The chessboard image is the classic metaphor portraying the Cold War era. An era of international tensions and attractions that started right after WWII in 1948. However, that image draws a luring deception. Many choices remembered today as reference for far-sightedness and tactical geniality; were then qualified mere weaknesses. The Cold War’s costliest manoeuvres in Korea and Vietnam, proved to be uselessly unproductive.
Often rhetoric causes problems. In 1952, Eisenhower promised an aggressive policy for the “Liberalisation from Communism”. Yet, he always opted to prudence instead of conflict. Even the “Missiles Crisis”, in Cuba back in the sixties; found its solution in the secret barter deal by which Uncle Sam removes his missiles from Turkey as long as the Soviet Bear dismantles his’ from Cuba.
Regan did more or less the same when facing the Polish emergency, and the repression of ‘Solidarnosc’. He demonstrated caution. Poland, as other satellites, were liberated thanks to careful negotiations with Gorbachev.. The Cold War then was not a calculated game structured and played among masters; it was a horrifying era of high tensions, where leaders knew that the slightest false move would’ve dragged them, and the entire world, into the darkness of a bottomless abyss.
But today’s open game, between Putin and Obama, is much more than the classic game of chess that both Moscow and Washington used to play, and cleverly I may add, until 1991 using situations, countries, and governments as pawns to move at will over their global chessboard. Though, always observing the utmost caution, as not to reach a destructive frontal crash line.
In fact, the alarming element which really preoccupies the world, about the present military operations in the Crimean peninsula, is the 18th century tactics and visions that Putin’s Russia brings into the 21st century; demonstrating the profound cultural backwardness of a leadership modelling the pre-Soviet Tzarist patterns. Thus, Putin is not any longer the successor of Stalin, Khrushchev, Gorbachev nor even Eltsin; he has become the last living ROMANOV heir of Tzar Nicolas II.
Before such unexpected and much troubling shift in the Russian perception on modern politics, we discover that the United States, United Nations and the European Union stand surprised and helplessly confused with no real efficient, nor effective, instruments to use as the appropriate ‘Counter Measure (s)’; not even any true means of intimidation. Whether Russia is present or absent in a G8 or a G20, will not change a single bit the fact of a European dependence on the oil and gas supplies (passing all through the five major pipelines through the Ukrainian territory and Crimean ports), and always more on the capitals pumped by Russian Oligarchies.
Out from the Syrian disaster, when Obama unwisely launched a precise ultimatum knowing he can’t respect, the administration must have learned never to fall beyond the “Red Line on the sand”. Already the White House came dangerously exposed warning Putin “..not to violate Ukrainian Sovereignty”; at which the Russians have formally, and mockingly, avoided doing by sending thousands of soldiers with no shoulder patches nor flags.
Should this unidentifiable, and nameless, official army transform into an invasion and occupation force, with official signs; and if the situation would degenerate in a civil war; perhaps even reaching the still boiling crater of Chernobyl (at only 160 km from Kiev); we would then witness first hand an eruption of diplomatic initiatives, of frenetic meetings between Europeans and Americans, of meaningless appeals with toothless warnings.
But no one, certainly not the USA who are still painfully and slowly ungluing their feet out from Afghanistan, is ready to die for Crimea. In the Ukraine, the “Putin Doctrine” have no rivals, if not half the Ukrainians themselves.
Make the parallel with the Arab Spring(s), focussing on Egypt’s situation; only by then you would discover how hollow are the words of Arab leading political figures.
Pass On The Word.