Sunday, November 16, 2014

Putin Playing the Bully in a Dangerous Game of Bluff !

Vladimir Putin is playing a very dangerous game, and a miscalculation could prove deadly:
 In Ukraine:  Tanks and other military vehicles pouring over the border from Russia into eastern Ukraine. Nightly artillery battles in the region’s biggest city, Donetsk, and reports of fighting around another regional capital. And now, sightings of the “green men,” professional soldiers in green uniforms without insignia, the same type of forces that carried out the invasion of Crimea last spring.
A senior NATO official confirmed on Wednesday what Ukrainian military officials and monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been saying for days now: Russian troops and military equipment are crossing the border into Ukraine, seemingly preparing for renewed military action, though what exactly remains unclear.
In the Baltic states:

 Two Dutch F-16 fighter jets on a NATO mission intercepted a Russian aircraft in the Baltics after it approached Estonian and Lithuanian airspace…  

NATO says interceptions rose to 100 since the start of the year, three times the total for 2013… Latvia’s northern neighbor Estonia and non-aligned Finland have reported repeated incidents this year where Russian aircraft violated their airspace… Russia’s increased military activity in the Baltic region is aimed at undermining security and testing the preparedness of the country and its NATO allies, Lithuanian Chief of Defense, Major General Jonas Vytautas Zukas, said on Facebook Nov. 11.
In Japan:
Russian jets flying perilously close to Japan airspace forced Japanese fighters to take to the skies 533 times over the past six months — a number up from 308 in the same time period a year earlier. Now Japan is trying to figure out why the Russian military jets have made Japan a target.
In the US:  Russia plans to send long-range bombers to the Gulf of Mexico in what appears to be Moscow’s latest provocative maneuver in its increasingly frosty relations with the West.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (photo left) said Wednesday that “we have to maintain (Russia’s) military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico”—including sending bombers “as part of the drills.” ... “We do not see the security environment as warranting such provocative and potentially destabilizing activity,” a senior Obama administration official said Thursday.
In Sweden:
Sweden has released a sonar image it says is proof that a foreign submarine entered its waters in October… Suspicion fell on Russia, but its defence ministry denied any of its ships were involved.
In Australia:

In recent days, four Russian warships have entered international waters off the northeast Australian coast to coincide with Putin’s visit to Australia for the summit that brings together the leaders of the world’s 20 biggest industrialized and developing economies. Australia, in turn, sent three warships of its own to monitor them.
The Russian embassy said on Friday that Russia’s Pacific fleet was testing its range, in
case they have to do climate change research in the Antarctic, and could be used as security for Putin.
 In Canada and the US:

Russian bombers in the Labrador Sea off the coast of Canada practiced cruise-missile strikes against the U.S. in early September. Also in September, Russian military jets made repeated incursions into U.S. and Canadian air-defense zones in the Arctic. Last spring, a Russian military plane was spotted 50 miles off the coast of California, the closest such approach since the Cold War.
In Europe:
Russian planes have violated the airspace of Estonia, the Netherlands, and Sweden in recent months, the report says, and on Oct. 3, a Russian fighter flew “within meters” of a Swedish surveillance plane in the Baltic region.

The Way I See It......for years diplomats and analysts from Washington to Berlin have strained to understand what drives Vladimir  Vladimirovich Putin. George W. Bush claimed to have peered into his soul and seen goodness, only to change his mind later; Barack Obama's ballyhooed first-term ''reset'' with Russia fizzled after Putin proved unexpectedly difficult.

Indeed, there is an unmistakable element of anti-Americanism in Putin and his ''Putinism''. His advisers have told Western counterparts that Putin has grown tired of being made to feel like a second-class citizen on the world stage by American Presidents from both parties. The frustration showed in private meetings. In his memoir, George W.Bush recounts a sit-down with Putin in which the Russian adopted ''a mocking tone, making accusations about America,'' so frustrating Bush that, he writes, ''I nearly reached over the table and slapped the hell out of the guy.''

Putin is now in Brisbane this weekend  at the G-20 Conference confronting his critics. In fact, already 9 of the visiting heads of state have spoke their minds to him.  Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has already fronted him at the APEC Meeting in China last week and demanded an apology for supplying the missile launcher to the separatist Ukrainians that used it to shoot down Flight MB17 in April, killing 38 Australians. He also suggested compensation to the bereaved families and for Putin to stop trying to bring back a new form of Czarist Russia and return to friendly cooperation.

One Rebuke of many at the G-20:  Russian President Vladimir Putin got a blunt message when he approached Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a handshake at today’s Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. 
“I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Harper told Putin, the prime minister’s spokesman Jason MacDonald said to the media.

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