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Two Steps Ahead
Russia’s Smart Financial Moves Against Ukraine
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  • Andrew Allison

    Does outsmarting the West at every turn make Putin’s crew crooked? Assuming the the Ukrainians are not stupid, they entered could see n o alternative.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Well its obvious what needs to be done, the Ukraine needs to default. The complaint that this will make things worse is bogus, they are already in economic collapse, and can’t pay anyway. As far as the Russians are concerned they are in the process of destroying the very parts of the Ukraine they want to take, aren’t going to get paid back, and will end up with an economic basket case on their border that adds nothing to their already moribund economy. How is this smart? A strategy is only smart if it makes you stronger. How does this make Russia stronger? They are losing money and lives to gain territory destroyed by war that will be a further drain on their finances, as well as creating a neighbor that hates them and will be looking for serious payback in the future.

    • Kevin

      This is even assuming Western governments will honor these Russian bond covenants. The U.S. legislature would almost certainly outlaw them if Obama asked. The UK might well do if if Cameron took a similar stand. If these leaders want to look tough (or at least not complete doofuses) in the the face of Putin’s provocations without spending a lot of blood or treasure this might be a route they go down. Putin has to worry that, skilled as he is at playing a weak hand, at the end if the day he has a weak hand and if Western countries are antagonized enough to push back he is in trouble. (Of course he could always mortgage Russia’s future to Beijing’s tender mercies but the long run cost here is likely to be higher than most nationalist Russians are wont to pay.)

      The real issue is not how skillful Putin and his lawyers are at coming up with clever contract terms and stratagems, but how far can he push before Western leaders collectively say enough is enough. He can nibble on his neighbors, but sooner or later someone in Washington and/or Brussels might push back and call his bluff.

  • Felix Keverich

    You seem to have this view of Russia as a collapsing hellhole, and great Putin as the only thing holding it together. I for one believe that Russia has a great potential, but Putin and his clique are holding its back. You can’t separate Putin from Russia’s economic weakness, after all this man has been in charge of the Russian economy for the last 15 years.

    If anything, the West should thank Mr Putin for keeping Russia down.

  • Patrick Smith

    Now that the Ruble is in freefall, and the Russian central bank drastically raised interest rates –destroying any hopes of economic growth–, is Putin still the master tactician who is a step ahead of Western adversaries? Honestly, reading all of these opinion pieces from Mead is pretty hilarious. Strikes me as a writer who is looking for any excuse to denigrate Obama, facts be damned. Perhaps the US/West was playing the long game all along and Mead has just failed to see it.

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