The President of the United States, Barack Obama, says that Putin must comply with international law or face further sanctions. He said that Russia acted in Crimea “not out of strength, but out of weakness”. This story has been picked up by the Washington Post and by the BBC, but not by RT, Ria Novosti, ITAR-TASS, Pravda, Moscow Times, Voice of Russia, Interfax or any other Russian news sources. Gee, I wonder why? I can hear it now: “Uh, President Putin? President Obama just called you weak”.
The President then again kicked Russia in the teeth by calling Russia a “regional” power, source VOA.
The G8 just kicked out Russia, it has already been renamed the G7.
Now, according to the BBC in Moscow, Russia is bleeding money:
According to the country’s deputy economy minister (that’s the Russian dep economy minister), capital flight this year is expected to reach $70bn (£43bn) by the end of March, meaning more money has left Russia in the last three months than in the whole of 2013, our correspondent reports.
Russia, however, is telegraphing perhaps its next move, on Transdniestria, a breakaway district in Moldova, by conducting a joint exercise there.
To Russian actions in both Crimea and Transdniestria, President Obama responded with “”We [the U.S.] have considerable influence on our neighbors,” he said. “We generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them.”
The information war between Russia and the US is beginning to flare up, now it’s involving many more tools of national power. How do you kick a Russian bear?
Bottom line, President Obama just kicked President Putin in the teeth, figuratively. He’s just been called out and challenged to a street fight. I’m sure Putin knows this but he has never historically responded emotionally to actions by any country. The US and Russia just launched a joint Soyuz space flight, source, so relations between the US and Russia can’t be all that bad. Watch the news in the next few days. If Putin reacts emotionally, the US will know it hit a raw nerve, however.
I’d say this is a fairly measured action. Quite honestly I’d stop allowing flights from Moscow…
Downplaying Russian power is one thing. Calling them weak and accusing them of acting as a result of that weakness is yet another. Getting them kicked out of the G8 is yet another. Freezing up Bank Rossiya is yet another.
If Putin reacts emotionally, let’s hope he throws around some dinner plates and yells at some people. If he launches troops into Ukraine, that would be a bad thing. A bad thing, indeed. Is this Russian roulette with tanks?