Putin's Power Play: Why Russia Holds Most of the Cards in the Ukraine Crisis

And why the situation might go from bad to worse. 

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A final development that may favor Mr. Putin is the recent change in NATO’s political leadership. The preening former Danish prime minister and Iraq War–enthusiast Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been succeeded by former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg. In contrast to Rasmussen (that rarest of species: a Euro-Neocon), the new secretary general has a reputation as a consensus-maker and is reported to be on good terms with Putin who has said of Stoltenberg, "We have very good relations, including personal relations.”

Given all of this, it seems Mr. Putin has little in the way of motive in trying to help resolve the crisis. We should not expect any serious push to resolve the almost yearlong Ukraine crisis until the end of what may prove to be a very cold winter in Eastern Europe, by which time Europe’s political balance may have tilted even further in Mr. Putin’s direction.

James Carden is a Contributing Editor for The National Interest.

Image: Kremlin website

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