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What Putin Has Already Gained From Biden - Claudia Rossett


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92076
NY Sun

While President Biden warns President Putin that invading Ukraine would bring drastic sanctions in some misty tomorrow, the Russian dictator is leveraging the current crisis to humiliate and shake down the West today. Whatever Putin’s next move, it’s worth tallying what he’s already gained.

Mr. Biden, for all his warnings, has so far imposed no serious costs on Mr. Putin for threatening Ukraine by land and sea. The Russian ruler has spent months assembling a strike force of war ships along Ukraine’s coast and more than 150,000 troops along its land borders. In April he threatened to invade Ukraine with a smaller force, for which he paid no price.

The precedent now taking shape is that Mr. Putin can with impunity threaten, terrorize, and engage in a dress rehearsal for invasion, as long as the troops then go home — at least for a while. This routine provides useful training in the field for Russia’s military, should Mr. Putin decide at some stage to go ahead.

While Mr. Putin has been readying his guns, America has defaulted to talks, with senior officials proffering diplomatic off ramps as if Mr. Putin were stuck in a runaway truck. Yet the problem is not that Mr. Putin lacks off-ramps. Rather, Putin is expert in creating crises he can manipulate, and he created this one.

Mr. Putin makes no secret of his desire to reassemble a Russian empire. He has already attempted an invasion in 2008 of Georgia, created a mascot state in Belarus, seized Crimea in 2014, intervened recently in an upheaval in Kazakhstan, and fueled separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine for years. If he has yet to make up his mind on Ukraine, it might just be that he is taking time to marvel at the limp American response.:snip:

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