Monday, March 03, 2014
One can accomplish a lot when he doesn't care what others think. Like take over part of a country. The world is condemning Vladimir Putin but he isn't worried. There is little chance anyone will force him out of Crimea. He will find his dealings with other leaders to be more difficult as a result of his adventurism, but he doesn't seem worried about that either. And the people of Ukraine? Who cares what they think? Putin has set Russia on a course of dictatorship and returned the country to a status near that of the Cold War era. The invasion might make for good publicity within Russia but nowhere else. Europe must again be concerned about its Eastern neighbor and cannot rest on the expectation that Russia will continue to ship its gas if it doesn't get its way. Relations have returned to caution and watchfulness, and any semblance of harmony has been lost.
While Russia's move into the Ukraine is good PR for Russian nationals, I think it damages for Russia's reputation among the rest of the world is suffering more than is fair for an equal trade off. I wonder if Putin will start being concerned once Russian ex-pats are vilified to the same level as those of Arabic decent in the post-9/11 world. It's likely however, as you said, Putin doesn't care - outside of his own borders of course.