Ex-Ambassador Edelman: Putin Somewhat Sobered by Sanctions

Monday, 12 May 2014 06:49 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been "somewhat sobered" by the first round of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, but not enough, says former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman.

"I believe the sanctions have tended to come late and tended to be a series of half steps but they have shown that the Russian economy is vulnerable to outside pressure and that's got to give Putin some pause," Edelman told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"If he could get what he would like best, it would be to be able to make it clear to the government in Kiev that they have to deal with him, that they have to essentially knuckle under to his demands, and he can do that without necessarily actually annexing these parts of Ukraine that have had these fraudulent votes," the former ambassador said.

However, Edelman explained that Putin would still like "to get out from under the sanctions, while still getting the government from Ukraine essentially to do his bidding."

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The former under secretary of defense argued that there are things President Barack Obama and his administration have done that have "been a predicate for this" behavior from Putin.

"The president's reset policy with Russia, which has been essentially a series of unrequited concessions to Russia in arms control and other areas, the comments he made to then-President Medvedev after his election campaign in November of 2012 [that] he'd have more flexibility to accommodate presumably President Putin's needs, all of those things you know created an environment in which it was possible for Putin to conclude he could take these steps without running the risk of serious repercussions from the United States," Edelman said.

He also finds it concerning that when it comes to foreign policy "the administration has centralized decision making authority and power in the White House," adding that it is reminiscent of the Nixon administration.

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