Monday, March 3, 2014

(OT) Anatole Kaletsky: "Realpolitik in Ukraine"

A post at Zero Hedge has made most sense to me so far regarding the turmoil in Ukraine after the West has successfully incited the opposition to President Yanukovich and after Russia has entered Crimea.

Putin’s decision to back himself into this corner has been derided by the Western media as a strategic blunder but it is actually a textbook example of realpolitik. Putin has created a situation where the West’s only alternative to acquiescing in the Russian takeover of Crimea is all-out war.

Accept Putin's terms, or an all-out war.

In another word, checkmate for the West?

From Zero Hedge (3/3/2014; emphasis is mine):

Realpolitik In Ukraine

Submitted by Anatole Kaletsky via Evergreen-Gavekal

Oscar Wilde described marriage as the triumph of imagination over intelligence and second marriage as the triumph of hope over experience. In finance and geopolitics, by contrast, experience must always prevail over hope and realism over wishful thinking. A grim case in point is the Russian incursion into Ukraine. What makes this confrontation so dangerous is that US and EU policy seems to be motivated entirely by hope and wishful thinking. Hope that Vladimir Putin will “see sense,” or at least be deterred by the threat of US and EU sanctions to Russia’s economic interests and the personal wealth of his oligarch friends. Wishful thinking about “democracy and freedom” overcoming dictatorship and military bullying.

Financial markets cannot afford to be so sentimental. While we should always recall at a time like this the famous advice from Nathan Rothschild to “buy at the sound of gunfire,” the drastically risk-off response to weekend events in Ukraine makes perfect sense because Russia’s annexation of Crimea is the most dangerous geopolitical event of the post-Cold War era, and perhaps since the Cuban Missile crisis. It can result in only two possible outcomes, either of which will be damaging to European stability in the long-term. Either Russia will quickly prevail and thereby win the right to redraw borders and exercise veto powers over the governments of its neighbouring countries. Or the Western-backed Ukrainian government will fight back and Europe’s second-largest country by area will descend into a Yugoslav-style civil war that will ultimately draw in Poland, NATO and therefore the US.

No other outcome is possible because it is literally inconceivable that Putin will ever withdraw from Crimea. To give up Crimea now would mean the end of Putin’s presidency, since the Russian public, not to mention the military and security apparatus, believe almost unanimously that Crimea still belongs to Russia, since it was only administratively transferred to Ukraine, almost by accident, in 1954. In fact, many Russians believe, rightly or wrongly, that most of Ukraine “belongs” to them. (The very name of the country in Russian means “at the border” and certainly not “beyond the border”). Under these circumstances, the idea that Putin would respond to Western diplomatic or economic sanctions, no matter how stringent, by giving up his newly gained territory is pure wishful thinking.

Putin’s decision to back himself into this corner has been derided by the Western media as a strategic blunder but it is actually a textbook example of realpolitik. Putin has created a situation where the West’s only alternative to acquiescing in the Russian takeover of Crimea is all-out war. And since a NATO military attack on Russian forces is even more inconceivable than Putin’s withdrawal, it seems that Russia has won this round of the confrontation. The only question now is whether the new Ukrainian government will accept the loss of Crimea quietly or try to retaliate against Russian speakers in Ukraine—offering Putin a pretext for invasion, and thereby precipitating an all-out civil war.

(Full article at the link)

The United Kingdom has already backed out of trade sanctions against Russia over Crimea, as it fears the impact on global economic recovery.

(What recovery? 99.9% would ask...)


netudiant said...

The most sensible suggestion I've heard is that Russia should simply buy the Crimea back from the Ukraine, reversing Khrushchev's ill advised 1954 gift and solving at least some of the Ukraine's pressing financial problems. Maybe throw in a long term cheap gas concession for the rest of the provinces where Russians are the majority. As the current Kiev government has already made clear that they don't want Russians or their culture (eliminating the official status of Russian as an Ukrainian language was one of their first acts), it should be a mutually beneficial arrangement.

sangell said...

That was my suggestion to but as the above article noted 'buying' Crimea back does not accomplish the real goal which was to intimidate and put on notice EVERY nation on Russia's borders ( save China for obvious reasons) that membership in organizations like EU or NATO is forbidden and that your national sovereignty exists only at Moscows pleasure. It did not escape Putin's notice that Belarus, normally a Russian vassal state had congratulated the new Ukrainian leader and that the rot had gone far enough. What is also interesting is the issue of shale gas. Putin showed up in Bulgaria as a 'green' warning Eastern Europeans of the risk to their tap water from fracking. It so happens Ukraine may have quite a bit of shale oil and gas but will need help exploiting. They had signed contracts with Chevron and another oil major to begin exploratory drilling soon. We will see if that goes forward now. Obviously Putin does not want to lose the revenue his gas exports bring but perhaps more importantly the power its gives him to 'Finlandize' Europe particularly Germany. With gas pipeline infrastructure already built and ready to go Ukraine could simply turn the valves off at the Russian border and replace Russian gas with Ukrainian gas and with that simple step marginalize Russia forever.

Anonymous said...

Oscar Wilde was a an observant man with "imagination over reason". Perhaps marriage as "Rule by Euphemism"?
Some would have us believe that disaffect is to be "saved" by marriage, w/e ...

netudiant, sangell, those are decent perspectives, but I'll stick with the Putin-as-Offshore-Man.
You see it clearly in his face these days, his only consideration is dealmaking.

He considers all-out wars as absurd, adolescent.

Anonymous said...


You had mentioned here that Tepco had noted test well levels at Daiichi respond to ocean tides?

Check this out for Southern New Mexico, WIPP area.

"In Southern New Mexico, rain showers are often small and impact only a few square miles. Further, he said, water levels in wells respond to barometric pressure. "When a front comes through, barometric pressure goes up or down, and your water level responds to that as well." It can cause a four- or five-inch change in water level "that has nothing to do with anything except barometric pressure."

Anonymous said...

I think it was Martin Armstrong who said early on to divide the country in half. One for the Russians proponents and the other half for those that want to be free of Russia. Putin changed his tune with the report of his puppet dictator, who fled with his two mafia style sons, sufferring a heart attack and has died (unconfirmed).

Anonymous said...

Some organizations urge "evolution" in one moment, urge "revolution" in the next.

Anonymous said...

Shareholders used to be investors but since the well run business of today does not actually invest the money in the business but pays it as a dividend to the shareholders the only business the stock market does is laundry.

All these Pension funds investing in launderers,it's a funny old world with or without rubber shorts.

Anonymous said...

It is a problem,on one side the prudent gambler never invests more than can be afforded with the expectation of something for nothing wheras the well run company also expects something for nothing.

Somethings gotta give,i guess the wheel of misfortune fell upon Ukraine.

Stalin,his Jews and his Lets were there starving Ukraine to death back in the day but like Poltergeist "They're back!".

I guess what is needed is the Redman to do em in,it's about time for the First Nation president in the states.

And why not.

Anonymous said...

They're baaack!

Anonymous said...

So we can see today why it is that Ukraine and Russia agreed to a continued neighbourly presence in the south,it already existed and was a good means of preventing another Holodomor by those parasitical inbreeds who fled the remnants of the Soviet empire with whatever and whoever they could lay their hands on before being allowed as 'Russians' to ply their trade in the proceeds of crime in London,the commonwealth,Canada,the America's,Europe etc

As we see visibly in Ukraine their stolen wealth bought them a shedload of 'Democracy'.

Anonymous said...

Why the insistence on 1st nation for Potus?

Because these fifth nationers all endict themselves with impunity.

Anonymous said...

Remember Potatoe?

Anonymous said...

So when you see the cheap fools you will know why they prent Austerity and you have a good idea who pays them a bit more to impose it.

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