Four places where Putin might test POTUS’s iron resolve

Four places where Putin might test POTUS’s iron resolve

It seems clear that no one either in Europe or in the White House has the will to take effective measures against the Russians in situations in which Russia can manufacture consent for annexation. Despite Vice President Joe Biden’s assurances to Poland and Lithuania that more sanctions are on their way, and despite a multiplicity of promises made to the interim Ukrainian government about standing up to Russian bullying, Putin seems less than deterred. And the United States has thus far rejected Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) suggestion that we begin arming the Ukrainian military, even though reports broke today of Russian troops firing at Ukrainian troops.

The media handwringing over whether Putin is “crazy” obscures the fact that Putin is a very smart power player on the world stage. …

So, what’s next for Russia? …

Moldova. On Tuesday, politicians in the Trans-Dniestrian region of Moldova, which marks the eastern border of the country, asked the Russian Duma to draft law allowing them to join the mother country. … Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti says that should Moscow do that, it “would be a step in the wrong direction.” But as early as September 2006, Trans-Dniester sought to break off from Moldova and go independent. …

Georgia. In 2008, Russian troops invaded two provinces of Georgia, supposedly to defend the safety of ethnic Russians in South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. …

Kazakhstan. …

Belarus. …

None of these countries are members of NATO. In all likelihood, Putin would consolidate his gains before moving against the rest of Ukraine or any of the NATO countries…

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