Will Putin OutSmart The U.S. And Its Allies?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is no sloth when it comes to international relations and strategic moves in international affairs.

The former KGB’s sleuth is canny and savvy in calling the right shots and toying with the West for the most part since he assumed the helm of Russia’s leadership.

Mr. Putin’s latest move to bring Ukraine into his fold has had the U.S. and its allies on edge.

The U.S. threats of economic sanctions mean little or nothing to Putin as he knows it doesn’t work.

It hasn’t worked, for example, against Cuba and Iran in terms of bringing those regimes down, let alone Russia’s strong man Putin.

Moreover, he knows that some NATO allies will not buy into the U.S. narrative as their economy is integrally tied to Russia’s.

Now, over the past few weeks, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been traveling to and fro to negotiate de-escalation on any attempt by Russia to invade Ukraine or to avert a crisis.

Blinken said the U.S. has been building up defense and deterrence in anticipation of Putin taking military action.

Pressed by CBS’ Face the Nation presenter Margaret Brennan on the pursuit of negotiation instead of taking action, Blinken said, “We have rallied allies and partners across Europe in a very intense way over the last weeks to make very clear that there would be massive consequences for renewed Russian aggression. We provided more military assistance to Ukraine last year than in any previous year. We’ve been going after agents of Russia in Ukraine seeking to destabilize the government.”

“I just approved the transfer of U.S.-origin military technology in other countries to Ukraine. So, we are proceeding on both paths at the same time, we’ll be ready either way. The choice is Vladimir Putin’s,” he added.

However, many political pundits have described the U.S. efforts as futile since Putin will do what he sees as within the best interest of Russia — a greater Russia.

So, although it continues its strong military buildup along the Ukrainian border, it defends its position on the basis of military exercise and denies the notion of an invasion.

The fact is President Biden thinks Putin will follow through on his quest. He told reporters recently that his “guess” is that Russia will “move in.”

And his recent gaffe of a “minor incursion” and reciprocity shook up Kyiv’s top officials.

“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones,” tweeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in response to Biden’s blip.

The fact of the matter is that messaging plays a significant role in world affairs, and any show of weakness is bad at best, particularly coming from the U.S. and when considered within the context of what obtained in their recent pull out of Afghanistan.

“So, what we’re doing is putting together a whole series of actions that would figure into President Putin’s calculus,” said the U.S. Secretary of State.

How effective the figuring out of Putin Calculus by the U.S. will be only time will tell.

However, the U.S. does not have a strong track record of figuring out foreign powers recently, and I would not hold my breath now.

That said, I would hope that they don’t “draw bad card!”

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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