He’s weak but he can smell weakness

John Walcott explains in Time:

Why U.S. And EU Officials Are Worried Putin Might Make Another Move in Ukraine

It’s good to know that someone is paying attention. I wrote about it earlier this week: Putin’s comments are fake history projected into the future. A warning of his intentions. A threat, possibly a credible one:

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments about the legitimacy of Russia’s borders in a documentary broadcast on Russian television have rattled some U.S. allies, fearful that he might be laying the groundwork for a further military incursion into Ukraine.

In the documentary “Russia. Kremlin. Putin.”, which aired on June 21, the Russian president alleged that some former Soviet republics “took” some of “Russia’s traditionally historic territories” when the USSR collapsed in 1991, some of them with unspecified “gifts” from Moscow.

According to Walcott, the immediate cause for concern Ukraine, where another Russian-backed offensive might begin any time. A well-justified concern but my gut feeling tells me the Kremlin is about to gamble big time. The game could get upgraded to… let’s say the Russian Nuclear Roulette.

“Putin can smell weakness,” said one of the officials… “The Atlantic alliance is fraying, President Trump is pulling American troops out of Germany because he says the Germans aren’t meeting their defense spending commitments, and Putin has troubles at home. That could add up to trouble.”

If NATO is “fraying” – or worse – the temptation to test its integrity, its resolve, its readiness to react and preparedness for action may soon become irresistible. The Baltic states can never feel safe if there’s a shadow of doubt that NATO would be able to defend them. Which still does not rule out Kazakhstan as a potential target.

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