Putin Looks East, While The West Looks Confused
In an article on Project Syndicate, Giles Merritt disagrees with those who view Russia’s annexation of Crimea as the restart of the Cold War or the start of another war. But he does join others in stating that the “geopolitical ripple effect” will be substantial.
“The wider consequences will be a shake-up of international politics and of governments’ attempts to address common problems, ranging from global governance to climate change. The result may even be positive, with events in Ukraine unexpectedly opening the way to a significant realignment of fast-emerging countries whose twenty-first-century roles will be decisive,” he writes.
Characterizing Putin’s distancing of Russia from the international community as “self-defeating,” he adds that a “generation after the collapse of communism, Russia’s economy and its people’s living standards have started to recover. But its fast-shrinking population, and its reliance on energy and commodity exports, makes that recovery very fragile. The Kremlin will soon discover that it is far more vulnerable to outside developments than it has so far acknowledged.”
Moving further east would not be as difficult for Putin to execute as some contend.
“When it comes to the geo-political power-play for Ukraine, the ace up Putin’s sleeve is the east, not Crimea. It would be easy for him to light the fuse there, even without a military operation. His intelligence service agents could simply continue to prod protesters there. In order to eliminate any doubts that Kiev, Brussels and Washington might have had about Moscow’s determination, Putin conducted a major maneuver at the end of February that involved 150,000 soldiers, 880 tanks and 90 fighter jets,” write Uwe Klussmann and Matthias Schepp of Der Spiegel.
The Washington Post editorial board weighs in with a critical piece asserting that President Obama fails to fully grasp Putin’s regional desires.
“The Obama administration and its European allies have been too slow to grasp that Mr. Putin is bent on upending the post-Cold War order in Europe and reversing Russia’s loss of dominion over Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Worse, some in and outside of Western governments may be feeding Mr. Putin’s imperialism by rushing to concede “Russian interests” in Eurasia,” the editorial board says.
Use Drones To Save Lives In Africa
Adam Clark Estes argues that rather than using drones for warfare or to deliver shopping orders through Amazon, they can be employed to save lives in Africa.
“Think less beer delivery drone and more medicine delivery drone. Food is an also option, of course, but the payload is pretty limited. You’d probably need a small fleet to feed a village for any extended amount of time.
“Africa does certainly has an infrastructure problem, a problem that’s made worse by the fact that Africa’s population is growing faster than the infrastructure needed to support it. This is only going to get worse in coming years, which is precisely why the Flying Donkey Challenge was conceived. And, if it all pans out, the participants stand to build some technology that could make life better for some people in Africa,” he posits.