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Why Putin had to invade the Ukraine

Vladimir Putin, painting
Kathy Turner

Foreign Policy magazine produced an analysis that says Putin had no option except to invade the Crimean region of the Ukraine. Why is this so?

The war between Russia and the west never ended. It didn’t go from hot to cold and warm again. That never happened. Hostility smolders there among a core of die hard Russians who remain in power until the demographic switch turns them off and the youth determine a new future.

The argument made by Leon Aron postulates the following synopsis. First, he notes that “all foreign policy is ultimately about domestic policy”. Remember that as we will visit that again.

  1. Putin and his government have domestic problems and championing nationalism to rescue fellow Russians next door scores positive at home and makes Putin appear strong.
  2. Putin’s government is an authoritarian regime that lacks domestic legitimacy. He needs an initiative to change that perception.
  3. Putin’s is a “party of thieves and swindlers.” The Sochi games feathered the nests of his party members and was a public relations offensive, not unlike Adolf Hitler’s as Hillary Clinton said.
  4. “Hence the seizure of Crimea, Ukraine's political Achilles' heel. If anywhere could help whip up a wave of patriotism large enough to wipe away the damage done by Putin's handling of the Ukrainian relationship that spawned the Maidan protest, it is the peninsula.”
    Leon Aron

Leon Aron is an American Enterprise Institute scholar. His analysis deserves a close read as it frames Vladimir Putin accurately as he is the corrupt and autocratic leader of a rogue nation. At present, Russia remains an enemy of the free world.


The Front Lines on Russia's Home Front
Vladimir Putin didn't invade Ukraine because he could. He did it because he had to.


In every country, all truly important foreign-policy choices are, at their core, ultimately about domestic politics. And it's not just about creating a "rally 'round the flag" effect, or distracting from pesky domestic issues, although these are definitely relevant considerations for decision-makers. The right foreign-policy move at the right time can boost a leader's ratings and the regime's popularity. This is doubly true for authoritarian regimes that lack democratic legitimacy, and it is true for Russia today.”

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