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Current Leaders in the West do not have the stature to deal with the likes of Putin
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the Russian Intervention in Crimea, drafted and published on March 3, 2104
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Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Russia's decision to send troops to the Crimea peninsula in
Ukraine is heightening tensions in Europe to a level unknown since the fall of the Berlin wall. While the West is
decrying a "violation of Ukraine's sovereignty" and demanding a full withdrawal of Russian troops, Ukraine has
put its military in high alert. A regional war does no longer seem as remote as one might have thought just a few
weeks ago. What does Noah denkt™ make of the situation in Ukraine?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): In our mind, it is largely due to a timid and mistaken calculation of Western
leaders that the situation in Ukraine has heated up to the point that we are witnessing now. If those Western
leaders had responded early-on to Russia's military maneuvers in the Western district by mounting similar
NATO exercises in Poland and/or Turkey
[or by moving the US Sixth Fleet tad bit closer to the site of the emergency], we
could by now be
discussing constructively about the future of Ukraine in trilateral negotiations with Russia and
Ukraine. Instead, Western leaders made half-hearted declarations of vigilance and the need for calm which in
Putin's mind only reads as an abdication from a forceful intention to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty forcefully.
And so it is no surprise that we find ourselves in the mess that we are currently in.  

AE: You cannot seriously expect that people in the West are willing to enter into a major war with Russia, only to
defend the interests of Ukraine!
Nd: You can also not expect that Russia is willing to enter into a major war with a highly superior West over its
interests in Ukraine. No, this standoff in Ukraine is mainly about the West's willingness or unwillingness to play
Poker and play it hard with Mr. Putin. Because this hard-ball assertion of authority is what Russia needs to
maintain its own national integrity and cohesion, and it is the same hard-ball assertion of authority that Russia
[in times of crisis] needs from its partners in the West in order to be able to get back to a reasonable and
balanced management of its own foreign interests.

AE: Your portrayal of Russia is that of a simple minded monster!
Nd: You have to understand that Russia is both tormented and invigorated by its sheer size and geopolitical
position. On the one hand, it is a proud Eurasian power that legitimately expects to be on par with Western
pretensions of supremacy. On the other hand, it is so much hampered both by the incredible span of its
territory and the violent aspects of its history that you can’t possibly expect this country to be as relaxed and
good-humored about its political assertions as a Hawaiian force would probably be.

AE: Still, isn’t it mistaken, particularly in a post-revolutionary situation like that in Ukraine, to answer an
aggression with another aggression?
Nd: Well, in a Western context that may be true. But we are not dealing with a post-archaic disagreement here.
Instead we are talking about a conflict that echoes centuries of oppression by Mongolian conquerors, centuries
of authoritarian rule, a serious of devastating extremist aggressions both from inside and outside, and a long
history of ideological competition and struggle, if not outright cold war.

AE: And Noah denkt™ believes that this isn't being understood sufficiently well in the West?
Nd: Unfortunately, our leaders in the West have grown up in a domesticated environment and have therefore
lost the ability to be so tough that it is nerve-wrecking when circumstances require that. In other words,
it isn't
enough to wear nice suits, make intelligent speeches and be a good dad to be a formidable leader. For that,
you have to have
Cesar Millan’s ability to put yourself in front of a dangerous dog and assert your authority
over him.
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Keywords:

Russian intervention in Ukraine, Western reaction to the Russian intervention in Crimea, how to deal with Putin's
assertiveness, international conference on the future of Ukraine, Western reaction to post-revolutionary turmoil in
Ukraine, lack of Western leadership in the Crimean Conflict   
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