2014 March 30 Sunday
Former Adviser Says Putin Wants Finland
But Finland isn't at the top of his list.
Say he grabs eastern Ukraine. What next? Belasus? Would he actually make a play for Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia? They are members of NATO. So is Poland. Finland, Sweden, and Ukraine are not members of NATO.
Any country near Russia with a sizable Russian minority ought to offer them relocation payments to leave. Though in the more prosperous states a Russian would be taking a step down in standard of living by going back to Russia. Their kids would be better of learning English and moving deeper in to the EU.
Putin is starting a new Great Game.
By Randall Parker at 2014 March 30 08:18 PM
If Putin is an imperialist, then he is one who is too cautious to start growing his empire too much, because he knows that Russia has more to lose than it has to gain by going on a building spree. He just seems to want small opportunities to prove his "alpha maleness" - a little bit of Georgia here, a bit of Ukraine there, and nothing we can do about it.
What he'd really probably like is to have control of Istanbul and the Turkish Straits, so as to have another great city plus unfettered access to the Mediterranean. But Turkey is a member of NATO.
America and the West really shouldn't care too much about Ukraine: it's too Slavic, too corrupt. It's just a smaller, poorer version of Russia. The EU and NATO would be foolish to accept it as a member. But Finland is another matter, as are the Baltic states.
If Putin is playing chess, his real goal may be to get the EU to accept Ukraine, which would be an enormous, even self-destructive mistake.
A Russian leader would have to be nuts to attack Finland. The only true leverage that Russia has over Finland is the nuclear option. Finland has a small population but they have demonstrated that they can handle invaders. The Finns aren't pussified Scandinavians.
I think the Baltics are pretty safe since they are NATO members. But the Ukraine is a good example to the rest of the "near abroad" that if you are not in NATO, nobody will risk helping you. You are on your own against Russia.