The US Should Stop Meddling in Russia-Ukraine Politics by EconMatters
West Point Speech & Foreign Policy Philosophy
It is ironic that President Obama in his West Point speech posited that the US couldn`t be the world`s police, and intervene in every single dispute all over the globe; and yet his foreign policy approach has ended up getting involved in every single dispute all over the world.
The worst possible approach is to give Putin more credibility at home by leveling sanctions and upping the stakes politically for Putin for staking American interests with Ukraine`s independence from Russian influence.
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If an Enemy is Self-Destructive, Don`t get in their Way!
If Russia is stupid enough to get heavily involved in trying to dictate Ukraine’s future, then let him get all bogged down with this scenario as eventually market forces will determine the course for Ukraine. Just like the US in Vietnam, Russia in Afghanistan, or the breakup of the former U.S.S.R. eventually market forces will win the day if left alone, and even if not left alone, getting in the way just prolongs the inevitable because of ‘sunk-cost’ issues that slow down market forces that would otherwise prevail.
But by the US giving all this attention to the issue, and showing that this means so much for our interests this just reinforces Putin`s thinking that Ukraine is one heck of a key strategic piece that he must put more resources and energy towards trying to secure or align with Russia`s future status on the world stage.
Cost/Benefit for Putin has Changed because of US Involvement
If left alone to his own devices, he will find the headache is not worth all the time and energy, not to mention scarce Russian resources, when the US just says fine you can have Ukraine if you want, we don`t care, knock yourself out Putin, get bogged down in a civil war with Ukraine, good luck with that!
It is reverse psychology at its finest, the more premium you place a ‘value of importance’ on an issue, in this case Ukraine being aligned with Europe and the US, the more Putin wants to ensure that this doesn`t happen, and his cost/benefit analysis has entirely different dimensions and inputs.
It has gotten to the point that Putin now calculates many scenarios where it is worth his time to be bogged down in the Ukraine conflict which just a year ago wouldn`t have been near as attractive for him. He remembers the breakup of the Soviet Union, he remembers Afghanistan, and he understands these types of ‘fighting against market forces campaigns’ that just eat up valuable resources year after year where no real political progress is ever made. He wasn`t waking up early each morning thinking to himself, ‘Gee I cannot wait to get bogged down in a civil war with Ukraine’!
Ego shouldn`t dictate Best Foreign Policy Approach or Re-Approach!
The President will never do it because it might make his ego look bad regarding his prior strategy, but Russia isn`t the same as the Iran situation, Ukraine is right in their proverbial backyard and sanctions are a waste of time here. It actually would be brilliant by Obama if he just changed course and said fine, after careful consideration if Russia is that interested in getting bogged down in Ukrainian politics, while the rest of the world is interested in growing their economies, then go for it as the US will no longer be invested in whatever market forces prevail in the region.
In other words, the US devalues the strategic importance of Ukraine overnight, and eventually Russia discovers that trying to fight against Ukrainian independence isn`t all it’s cracked up to be! It’s not like Ukrainian independence has ever been that strategically important currently versus the last 50 years of history, it really isn`t that strategically valuable to the United States compared to all the bluster, hype, sanctions, and drama that this administration has projected onto this issue!
President Obama only has himself to blame on this one, and hopefully he doesn`t double down from an ego perspective and make the situation worse, drama often creates drama where it wouldn`t otherwise be – remember the Middle East Spring and all that created drama, left alone things went back to normal as market forces dictated that pretty much business went back to usual in the region, and nothing really changed once people got bored with protesting and rioting as a profession.
Reverse Psychology & Market Forces
Just leave market forces to decide the fate of Ukraine President Obama you might just be surprised how the outcome that the US wants in the region comes to fruition much sooner by being left to its own devices – that’s the beauty of market forces.
The Vietnam outcome was always going to be the same because the true market forces were always going to prevail, the US and Russia just delayed the inevitable outcome in the region. If President Obama wants to deescalate the Ukrainian-Russia conflict he should just back off and completely reverse course on the sanctions, it is reverse psychology at play, the analogy is one of a girlfriend who dumps the guy, and the guy goes overboard trying to get her back, this only reinforces in her mind that he is a ‘loser’, and she must be so much more ‘valuable’ on the open market if he is so distraught over the breakup!
President Obama through his actions has created a market where it previously didn`t exist from a value standpoint in the Ukraine, and now he and the United States are the ones bogged down in the conflict, and not Russia. Russia in effect through Obama`s actions have realized ‘found value’ right in their backyard – shoot Ukraine used to just be a headache for Russia, now it is a headache with global strategic value thanks to the United States.