Vladimir Putin, the former KGB head from the old days, is just an old school Russian Imperialist, trying to reestablish Russia as a player, following the devastation of the breakup of the Soviet Union. He is particularly interested in establishing a buffer zone around Russia, to keep the West as far away as possible. He will push and push to reestablish Russia's influence in the region, knowing that we have no stomach for military intervention, especially with nukes off the table.
So all that is left is diplomacy and economic pressure, and that depends on everyone else ganging up on him. Germany seems to be the key player here, due to his relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who he considers tough and trustworthy. They speak each others language on multiple levels. So, we are largely dependent on her to get him to change his ways.
Modern diplomacy is such a bitch! How I miss the days of the Big Red Button. It was so easy, when the USSR understood that we would not hesitate to launch a preemptive nuclear strike, if they provoked us. Whoever came up with that "Nuclear Winter" scenario, anyhow?
As much as we would like to go it alone, ala W, it just doesn't work that way anymore. And we are crippled in being able to build coalitions, especially because of W's legacy and the Democrats' unfortunate decision to go with Barack Obama, instead of Hilary Clinton in 2008.
W's arrogance in going it alone did immeasurable harm to our ability to build coalitions since then. H.W. understood the need for a coalition, and, despite the need for a quick response following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he had the skills and took the time to build a beautiful one. And he recognized the difficulty that we would face if we took over Iraq, even though it was ripe for the taking following its expulsion from Kuwait.
I think we all gave W a pass on his invasion of Iraq, thinking he must have a clear vision on rebuilding it after the war and on getting a model democracy set up and functioning. Iraq seemed to be the perfect place to plant that seed in the Middle East - not used to having an Islamic-based government, and with multiple cultural segments. It could be another Turkey. I think a big part of his motivation was hubris: he wanted to show up his old man by finishing what H.W. had failed to. We know W's administration started planning that invasion the day they were elected (sort of), and that 9/11 put an unwelcome hold on that plan. I think we all knew that the WMD issue was a pile of crap, but we got caught up in the excitement of planting the flag of democracy in Iraq, which would become a showplace for the rest of the region. And we all shouted down Natalie Maines for asserting that "the Emperor had no clothes", especially since she happened to be in England at the time. Perhaps we should have listened to this young lady from Texas!
The two things that subsequently shocked us were that W was unable/unwilling to build a coalition and the fact that his rebuilding team was not the best and most able people in their fields, but a bunch of totally unqualified "true-believers"! And they failed miserably. And then we thought, "This is the same thing that happened when he was President of the Texas Rangers. He brought in all this power, and he still could not deliver a winner."
Then, when Putin invaded Georgia, W again was unable to get the world behind him to do anything about it. Besides, it was toward the end of his administration, and he was very busy dealing with, or not, the devastation that his economic policies had wreaked on the nation. Just let the next girl deal with Putin.
But then the Dems' extremists managed to nominate another one of their own, knowing that whatever candidate the party put up would be a shoo-in against whoever the GOP offered up as a sacrificial lamb. Oh! My! God!
I will say that Obama showed some balls in getting Osama bin Laden. Otherwise, he has been hard-pressed to restore our position as the free-world leader.
So, we're reduced to letting this German lady lead our fight. Are we further diminished every time Putin goes off on another adventure? Absolutely!
Are you beginning to see why I call myself a Radical Centrist? The disastrous policies and actions of the Radical Left and the Radical Right and their entrenched refusal to work together are destroying the country!
With 2016 on the horizon, will Hillary Clinton be able to carry the day against a Radical Right opponent, which will certainly be the learning-disabled GOP's choice? Will she even get the chance, or will the equally learning-disabled Dems go with another Radical Leftist? One can always hope, but sometimes one feels so disenfranchised.