Putin’s Got His Problems, Too


Before the first Trump-Biden debate, moderator Chris Wallace listed the six subjects that would be covered:

The Trump and Biden records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in our cities, and the integrity of the election.

According to a recent Gallup survey, Wallace’s topics tracked the public’s concerns — the top seven of which were the coronavirus, government leadership, race relations, the economy, crime and violence, the judicial system, morality and family decline.

As an issue, national security did not even break Gallup’s Top 10. It ranked below education and homelessness, just above climate change.

Which raises a question?

Can a nation as divided as we are and as distracted as we are by the most lethal pandemic in 100 years, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the worst racial crisis since the 1960s, conduct a global policy to contain the ambitions of two rival great powers on the other side of the world and to create a U.S.-led democratic world order?

Can we build, lead and sustain alliances of dozens of nations to contain Vladimir Putin's Russia and Xi Jinping's China as we did the Soviet Union during more than 40 years of the Cold War?

Are we still up to it? And must we Americans do it?

Or should we let the internal problems and pressures on these two nations do the primary work of containing their external ambitions?

Case in point: Vladimir Putin's Russia. While our Beltway elites are obsessed with

Russia and Putin, seeing in them a mortal threat to our democracy, close observers are seeing something else.

"Putin, Long the Sower of Instability, Is Now Surrounded by It," runs a headline in Thursday's New York Times. The theme also appears in The Financial Times in a story headlined, "Putin Watches as Flames Engulf Neighborhood."
Consider the situation today in Russia's "near abroad," the former republics of the USSR that broke from Moscow's rule between 1989 and 1991.

The Baltic States -- Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia -- are already in the U.S.-led NATO alliance. Georgia in the Central Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin, fought a war against its Russian neighbor in 2008 and is now a friend and de facto ally of the United States.

Ukraine, the most populous of the 14 republics to break away from Moscow, is now the most hostile to Moscow, having watched its Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea be amputated by Putin in 2014.

Now, Belarus, Russia's closest neighbor to the west, is in a political crisis with weekly demonstrations demanding the ouster of Putin's ally, longtime autocrat

Alexander Lukashenko, after a fraudulent election.

Putin could be forced to do what he has no desire to do -- forcefully intervene to put down a popular uprising that could cause Belarus to follow Ukraine into the Western camp.

Now, in the South Caucasus, two former republics of the USSR, Azerbaijan and Armenia, are again in an open war over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave wholly within Azerbaijan.

While Armenia, an ally of Russia, is pleading for intervention by Moscow to halt the war, Turkey is aiding the Azeris militarily, and they seem to be gaining the upper hand.

Four thousand miles away, in Russia's Far East, in the city of Khabarovsk, which is as close to China as Dulles Airport is to D.C., anti-Putin rallies have become a constant feature of politics.

Last summer, Putin's political rival Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent developed in Soviet laboratories. Navalny has now become a live martyr and more potent adversary as the Kremlin has failed to come up with a satisfactory explanation for what appears to have been an attempted assassination. New German and French sanctions on Russian officials could be forthcoming.

Russians are tiring of Putin's 20-year rule. His popularity, though high by European standards, is near its nadir. And Russians have suffered mightily from the coronavirus and what it has done to their economy.

Now, the pro-Putin regime in Kyrgyzstan on the Chinese border appears to have been overthrown after another fraudulent election, and Beijing is telling everyone to stay out.

And how have Putin's imperial adventures gone?

While his intervention in Syria saved the regime of Bashar Assad and Russia's sole naval base in the Mediterranean, the war continues to bleed Mother Russia.

Putin's intervention on the side of the rebels in Libya, however, has not gone well. Last year's rebel drive to capture the capital of Tripoli failed, and the rebel forces have been forced to retreat back to the east.

Meanwhile, Russia's economy remains only one-tenth the size of China's economy, and its population is also only one-tenth that of China.

Perhaps time is on America's side in the rivalry with Russia, and war avoidance remains as wise a policy as it was during the Cold War.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." 

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6 thoughts on “Putin’s Got His Problems, Too”

  1. Putin is actually more of an ALLY than an enemy, as he is under the same attacks that WE are, and Russia ALREADY broke away from the Globalist control, that is why he pitied us for our now going INTO the communism that he had just escaped from, at a terrible cost to his people. Of COURSE he wants what is best for Russia, but that is GOOD. We want what is best for US as well, that is what should be EVERY leader’s goal, if they are honest!

  2. Compare that to our Democrat party, in the pockets of the CCP and being the outright satanic CRIMINALS that thjeir actions show them to be — How can anyone agree with THEM? They have shown their nature, and they are antiAmerican, openly wanting to shut us down, and fighting hard to do it. What will end up happening is, all the Blue States and cities will fail because of their lockdown hoaxes ( the lockdows are the source of virtually ALL of the deaths in the US — CDC admitted that ONLY 6% of the “COVID deaths” were from COVID — the rest were of other illnesses, all exacerbated by the lack of care and the shutting down of the AMERICAN economy, so that only Globalist companies were allowed to thrive). Then Pelosi blocks the stimulus bills and pumps her versions full of pork meant to bail out the loser economies of the Blue states and hides portions that will stop our economy, like killing our dollar so that we implode. It is ALL SO OBVIOUS on the SURFACE!

  3. I think your author has been reading too much of his own propaganda. This is pure “cloud cuckoo land”.
    The problem of Belorus is a Merkel creation financed by the IMF because Lukashenko refused bribes to declare a non-existent pandemic.
    Again, there used to be a Ukraine problem caused by Merkel and her mafia Puppet, Poroshenko, but the new government is making great strides in normalising relations with Russia.
    It was Poroshenko’s “law” declaring Russians to be second class citizens which led to the referendum in the Crimea which used international law to change their allegiance to Russia. Poroshenko sent in the army to prevent the referenda in Dombas etc. So much for democracy!
    Similarly, the Baltic states have, largely, given up plans to make those of Russian ancestry “second class citizens” and a great deal of co-operation and trade with Russia is steadily growing.
    Syria was a problem created by Obama and which Putin and Trump together quickly resolved.
    Nowalny is a banker stooge sent in to destailise Russia. He failed. The whole poisoning tale is a complete fantasy run from Merkel’s office. One of the worst pieces of theatre to be published this year – so medical and other experts.
    Which leaves the recurring and knotty problem of Nagorno-Karabakh – a centuries old problem which no-one seems to want to resolve. There is a solution but even your author doesn’t want it.

    Blessed be
    Karma Singh

  4. A very true and thoughtful presentation of the situation around Russia today and, what is most important, a very wise conclusion. Enough mistakes have been made by many American political consultants so far to keep strongly advancing ones like this one!