Guest Post: Putin's Kampf

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Tannock, originally posted at Project Syndicate,

Russia’s seizure of Crimea is the most naked example of peacetime aggression that Europe has witnessed since Nazi Germany invaded the Sudetenland in 1938. It may be fashionable to belittle the “lessons of Munich,” when Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier appeased Hitler, deferring to his claims on Czechoslovakia. But if the West acquiesces to Crimea’s annexation – the second time Russian President Vladimir Putin has stolen territory from a sovereign state, following Russia’s seizure of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in 2008 – today’s democratic leaders will surely regret their inaction.

In Western capitals, the response so far has been mixed. The punishments being considered – expulsion from the G-8, for example – would be laughable were the threat to Europe’s peace not so grave. Putin regards the breakup of the Soviet Union as the greatest catastrophe of modern times, and he has sought relentlessly to refashion Russia’s lost empire. If the West intends to be taken seriously, it needs to act as decisively as Putin has.

Putin’s many successes in his imperial project have come virtually without cost. His Eurasian Economic Community has corralled energy-rich states like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan into Russia’s camp. Georgia was dismembered in 2008. Armenia’s government was bullied into spurning the European Union’s offer of an Association Agreement.

Now the greatest geostrategic prize of all – Ukraine – may fall into Putin’s hands. Russia without Ukraine, former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote, “ceases to be an empire, but Russia with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” And, because the vast majority of Ukrainians have no desire to join Putin’s empire, we can be certain that the state Putin will lead from this point on will be a highly militarized one, rather like the Soviet Union but without the ruling Communist Party.

Given the scale of Putin’s adventurism, the world’s response must be commensurate. Canceled summits, trade deals, or membership in diplomatic talking shops like the G-8 are not enough. Only actions that impose tangible economic sanctions that affect Russian citizens – who, after all, have voted Putin into power time and again – offer any hope of steering the Kremlin away from its expansionist course.

Which sanctions might work?

First, Turkey should close the Dardanelles to Russian shipping, as it did after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Back then, Turkey closed access to the Black Sea to prevent the US from intervening, though the US, it is now clear, had no intention of doing so. Today, it should close the Turkish straits not only to Russian warships, but to all commercial vessels bound for Russia’s Black Sea ports. The impact on Russia’s economy – and on Putin’s military pretensions – would be considerable.


Turkey is permitted to close the Dardanelles under a 1982 amendment to the 1936 Montreux Convention. Indeed, Turkey could turn Putin’s justification for seizing Crimea – that he is protecting ethnic Russians there – against him, by arguing that it is protecting its Turkic Tatar kin, who, given Russia’s ill treatment of them in the past, are anxious to remain under Ukrainian rule.


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu turned his plane around in mid-air this week to fly to Kyiv to offer support to the new interim government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, no pushover himself, as Putin well knows, should follow up on that gesture of support by immediately closing the straits to Russian shipping – until Putin recalls all troops in Crimea to their Sevastopol bases or to Russia proper. And Turkey should be offered an Article 5 guarantee from NATO should Russia seek to intimidate it.


Second, US President Barack Obama should impose the type of financial sanctions on Russia that he has imposed on Iran for its nuclear program. Those sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy. Similarly, denying any bank that does business with a Russian bank or company access to the US financial system would create the kind of economic chaos last seen in Russia immediately after the fall of Communism. Ordinary Russians should be made to understand that permitting Putin – whose primary claim to leadership is that he ended the penury of the first post-Soviet years – to continue with his imperialist aggression will cost them dearly.


Third, Obama should emphasize to the Chinese their stake in Eurasian stability. Putin may regard the Soviet Union’s disintegration as a tragedy, but for China it was the greatest geostrategic gift imaginable. At a stroke, the empire that stole millions of hectares of Chinese territory over the centuries, and that threatened the People’s Republic with nuclear annihilation, simply vanished.


Since then, Central Asia’s independent states, and even Ukraine, have become important trading partners for China. Russia’s conquests in Georgia greatly displeased China, as was seen at the post-war summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (a regional grouping that includes ex-Soviet countries that share borders with China and Russia). Russia pushed the SCO to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But the SCO balked. The group’s Central Asian members – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – would not have stood up to the Kremlin without China’s support.


Today, however, Chinese President Xi Jinping may need to be less cryptic in his response to Putin’s adventurism. Indeed, the real test of China’s claim that it is a responsible stakeholder in the world community will come soon at the United Nations. Will it back Putin’s clear flouting of international law, or will it back Ukraine’s territorial integrity?


There are other possible punitive measures. Visas can be denied and canceled for all Russian officials. Assets can be frozen, particularly those laundered by oligarchs close to Putin. Only when the pain becomes intolerable, particularly for the elite, will Putin’s kampf be defeated.

The cost of inaction is high. Countless countries, from Japan to Israel, rely on America’s commitment to act robustly against grave breaches of the peace. Moreover, when Ukraine surrendered its nuclear weapons in 1994, it did so with the express understanding that the US (and the United Kingdom, France, and Russia) would guarantee its territorial integrity. Should Crimea be annexed, no one should gainsay Ukraine if it rapidly re-nuclearized its defense (which it retains the technological capacity to do).

When Chamberlain returned from Munich, Winston Churchill said, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.” Obama and other Western leaders face a similar choice. And if they choose dishonor, one can be certain that an undeterred Putin will eventually give them more war.

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suteibu's picture

"Russia’s seizure of Crimea is the most naked example of peacetime aggression that Europe has witnessed since Nazi Germany invaded the Sudetenland in 1938."

So, Chuck, compare this to America's actions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, ad infinitum? 

BudFox2012's picture

Was this written by Lindsey Graham? (The article, not your reply)


CH1's picture

For those who missed the State Dept. setting this all up:

Fukushima Sam's picture

We should keep in mind Putin's age; if he has grand things planned for himself then he only has so much time left to accomplish them.

quintago's picture

Where the hell were all these alarmists when international law and our constitution was being usurped with all the american adventurism of the past few decades?

DaddyO's picture

The author lost me at "Zbigniew"...

and then this <Countless countries, from Japan to Israel, rely on America’s commitment to act robustly against grave breaches of the peace>



HarryWanqer's picture

The United States must make every effort to liberate ethnic Russian Crimea from the Russians. A draft may be necessary. Now is not the time to value our humble human lives above the needs of Western elite.

RECISION's picture

The guy is a Sock-puppet.

And his garbage isn't even worthy of a response.

Just ignore it completely - treat it with the respect if deserves... none!

TruthInSunshine's picture

It's time that American Fathers AND Mothers sharpen their blades and cut the Neocon Military-Industrial-Surveillance-Data Complex down like the overgrown thicket, threatening to suffocate their children, that it is.

Douse it with gasoline and torch it afterward for good measure.

MontgomeryScott's picture

I'm getting really tired of the political-media Zionist apparatchick TELLING me 'what to think' about events that they create and foster.

The 'Eastern powers', the 'Western powers', and the M.I.C., with their lap-dogs in the media, continue to forment the false paradigm of 'us versus them', while babies die, men are killed, women are raped, and everyone is getting GMO'd or RADIATED.


'We Want Your Soul':


Oh, yeah: FUCK YOU BERNANKE, and FUCK YOU, Yellen, and FUCK YOU, Greenspan, and...

BustainMovealota's picture

Dude,  I want you on my team.  Come fight with us!!  Lock and Load, Bitchez's.  We're goin in!

MontgomeryScott's picture

I've always been of the opinion that what's right is right, and what's wrong is shit.

The Second Amendment was put in place to guarantee that the other Amendments were able to be Upheld (along with the Constitution itself), as long as there were people willing to take a stand; patriots in my nation that recognized that 'lines in the sand' were going to get washed away by the red tides, and able enough to see what is coming to our shores.

The whole FUCKING WORLD is being eradicated, at the behest of a few 'elites'.

The line must be drawn. HERE. THIS FAR. NO FARTHER!


Unpopular Truth's picture

Putin has figured out we do not have the stomach for bodybags. He is unstoppable.

zionhead101's picture

FEMA has millions of Body-Bags, and DHS has billions of rounds of AMMO.

Putin just has to wait, and if PUTIN were really fucking smart he would spend just 1/10 of what LURCH/HILLARY spent on the fire in the UKRAINE, ... spend $500k wisely and you could ignite civil war 2.0 in the USA.

Remember the 19 saudi boys who did 911, had a budget of less than $10k USD, and caused ten's of trillions of damage to the USA economy.


The USA has started Moron-Spring with Facebook/Twitter worldwide, ... all the USA does is feed/fuel the right MORONS in the USA, and just watch the FEMA put those body-bags to good use.


Then you got the chinese-taleban killing old people in CHINA, innocents being slaughtered, what if CHINA paid METH-HEADS in the USA "nickel-bags" to run through the mall's with HIV infected methead-blood, ...

I can't believe the USA or anybody is this stupid, this shit is going to come home to roost in the USA,and the funny think DHS is already armed, and FEMA is ready for the corpses

N2OJoe's picture

How about we keep our noses out of everyone elses business?

Perfecthedge's picture

You good Sir belong in the State Department ASAP, no sarcasm here! Seriously. 

jeff montanye's picture

i am kind of hoping that "President Barack Obama should impose the type of financial sanctions on Russia that he has imposed on Iran for its nuclear program."  so russia can't sell its oil and gas for dollars.  hmmm? what might it sell them for?  oh,  i notice the u.s. backed down on its iran sanctions when it appeared the same thing was happening.  hope they try it again.  it will unmask the paper gold sham rather quickly:

MrPalladium's picture

Tyler is making an important point by posting this outrageous piece. There are many establishment media and NGO hacks that are lobbying and advocating outright war against Russia.

However it is well understood in the intelligence community and amoung military strategists that if a confrontation between nuclear powers with ICBMs must escalate into all out war, it is very much in the interest of the weaker power to launch a massive first strike so as to weaken the stronger opponent's offense, eliminate most of its military capacity and reduce it to a third rate power.

The U.S. political leadership and financial and media elites have no idea of the massive risks they are taking.

If Russia strikes first the American empire is history and little Isreal is left "swimming naked" in a very hostile world, assuming it is not also nuked into a glass ball like much of the U.S. in the first launch.

This kind of article is necessary to let the ZH readers realize just how criminally insane and dangerous these elites really are.

astitchintime's picture

I'm hoping you forgot to add the /sarc tag ?

thurstjo63's picture

Maybe we can get Mr. Tannock to go out to Crimea and lead the efforts to liberate the ethnic Russians from their homeland. It makes alot of sense!

thamnosma's picture

Here's Zbig at work in 1979, the last time he lured the Russians into a quagmire

It's one minute of really fun footage

Mad_max's picture

He lost me at "stakeholder". F*cking managerial gibberish. No wonder Putin porks the west of a barrel. We can't even speak English properly.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Where the hell were all these alarmists when international law and our constitution was being usurped with all the american adventurism of the past few decades?

They were counting their profits while other people died.

Captain Kink's picture

They were on the adventures.

but seriously don't get yourself all twisted up about this.  NOthing to see here.  "Russia" is the sock puppet.  By 2020 it will have crumbled again, to an even more unrecognizable state of a pack of wild regional dogs.  Nothing to worry about here.  They just don't have the juice.  And Putin is greedier than he is power hungry.  He is no visionary.  There is no Putin's Kampf.  Or even something wild we can attribute, like Marxism....he's just a greedy fuck.  Ain't no Stalin, that's for sure.  Economic sanctions will likely do the trick, but it will never get that far, as Europe will likely let him have Crimea... Without the real economic power and a top 5 military, and at least a foothold in the Baltics and/or Georgia, the FSR is not a player.  Period.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Dear God in heaven, for the sake of America and the world, please destroy DC and the rest of the US government.


Captain Kink's picture

Cuz where you live is better?  Or you live here and you have all the answers? Go f

astitchintime's picture

Umm, no.  Because I do live here and I agree wholeheartedly with fourth-stooging's statement.

It isn't a matter of where you live is better .. or having all the answers.

What truely matters is recognizing the ROT and speaking out against it.

And hopefully, God grant us the wherewithall .... to overcome the rot and take it all back.

EDIT I'm sorry TheFourthStooge-ing ... I couldn't see the correct spelling of your username


Anusocracy's picture

There's been a coup at Zerohedge and it's under NSA control Two psychopathic neocon court jesters today: Anatole Kaletsky and Charles Tannock?

I've said it before, America has gone to hell because its population has gone to hell. The people are no longer good, hard-working individualists, but a hodge-podge of control freaks, moochers, and useless idiots.

As a country, it is beginning to show the worst characteristics of the worst countries in recent history and giving no indication of being able to reverse the trend.

It is Detroit writ large and like for some friends from there, time to leave.

Captain Kink's picture

I want to apologize for what I was thinking as I read your post...

markovchainey's picture

I haven't been here from anywhere near the beginng, and I don't know what ZH was like at the beginning.  With that being out there, I have to write that I love seeing articles like this on ZH.  The article itself is complete bullshit, the author can go buy himself a nice rifle, ammo, and a plane ticket to the Ukraine if he likes but otherwise he can fuck off.  What gives me joy is reading the comments because this is one of the few threads I've seen where the article will be treated with the complete contempt it deserves by the vast majority of posters. 

Captain Kink's picture

Kudos for thinking for yourself. I can scarce believe I just congratulated you for being sentient...sigh.

The site used to be a place where a bunch of capital markets geeks hung out to catch headlines and swap predictions and trades.  then it turned into the gold bug site and then the doomer site, and was great for the elections, but once we got to bitcoin, I have been forced to curtail my time here.... maybe we should start another based on the original premise? 

satoshi123's picture

Putin already retired once, but he came back, his popularity is still astronomical, and he's a 4th dan judo expert, and in excellent health. He could easily have another 20 years should he want.

He will outlive many of the ASS-HOLES running the PrisonIdustrialComplex aka zio-usa.

Oh regional Indian's picture

The rhetoric is ridiculous. This writer's tone is so "old warry" and "cold warry"....

Be interesting to contrast what people were saying when the wall fell and the ruski collective collapsed in 1991, with the bloviating now. That was th eoriginal coup. Years of softening with poor to pathetic leadership, then gorby delivering the scythe's sweeping blow.

Weird tone all around anyways. Hysterical.


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Charles Tannock must be angling for a job at the porta-pottie known as The Diplomat.

DeadFred's picture

I think so. Hope Lindsey is under ground zero when the first nuke goes off. It would almost be worth it to shut his yap.

ArrestBobRubin's picture

Disgusting Mossad monkey, up there with Insane
McCain and loathsome Lieberman

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Lindsey Graham and his ilk have far bigger worries than the things which confront them in this world.

29.5 hours's picture




"seizure of Crimea is the most naked example of peacetime aggression that Europe has witnessed since Nazi Germany invaded the Sudetenland"

Where did Tyler find this guy?  This is just hysterical war-mongering.



TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Where did Tyler find this guy?  This is just hysterical war-mongering.

Coming this weekend on ZH: net.kook Spirit of Truth is unbanned and given weekly guest posts.

PhilofOz's picture

Just another psychopathic chicken hawk spewing his tough guy venom, but it won't be him or any of his kids that will be there fighting if it ever came to that... he'd be hiding in his bunker with the rest of the chicken hawks.  F*£k I hate arseholes like this guy!

MontgomeryScott's picture

Ask 'Captain Kink'.

He appears to be 'in the know' on this subject.

vmromk's picture

The author of this article is nothing short of a moronic asshole.

angel_of_joy's picture

From Wikipedia:

A non-profit organization, Project Syndicate relies primarily on contributions from newspapers in developed countries, which make up roughly 60% of its membership base, to enable it to offer its services at reduced rates, or for free, to newspapers in countries where journalistic resources may not be readily available. Project Syndicate has also received grants from the Open Society Foundation, The Politiken Foundation in Denmark, Die Zeit Ebelin, and Gerd Bucerius Foundation.

And who's the big daddy of the Open Society Foundation ? Case closed...

Marlon Brando's picture

Excerpted from Wikipedia- ''The network of Open Society Foundations (OSF), formerly the Open Society Institute (OSI) until 2011, is a grantmaking operation founded byGeorge Soros, aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governancehuman rights, and economiclegal, and social reform. On a local level, OSF implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of laweducationpublic health, and independent media. At the same time, OSF works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses.''

Should read- The Open Society Foundation is a slush fund to disperse propaganda, foment disturbances resulting in the overthrow of Democraticaly elected governments, undermine the rule of law, insert propaganda into students curriculim, soft kill populations via the public health system, and subvert independent media. While working for a one world order.

Fuck you Soros you fucking cunt!!!!   

Chaos_Theory's picture

I love to dump on American hypocrisy as much as the next guy, but did those confict you list become annexed territories of a Greater United States?  If not, kind of a fail for an analogy.  Those examples work wonderfully to refute John Kerry's Sunday talkshow laments though. 

Oh, and the writer is full of shiite.  Sudetenland was handed to Chancellor Hitler at the Munich Conference; he invaded the remaining rump of Czechoslovakia afterwards.  Putin may be a MacKinder Heartland afficionado, but he isn't a Hitler. 

DeadFred's picture

I was out shopping, did I miss the annexation announcement? Dang! Why anyone would annex when the traditional 'puppet state' option is on the table is beyond me. The favored choice of the American empire.

Chaos_Theory's picture

The American Empire form is "free trade" agreements based on the dollar the barrel of an Aircraft Carrier Battlegroup. 

Captain Kink's picture

yes, it is.  And what of it?  You'd rather play nice in the sandbox, cuz everyone else is promising to?  It's Obama Kumbaya dreams...".just wait til after the election and I'll have a lot more flexibillity... are you sure you don't wan a blowjob?" 

Think natural selection of ideology.  Economic Lobbying.  If they don' play tht way, we'll send in the drones...  I'd much prefer the former.