It has become apparent that Putin no longer has a soul. That is the transparency we are seeing now and the fear of what will Putin do next?
In the aftermath of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 jet that was shot down by alleged pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killing all 289 on board two Ukrainian Jet fighters have also been shot down also by the same alleged missile systems of Russia which ironically crashed near the Malaysian site.
Putin now has been painted the biggest villain in the situation. Indeed from this author’s perspective, Putin is a cold, soul-less man who is frivolously endangering people’s lives.
Global sentiment against Putin and Russia now runs high. Many Malaysians and others resent Putin and his actions in the aftermath of the tragedy, blaming him for the mishandling of the corpses and the inefficiency of Russia’s government who is not ensuring the proper access for authorities to the crash site.
In Europe, public sentiment in the Netherlands, which accounted for the majority of the victims, has moved dramatically against Putin.
Meanwhile, leaders of Britain, France and Germany declared Europe’s need to “reconsider its approach to Russia.”
I believe that Putin has tested his resolve on how far he can go, sending troops into Georgia, annexing Crimea and even conducting military maneuvers near the border of the Baltic states. For the most part, he has found European resolve sorely lacking and signaled his intent to keep testing the limits.
The airline tragedy has put human faces on Putin’s territorial ambitions. If it doesn’t galvanize the West to thwart him, it’s hard to see what would.
Dies this rise to another cold war? Not yet. For instance, in 1983, after a Soviet air-defense fighter shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 7 and the United States responded with a near cessation of diplomatic contact—Moscow still had its empire and it’s centrally controlled economy; what the rest of the world did was much less significant. Now Russia has no empire—no Soviet Union, no Warsaw Pact, no Comintern—and its economy is intertwined with global markets.
In short, in this conflict, Moscow has no sources of sanctuary, economic or otherwise, and a great deal to lose. Contrary to the image that he’s cleverly managed to convey, Putin is far from a master grand strategist; his many missteps during the Ukraine crisis demonstrate as much.
But Putin is no idiot either. He seems to be a shrewd tactician, a clever calculator, who’s prone to wager too much while bluffing. This time the bluff’s being called. The question is whether he takes Obama’s offer to fold—or whether he doubles down and comes out blazing.