I hope others see your comments, as well. I can empathize with wanting a relationship with Russia as it is both historical, cultural and economic. I can also understand the disdain (or at least liking less) Mr. Putin, as he is taking Russia into a different direction and his regime is known for corruption and squelching dissent. With that said, I agree totally that Ukrainians should decide their own fate. Ironically, Yanukovych could have avoided all of this by continuing down a path he had started last fall with the EU. Putin, at least publicly said, the $15 Billion loan was not hinged on him declining to be part of the EU. My thinking it was hinged on that, but the Ukraine needs to work with both the EU and Russia to be a flourishing economy. Yanukovych has turned out to be more corrupt than even Ukrainians thought. Yet, firing on his own citizens was inexcusable, in my mind and that was the final act that led to the coup. Please feel free to offer your thoughts, as you have a better perspective than me and others.

      • Thank you for your kind words, but my perspective is less factual that practical. I probably know less than people, like yourself, who know their history well. But, having lived in that culture as a foreigner, I am happy to offer a view into a world Americans have a hard time imagining. You bring up the killing of the protesters. Obviously, Yanukovych must take responsibility for what people under his command did. But there is a deeper issue for Ukrainians here. In every moderate-sized town and certainly in the cities, you see wonderfully ornate towers atop buildings. Americans might think ‘I’d love to get up there for the view.’ Ukrainians would think ‘stay away from the towers, because you are being watched.’ Of course, in Soviet days the towers were more ominously for armed soldiers. The threat was always there. So, the shooting that occurred on the Maidan was more than just a shooting, it was a historical carrying out of a threat that can be seen every day in Ukraine. Thanks, again for your delving intelligently into Ukraine’s situation. (also – to say ‘the Ukraine’ is accepting that it is still a part of the USSR – similar to ‘the midwest’ – so simply, ‘Ukraine’ is best – small things, but important)

      • Thanks for your follow-up note and the reference to “Ukraine.” I debated over what to use, but had no idea of the connotation of adding “the” in front of it. You are right, seemingly small things do matter. I would add you are giving me more historical knowledge than deserved. I am fascinated by the “why’s” so to me when NPR said it was not uncommon for former Russians and Ukrainians to be married, I found that newsworthy to me and important. Thanks again. BTG

  7. Pingback: We are so similar and need each other | musingsofanoldfart

  8. Note to readers: I see that Japan has joined the ranks of the West to condemn the Russian occupation of Crimea. I find it interesting that Putin denies there are Russian troops in Crimea when they are driving Russian vehicles. It reminds me of his ally Bashar al Assad in Syria who said we don’t have tanks in Homs while the reporter was showing footage of Syrian tanks in Homs. I guess my questions on the election to join Russia to be held in Crimea include: 1) why isn’t Crimea becoming Independent an option? 2) why have you not tolerated special observers into Crimea to observe the dangers the ghost Russian troops are protecting Crimeans from? and 3) how can this election be deemed accurate if you know the outcome already? I am sure the dissenters are staying indoors, as people who disagree are getting the crap kicked out of them.

    I heard on NPR that in 1991, Ukraine and Poland were about equal, with Ukraine having a slight nod on more resources. Now, Poland is 3 x the GDP of Ukraine. Why? The corruption in its leadership. They take this cue the last several years from Mr. Corruption, Vladimir Putin.

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