3 Things That Don't Make Sense in Putin's World
Photo: EPA/SERGEY GUNEEV/ POOL/Newscom
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation, March 28, 2014
Russia’s Vladimir Putin took part of a country. So what kind of world does that mean we’re living in?
It’s a world where we can’t act like we did yesterday. Here are three things that simply don’t make sense for America to keep doing.
1. Leaving Europe high and dry
The Obama administration canceled a missile defense site in Europe several years ago and has recently canceled military training with European allies as well. These are bad moves. It’s no wonder that, as Heritage experts note, “There is a general view among officials in the regionthat the U.S. is relegating its relations with Europe to a lower priority.”
This is the time to be assuring NATO allies that America stands with them in the face of aggressors like Putin. This solidarity includes deploying U.S. assets to the region—assets that might be required to defend the territorial integrity of NATO countries close to Russia.
2. Letting Russia dominate the regional energy supply
Heritage energy and security experts point out that “Much of Russia’s power in the region is the result of its control of energy supplies and distribution systems.” So if Russia decides you’re not a friend anymore, this is a problem.
Guess who could export more energy to nations like Ukraine? America could. If Washington would lift the barriers, our country could export crude oil and natural gas, which would help relieve the pressure on Russia’s neighbors. Getting more energy to the global market—from diverse sources—“would diminish the ability of any nation, including Russia, to use energy as a weapon to impose its will in the future,” Heritage experts suggest.
3. Reducing American defense capabilities
Under President Obama, America’s military has been on the decline. It’s long past time to reverse this dangerous trend.
And it’s time to stop reducing America’s nuclear capabilities—and modernize our weapons systems instead. As Heritage expert Michaela Dodge says, “The U.S. is projecting weakness by reducing its own arsenal while Russia builds up its forces.” It’s absurd that “the U.S. remains the only nuclear weapons state that is not modernizing its nuclear forces,” as Dodge points out, and it certainly doesn’t make sense in the current environment.
In a forthcoming paper, Heritage experts spell it out:
In invading Crimea, the Russian regime can no longer be considered a responsible nation or a suitable partner for the United States in solving regional and strategic security issues. The U.S. should adopt a new, long-term strategy that addresses protecting its vital interests against the irresponsible and illegal actions of Moscow.
Whether or not Putin continues his quest for more land, Washington has to change its ways.
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