Great Britain and Germany both refuse to isolate Russia or to boycott her exports: Germany needs her gas and oil, and German companies have invested 22 billion in Russia; and England wants her cash for its financial markets. Putin sees this economic opening and, utilizing it, is now pushing for a referendum in Crimea in 10 days’ time with which to cement his grip on power there and, with Russian troops still in Crimea, to continue pressuring the Ukrainians to abandon their drive for closer ties with the EU and US. Despite Kerry’s refusal to believe it, this is indeed a zero-sum game.
Interestingly, perhaps now the NSA’s interception of the German Chancellor’s phone calls, and the monitoring of Russia’s, wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Certainly Snowden’s aiding Russia by disclosing the reach of the NSA has made the world, as we have seen in the Crimea, a much less safer place now than before. And Snowden’s new friends (Russia and China) have revealed themselves to be far less concerned about human rights than the country which he forsook, indeed, to be eminently authoritarian and militaristic, with no respect for human rights. (China seized Tibet and committed, and still commits, grave human rights violations there; and both China and Russia freely commit abuses daily against ethnic minorities and political opponents.) The only country able to stand up to them, the US, Snowden has irrevocably weakened, making the world after his disclosures a much more dangerous place indeed. Edward’s vainglory and hubris blinded him as to who the real enemies are. Does he really believe that the US is a greater threat to world peace than either China or Russia? Edward forgot something very elementary about life: without prudence, one finds “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Again we see in world history how economics trumps politics: what ought to be done by the EU isn’t being done; and as a result Putin knows there is a breach in the wall of diplomatic sanctions for him to escape through. What might have forced him to withdraw due to the unyielding unanimity of the EU, he can now more safely afford to ignore given the disunity within EU’s ranks, and hence the lower level of sanctions threatened. The West has lost this crucial battle with a dictator who is no respecter of nations or of laws; and that will only embolden him further, and give sustenance to China’s hegemonic desires as well.
The world thinks in enlightenment terms; that is, that man’s sinfulness is an outmoded concept, a leftover of a bygone theological era; that one need only tie countries closer together economically, and eternal peace and prosperity must and will be the inevitable result. No: a leopard can wear a Brooks Brothers suit, but underneath, like it or not, it remains a leopard still. Russia has (and has always had) an authoritarian leader. To appease such usually ushers in greater trouble later. Putin wants the power of the former Soviet Union redivivus. Great Britain and Germany have unwittingly aided him in his power quest, and in the process sacrificed the territorial integrity of The Ukraine—and shown Putin all too clearly that, so far at least, he has nothing to fear from the EU, which up till now has shown itself to be a weak and vacillatory body with no stomach for confrontation when and where it counts.
Len Sive Jr.