Weekly Standard's Kristol: Putin Should 'Pay' for Crimea Invasion

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 11:45 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to "pay a price" at home through the imposition of economic sanctions for invading the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said Tuesday.

"There is a lot one can do with economic sanctions and other things. And
Putin needs to pay a price for this, and he needs to pay a price for it at home," Kristol told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"The Russian people, and especially Russian elites close to him, need to feel, 'Yikes he has endangered our bank accounts abroad, our ability to travel abroad, our hopes to get even richer' off Putin's kind of crony version of corporatism," he added.

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The opinion was echoed by Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett on the "Morning Joe" panel, "If the West could actually get its act together and coordinate, [it] could be used very effectively indeed."

The impact of sanctions may not hold that great a sway, Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, told the "Morning Joe" panel. He said Putin had "outfoxed everyone," and maintained the move into Ukraine would not be "easily reversible." He also warned the Russian president could become emboldened by his success in Ukraine.

"There is nothing in the response of the United States, or Europe, or anyone else [that] has suggested to him that anyone would stop him actually from rolling forward. And he just has to calculate.

"He might say, 'All right, I'm going to get criticized. I'm going to get excoriated for a while. But nobody is really going to stop me if I move forward in Ukraine or elsewhere,'" Goldberg said.

It was a mistake not to use the threat of military action against Russia, Kristol argued. He said Americans were "too quick to proclaim our own helplessness."

"One thing that would help would be if Americans, in government especially, didn't say, the first thing they say, 'Well, God forbid, we can't do anything militarily. The troops, that would be just out of the question,'" Kristol said.

The Russian invasion into Crimea, Tett emphasized, had set off alarms for Europeans as they realized their dependence on Russia for energy. She said it served as a reminder, "They need to get a lot less dependent on Russia."

The invasion was also important, Kristol maintained, given the fact the Ukraine voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons in an agreement with Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States in 1994 called the Budapest Memorandum. He said a part of the agreement was that "Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty would be respected by Russia."

"If it now turns out that a nuclear-armed neighbor can just invade a country with whom they made this deal, with impunity, what signal does it send everywhere around the world?" Kristol asked. "The signal it sends is, not only don't give up your nuclear weapons, build nuclear weapons. That will guarantee your safety. Everything else is just talk."

Goldberg agreed, and said Middle East countries could decide to take up nuclear arms in the face of the events in the Ukraine.

"If you are sitting in Saudi Arabia right now or the United Arab Emirates, you would see Russia marching into Crimea, and saying, 'Well, I think we might need the ultimate deterrent as well,'" Goldberg said.


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