Tags: Russia | Vladimir Putin | NATO | Ukraine

AEI's Perle: Putin Trying to Put 'Humpty Dumpty Back Together'

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 07:51 PM

Time is of the essence in taking action against Russia for its military push into Ukraine, because Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to create a new version of the Soviet Union, says Richard Perle, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

"The time to impress Mr. Putin is long past," Perle told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It should have begun years ago, but we didn't, and both the Bush administration, and more importantly the Obama administration, had been much too indulgent with respect to the Russians and their policies," he said Wednesday.

Perle, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board under President George W. Bush, said Putin regarded the collapse of the Soviet Union as "a great tragedy."

"He's been trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and re-create something that looks like the old Soviet empire. What will impress him most is if NATO and the European Union . . . pull themselves together and impose some significant sanctions," Perle said.

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"The Russian economy is a very weak economy. It's based almost entirely on oil exports. The financial sanctions that are feasible would have an immediate and serious impact on a feeble Russian economy, and that's what we ought to do."

Unfortunately, not all of the allies of the United States are prepared to do that, Perle says.

"In particular, the Germans are reluctant to take any significant action," he said.

"Ironically, the Germans helped land us in this situation when they refused to consider inviting Ukraine into NATO. If Ukraine were a NATO member, we wouldn't be in this situation we are in today."

Perle said the U.S. must be prepared to work with sanctions that do not involve military intervention, which "one always worries can spin out of control."

"Financial sanctions on Russia are the obvious thing to do," he said.

"So, I would hope that our less reluctant allies would put some pressure on our more reluctant allies and persuade the Germans in particular that it's time for them to play a role, commence with their power and authority."

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On news reports of a unification between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the terrorist group Hamas, Perle said both have a great deal more in common than either will acknowledge.

"They play us very well in this regard. You have the good guy and the bad guy. The idea that they are fundamentally opposed on the issues that matter to us is only conjecture and probably wrong or largely wrong," Perle said.

"The heart of this issue, and it's important to keep coming back to it, is, are the Palestinians as they are now, led by Hamas, by the PLO, by some combination, ready to accept the existence of the Jewish state?

"The answer -- unfortunately, I believe -- is no, they are not. You can't get a peace agreement under those circumstances."

Perle said Secretary of State John Kerry is desperate to hammer out a deal in the Middle East "because like all of his predecessors, that is the golden ring of diplomacy."

"It's easily tempting to secretaries of state and presidents to try to accomplish this Nobel Prize-winning achievement, and it leads some of them to plunge into a diplomatic morass when the most likely outcome is that it will make matters worse and not better."

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