A few weeks ago I wrote that Russia, in occupying Crimea, was mainly concerned about maintaining their basing of their Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. This after their clear understanding that the regime change in Kiev, partially financed by us, was largely part of the U.S. strategy of surrounding Russia with American assets and thus isolating Russia from the west.
I now feel that Putin had a much more comprehensive chess game in mind and it differs dramatically from the simplistic game the Obama team envisaged for their Ukrainian gambit. Putin is using his Crimean gambit as part of a larger strategy. Instead of allowing Russia to be isolated, Putin is deploying his pieces to extend Russian influence over the chess board that is Eurasia.
In the recent Paris talks with Secretary of State John Kerry the Russians are adamantly seeking not only to reorganize the Ukrainian state into a federation but to inform the Obama Administration that other border states, such as Moldova and Transnistria, will be assimilated into the Russian nation, thereby extending a cordon against further U.S.-NATO expansion eastward.
So far, Putin has stymied the aggressive U.S.-NATO strategy to weaken Russia and turned it into an embarrassing failure of neo-conservative foreign policy. Outmaneuvered and hemmed in, there is very little Obama can do to push back, but perhaps Putin will give him a face-saving narrative to feed the American people (Obama has saved the poor people of Ukraine from the Russian bear, right?).
In essence, Putin has responded craftily to the U.S. attempt to destabilize the Ukrainian government, using his own Crimean Gambit to checkmate the aggressive yet clumsy designs of the Obama Administration. Lacking major pieces on the chess board, Obama has no recourse, and cannot impact, Putin’s growing regional influence.
This fact showcases not only the ineptness of the Obama Administration but its deceit in embracing the discredited neo conservative foreign policy of the imperial Bush/Cheney regime, even as Obama postures about fostering peace.
Putin’s Crimean Gambit has more than frustrated you. It’s check and mate, Mr. Obama. Advantage Putin.
3 thoughts on “The Putin Gambit in Crimea Checkmates Obama and the Neo-cons”
b. traven–I’m afraid you are guilty of mixing sports metaphors (if we grant for argument’s sake that chess is a sport)! “Advantage” comes from tennis. If you have achieved “check” and “checkmate” against your opponent, you haven’t gained advantage…YOU HAVE WON THE GAME! I am so glad I got to visit Russia in August, before these tensions were ginned up. As I observed upon my return, here on Contrary Perspective, I immediately appreciated that Russia is a GREAT nation. Obummer’s recent childish nose-thumbing at Mr. Putin–“Russia is a regional power, nothing more”–will almost surely come back and bite him in his skinny ass.
b. traven is guiltless, Greg. In this case an overeager editor (me), who plays both chess and tennis, got carried away. I was trying to suggest that it’s check and mate in the Crimea, with Putin gaining the advantage in the wider power game. So it’s game and set to Putin, but not yet match, as Obama makes more questionable moves with his knights (Kerry?) and rooks (the military?). Feel free to mix some more sports metaphors on me!
Greg..In my analysis “Checkmate” expresses my view exactly. I believe this was a defensive move not an aggressive move on Russia’s part. NATO-US has been aggressively trying to surround and isolate Russia for the last two decades. Russia can never forget the German invasion from the east in WW II which cost 10-20 million Russian lives. They had to thwart this move. And let us not forget that the Crimea has been part of Russia for over a century and the US is 5000 miles away. The lesson? Don,t mess in other people,s back yard.