January 25, 2015 by AK
How, then, to square my claim that the sanctions against Russia are working well with the renewed Russian-backed assault on Mariupol and across the board in Donbass? First, the economic disaster, although inexorable, has yet to hit with full force. Second, economic basket cases are capable of waging disastrous wars. They can even win battles and campaigns and wreak considerable damage on their neighbors. One thing they cannot do is restore themselves to prosperity and global power status. Russia may wreck Ukraine but it will become and remain a struggling pariah state until its leadership changes.
That could be avoided in a theoretical scenario where Russia’s one, five, or ten top figures vanish into thin air and a new team is parachuted to replace them. There would be no need to worry about Putin’s 85% approval ratings as they are phony in more ways than one. A change in the state TV line, with Putin’s team exposed as the thugs they are, would fix those ratings in weeks, perhaps days. Crowds turn on their idols just like that when the time is ripe.
Unlike John Schindler, I don’t take Putin’s support levels seriously and don’t see a metaphysical opposition to the West as the Putin clique’s motivation for the war. In fact, I have yet to meet a Russian who believes in holy wars although I mostly talk to rational, educated Russians. To me (sometimes), the whole 2014 war is about an aging dictator who still cannot overcome his adolescent trauma.
One also wonders if the timing of the pro-Russian and Russia-backed offensive in Donbass has anything to do with the Litvinenko inquest scheduled for next week, particularly these two new bits of evidence?