The Winning Handski

NATO’s top US general sees a grim future between the West and Russia:

Gen. Philip Breedlove said Monday that Moscow’s actions are forcing the West to beef up its military capabilities, and Russia is discussing plans to put aircraft in Ukraine’s Crimea region that have a full range of capabilities, including possibly tactical nuclear weapons. He added, however, that so far he has seen no indications that Russia is deploying such weapons to Crimea.

“Hybrid war is what we are coming to call what Russia has done clearly in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine,” Breedlove told a small group of Pentagon reporters, saying that Moscow has brought military, political and economic pressure on Ukraine, eroding the border and shifting it toward a line of demarcation further west. “I’m concerned that the conditions are there that could create a frozen conflict,” one that creates a new reality.

If you wear a star on your shoulder, you’re as much a political creature as a military one. That’s a fact, not an insult. That said, it’s refreshing that someone in Breedlove’s position, which may be almost entirely political, feels the need and has the freedom to say what must be said.

President Obama can insist all he likes that Vladimir Putin is “on the wrong side of history” and using outmoded 19th Century power plays. But the fact is that Putin has combined special forces, political intrigue, spycraft, social media, propaganda, savvy leadership,and above all patience to leverage Russia’s few strengths against the West’s few weaknesses.

Meanwhile, Obama behaves as if it’s still the 1990s and he can get what he wants from his awed pupils with a condescending lecture.