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Editorial: The Red Army crosses a red line 

By Randolph Lawrence Kohn of Paso Robles

Randy KohnApparently Russian President Vladimir Putin had a red line regarding Ukraine moving towards the European Union and NATO after Yanukovych’s abdication.

Does anyone think Putin is done after Crimea?

He already has Belarus in his pocket and part of Moldova and two parts of Georgia, not to mention de facto control over several of the countries ending in “stan” plus an ally in Serbia. Next: All of Ukraine, then Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and maybe even Poland. The Romanians and the Bulgarians ought to be nervous too. While the West reacts tactically, Putin plans strategically, patiently, incrementally adding buffer states around the Russian periphery.

While we act on the basis of the next election, Putin acts for decades, even centuries, while keeping in mind hundreds of years of Russian history. After all, Catherine the Great annexed Crimea into Russia in 1783. Regarding more recent history, Putin is still seething about the disintegration of the Soviet Union, while we have forgotten all about it.

Alternative scenario: After Syria, Putin was just trying to help President Obama understand what a red line means. Right.

Was it a coincidence that Putin pulled this stunt and Obama announced the significant downsizing of the U.S. military? The two are obviously not connected, but has anyone in Washington noticed that Putin has been slowly, steadily rebuilding and modernizing the Russian military since he first came to power?

Sadly, President Obama is a two term version of President Carter regarding foreign affairs. The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan? OK, let’s teach those Commies a lesson and pull out of the Olympics. Russia invades Crimea? OK, let’s retaliate hard by issuing no visas for a handful of Russians and their Ukrainian cronies and freeze whatever is left in their bank accounts.

How about building some forward NATO bases in the Baltic countries and Poland and permanently stationing U.S. and Western European forces there!

Please don’t worry about restarting the Cold War, Mr. Putin has reignited a hot one.

Author Randolph Lawrence Kohn earned a B.A. from the University of Missouri, J.D. from the University of Iowa, College of Law; and was a captain in United States Marine Corps. After more than 30 years in an investment career, Kohn retired from Western Asset Management Company after serving as Managing Director. He also served as Chairman of the Western Asset Funds, PLC, and President and CEO of the Western Asset Claymore Funds. He is admitted to practice law in Illinois. He and his wife, Eliana, reside in Paso Robles.