From Larchmonter445 at The Saker:
Putin has used the armchair generals’ “impatience” time to grow the military and diplomacy strength exponentially.
In the Minsk 2 period he has helped free Iran of sanctions, saved it from worse, armed it with S300s, and uses its airspace and airbase for war in Syria against ISIS and AQ (proxies of the Hegemon).
He has blocked Israel’s air strikes to standoff missile shots into Damascus and Golan.
The air over Syria is controlled by RF like an ADIZ. There will be no ‘no fly zone’ over Syria by the West.
He has acquired Turkey and made Erdogan a dependency on Russian Intel and Military.
He reversed Turkey’s war allied with ISIS to against ISIS.
He negotiated a political and diplomatic component to the Syrian War, keeping the US out of the process.
He has 49-year lease for free on Tartus, expanded for 11 vessels, and has doubled the airbase for free lease at Latakia.
He has a very deep relationship with Egypt, access to naval base at Alexandria and they are working on a use of airbase arrangement.
Egypt and the Tobruk faction in Libya are begging for Russian assistance against ISIS and AQ.
Russia will be a ME regional power with a Mediterranean Fleet, not just visitor vessels from the Black Sea.
Russia’s gas pipeline (SouthStream) is now Turkish Stream. Signed, sealed, delivered.
Russian’s North Steam 2 is a real project.
Russia established leverage over Japan vis a vis the Kurill Islands dispute, while getting Japanese investment in Russian development.
China and Russia are more entwined strategically. The Double Helix is very much a geopolitical reality. The US containment of China is full on and Russia’s navy in the Asian Pacific was demonstrated in the South China Sea. It has access in Singapore and basing in Vietnam.
All this and more has gone on during the time Putin has “bought” by not going to war in Ukraine.
Ergo, he is smarter than the entire army of armchair generals who think Russian blood and flesh is a video game.
Donbass is a victim, but it is not Russia. It is not viable as a standalone entity. But when Ukraine is surrendered by the EU and US as it will years from now, not soon, Novorossiya (including Donbass) will be independent or part of Russia and viable economically.
Many commenters look at Russia’s land mass and think its economy is as large. It isn’t. It’s a small economy. It’s population is small for the land mass. And in comparison to the EU and US (separate or combined) the difference and disadvantage is dramatic. Check GDP comparison.
Putin has been brilliant.
Spicer stating that Crimea is not Russia is laughable. Russia has the largest, best, state-of-the-art nuclear triad force in the world. Picking a militaristic fight is suicide.
So, Spicer might as well have said St. Petersburg is Scandinavia’s and it needs to be returned. Or surrender the parts of the Arctic which the UN agreed is primarily Russian.
We laugh at stupidity. We don’t roll tanks and launch missiles.
If the West insists, it can lose a dozen capitols and all its NATO bases if it wants to try to take it away. And the US will be cratered and radioactive for 400 years, as the “planners” well know.
Laugh. It’s comical and indicative of stupidity, profound stupidity.