February 17, 2016 by AK
Talking about WWIII in Munich last week, Medvedev channeled Putin: “Drop the sanctions and take us back into the family, or else we’ll start another war.” Someone has suggested that pitting Taliban against ISIS will be the Kremlin’s next foreign policy innovation. Moscow is resolved to play the international spoiler now, until the West forgives it for the mess it made in Ukraine and elsewhere and welcomes it back to G8 or whatever the name of the club.
Future Realpolitikers might eventually judge Putin’s seizure of Crimea a smart, bold move, but Russia’s military meddling in Donbass has little chance of ever being seen as anything but a huge mistake. It was probably triggered by false expectations of popular support throughout the Russian-speaking South and East of Ukraine, in cities like Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kharkov. Instead, Dnepropetrovsk became a recruitment hub for Ukrainian volunteers (thanks largely to the then governor of the region, the oligarch Igor Kolomoysky). After that, attacking the Baltics under the pretext of protecting Russophones only seems possible as a last resort when everything else has been tried and has failed. There are safer ways of undermining Europe.