Friday, February 13, 2015

A hawk among the chickens


From their faces alone, you could tell how the Minsk conference would work out: the hard-faced raptor from Moscow plucked the weak or weak-willed chickens from Berlin, Paris, and Kiev. Using the playbook perfected by the Kims in North Korea and the mullahs in Tehran, Mr Putin has frozen the Ukraine war in place for another few months, after which he'll escalate it at will, or intervene in another country. In a very few years he has beavered off sections of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, while intimidating what he calls the "near abroad," the parts of the Russian Empire that were shaken free in 1918 and again in 1990. And unlike his predecessors, he has done all this without invoking the dread word: War. The chickens (including our own president) fear the word more than the reality, and they will do anything to avoid it, including preemptive surrender.

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