Friday, March 7, 2014

The Putin Gambit

World chess champion Gary Kasparov recommends the West sacrifice something now, to bring down the King of Russia sooner, rather than later at a higher cost;
Thanks to their unfettered access to Western markets, Mr. Putin and his gang have exploited Western engagement with Russia in a way that the Soviet Union's leaders never dreamed of. But this also means that they are vulnerable in a way the Soviets were not. If the West punishes Russia with sanctions and a trade war, that might be effective eventually, but it would also be cruel to the 140 million Russians who live under Mr. Putin's rule. And it would be unnecessary. Instead, sanction the 140 oligarchs who would dump Mr. Putin in the trash tomorrow if he cannot protect their assets abroad. Target their visas, their mansions and IPOs in London, their yachts and Swiss bank accounts. Use banks, not tanks. Thursday, the U.S. announced such sanctions, but they must be matched by the European Union to be truly effective. Otherwise, Wall Street's loss is London's gain, and Mr. Putin's divide-and-conquer tactics work again.
....For those who ask what the consequences will be of inaction by the free world over Ukraine, I say you are looking at it. This is the price for inaction in Georgia, for inaction in Syria. It means the same thing happening again and again until finally it cannot be ignored. The price of inaction against a dictator's aggression is always having a next time. And in this market, the longer you wait, the higher that price gets.
Of course, if you're Barack Obama, 'the longer you wait', you get closer to someone else having to deal with it.

Also, a good read on Ukraine's history--The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke--might put this current crisis in perspective. We're talking about Wilhelm von Habsburg, who fancied himself destined to lead an independent Ukraine post WWI. Unfortunately he ended up being kidnapped off the streets of Vienna in 1947 by Stalin and died in prison in Kiev in 1948. But this is a lively account of his colorful life and how he touched Ukraine.

1 comment:

  1. Obama's policy seems to be "We will enact our ideology and ignore the rule of law a bit. We will wait for the Republicans to fully implement it, because they are dedicated to the rule of law, thankfully."

    Radical theorist Saul Alinky said, always make the opposition live up to their own rules. Use that against them. As for us, we do what is effective regardless of the rules. Easy for us, because we have no rules.