The Widdershins

Activist Monday: Why Deterrence No Longer Works

Posted on: March 24, 2014

Putin feels untouchable

I don’t know if you all remember Hillary’s suggestion for containing terrorism and protecting Israel in 2008, but she said she thought a “nuclear umbrella” might do the trick. As SOS, she also suggested we could take this tack against Iran in 2009.

Speaking  during a televised town hall meeting in Bangkok, Mrs. Clinton said, “We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment, that if the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate, as they apparently believe they can, once they have a nuclear weapon.”

I fear that in the light of Putin’s now obvious moves to re-take Ukraine for Russia, we are left with even fewer options to deter naked aggression by nuclear powers, than we ever were.

As Obama and the G7 countries meet to discuss the new massing of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, the discussion centers around the economic possibilities of containing Pooty-Poot’s imperialistic ambitions.

The setting in The Hague of the improvised Group of 7 session and the nuclear security meeting in itself contrasts with the worldview recently offered by Mr. Putin and his power play in Ukraine. The standoff is also in stark contrast to the more hopeful tone struck by President Bill Clinton in 1997 during a visit to the Netherlands and France to mark progress toward the post-Soviet unification of Europe.

“In the twilight of the 20th century, we look toward a new century with a new Russia and a new NATO, working together in a new Europe of unlimited possibility,” Mr. Clinton said in Paris that year. “The NATO-Russia Founding Act we have just signed joins a great nation and history’s most successful alliance in common cause for a long-sought but never before realized goal — a peaceful, democratic, undivided Europe.”

That vision was a distant memory as President Obama on Monday repeated his intent to keep ratcheting up pressure on Mr. Putin. “We’re united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far,” Mr. Obama said, adding that “the growing sanctions would bring significant consequences to the Russian economy.”

And what has changed between Clinton and Obama? Why does Putin feel so free to invade another country without having been attacked first? And why isn’t he deterred by Japan’s nuclear umbrella?

I know we’d all love to forget the existence of our Worst President Evah, but unfortunately, the invasion of Iraq without any cause or justification other than naked greed and vengeance, has been a big part of his legacy. He it was who said he looked into Putin’s eyes and “saw his soul,” claiming this meant he was a good man. Knowing the state of George W. Bush’s soul, many of us shuddered when we read that quote. It seemed the Preznit was more right than he may have known, for clearly Putin and the Deciderer are two peas in a pod. They do what they want, because they are two big bullies without a thought in their heads for their people or their legacies, and they know that their military power will prevent other countries from retaliating.

Unfortunately, deterrence only works when all the heads of state agree to behave like responsible adults. And this is why you don’t let a dry drunk with a messianic complex and a daddy fixation run a country with massive nuclear capabilities. I am still in disbelief that W won even one state, even with the obvious election fraud and partisan Supreme Court decision. How could anyone not see what a danger that man was to the country and the world?

And now, we are reaping the whirlwind. We wanted Iraq’s oil, and so we went in and invaded the country. Did anyone threaten us for clearly violating international law? No. Did anyone economically sanction us? No. Our economy is far too big. We set the precedent and the example, and Putin followed both. He decided he had had enough of Ukraine’s independence and wants it back into the Russian fold. Who is to stop him from taking over the country? Do I hear the sound of crickets? I think I do. Unless Ukraine has nukes, Putin is free to gobble it up. Oh, and economic sanctions? Laughable. Europe is quite dependent on Ukraine’s natural gas, so once Putin gets that, Europe won’t be able to push back on Russia either. Sanctions do not work to prevent aggression, anyway – they just impoverish the country. If the weapons already exist, as in Russia, then the ensuing poverty does nothing.

I don’t know what those heads of state are saying to Obama, but as Chatblu pointed out last week, both he and Kerry were for the war – and Obama came out for it after the intelligence stating Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks became questioned. I imagine there could be some “I told you so” going on.

No matter what happens in Russia, I fear a very dangerous future looms ahead for all of us. I hope the other nuclear powers are more judicious with their imperialism than we and Russia have been. But if they’re not, what deterrence can we offer?

This is an open thread.


13 Responses to "Activist Monday: Why Deterrence No Longer Works"

Well it does seem that sanctions against Russia are working to a degree, but I don’t know how much the Europeans are going to go along with them. As this Money article says, they (the Europeans) have more to lose in sanctions than we do.

I really think Putin has become unhinged. Like, Merkel wasn’t off base when she said he was out of touch with reality. It’s true that the Cold War never really ended (anyone who has watched Russian TV and the anti-West propaganda coming from it would have known it.) But his long-term objective puzzles me. Unless he thinks this will blow over like his invasion of Georgia did. And you know what, maybe it will. What will anyone really do? They need Russian gas in Europe, so they’ll squawk at him for a little bit. And then everyone will move on and forget about it.

Great post MB — yes, just one more of Dubya’s massive cow piles that has come back to remind us that Karl Rove’s flash point social issues were never that filling or satisfying in the long term. Dubya’s, Dick’s, and Rummy’s “oil war” or I really think it might have been Dubya’s “he tried to kill my daddy” war and with Dick and Rummy just capitalizing on it — in any event, when Dubya longingly stared into Pootie’s eyes, what he was seeing was Russia’s acquiescence on flight routes to service the Afghanistan war. It was a love of convenience since Pootie had and still has a terrorist problem on this southwest borders.

I know the neo-cons find this amazing, but I bet they have atlases in Russia. If not atlases, I bet they have a globe or two sitting around. Pootie knows his greatest asset and greatest defense is one thing — geography. Any type of sustained conflict in this part of the world is unthinkable given the eventuality of the warfare. Crimea was given to the Ukraine by Khrushchev and what “le bald Nikita” giveth, “le shirtless Pootie” taketh.

“he tried to kill my daddy”

That’s what I always thought it was about.

The U.S. and other western countries have cancelled the G8 Summit scheduled for June in Socchi.

Maybe. but my bet is that the war was about oil.

I think the Iraq war meant different things to those in power. Bush wanted vengeance and besides, God told him to do it. Rove wanted two terms. And the oligarchy/patriarchy wanted oil.

God told him to do it LOL!!

I honestly believe that every major war starting with Vietnam has ocurred because of war. Despite the howling over Communism, we thought that there was oil in the Gulf of Tonkin, and we stayed. The Middle Eastern wars have screeched about security, and mumbled about American interests, which of course, means oil. Someday history will call this period “The Petroleum Wars.”

MB, what a brilliant post. Should be in The New Yorker or something.

chat, very good call about “The Petroleum Wars.”

This is shocking:

I wonder what chat & fuzzy think about it.

Chat believes that FL is a great place to commit murder if you are a white male.

Fabulous response!

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