March 14, 2014 12:07
By David Ignatius The Daily Star, Lebanon
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will make one more try, seeing his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in London Friday; Kerry hasn’t ruled out traveling on to see Putin himself.
What happens next, if Putin doesn’t take Kerry’s “offramp?”
The alternative view of a weak Putin begins with the fundamentals: Russia is in political, economic and social decline. Putin’s abrasive tactics, far from intimidating Ukraine, led its people to depose Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych last month and form a new government. By his truculent behavior, Putin has driven Russia’s neighbors closer to NATO.
Putin has a personal stake in both, and they are symbols of Russia’s influence. If Putin were to scuttle such diplomacy, it would deepen Russia’s isolation.
Putin must also be careful about the domestic consequences of his Crimea putsch.
Read more: http://dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2014/Mar-14/250180-in-the-long-run-vladimir-putin-is-likely-to-lose-in-crimea.ashx#ixzz2vvPyCyTf
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)