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February 27, 2014

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PUTIN's CHESS GAME:
As predicted Putin has annexed Crimea and it is getting sticky. The problem will be tough. First of all Crimea probably belongs as a part of Russia based on Ethnic back ground. Crimea’s population will not easily return to the Ukraine. On the opposite side the US and EU see Crimea as a strategic asset to keep out of Russian hands. But, under the old Cold War rules the first to grab land and gain possession even if it is temporary (Afghanistan and Vietnam) has the advantage short term. The theory of structured deterrence of nuclear powers we wrote in the early 70’s clearly pointed out the dangers of making a military move in response. Kennedy’s move to blockade Cuba brought us dangerously close to an exchange but luckily Nikita backed down. Having successfully pulled off a similar move in Georgia and having gotten the US to back down in both the EU missile defense program and Syria chemical weapons moves, Putin is emboldened now. After the Olympics and his successful deterrence of a terrorist attack, his anti gay crusade, his moves to quell the Russian protestors all went unchallenged, it is likely that his confidence is high. The US and EU have two choices in my mind: accept Russian occupation and future annexation of Crimea or rally the EU to take some rather strong economic actions against him. The President can renew the missile defense talks with EU, he can replace Russian energy sales to Europe with the rising US assets (immediately allow the US to export more natural gas to EU), he can restrain US and EU investments in the Russian infrastructure, he can authorize the FBI to launch a campaign against the Russian Mafia in the US which likely feeds the KGB in Russia and he can bolster the NATO forces in Turkey. Putin will likely reduce his visibility toward annexation if the world financial community begins to move toward sanctions. Russia has moved too far into the free enterprise world to go back and their economy depends highly on being able to sell the west natural gas and oil. The other move which could be tricky is to begin to paint Putin as another of the world’s bad guys and question his legitimacy as an elected leader. He fancy’s himself as a world leader and this can be a black eye for him if he begins to look like he is taking Russia back to the Cold War. It could shake things up inside Russia and get his attention if he has to deal with protests in the streets. I think the only way he will advance further into Ukraine is if the Ukrainians attempt to take back Crimea militarily or if they threaten his pipeline to the EU.

PUTIN in the SPOT LIGHT--so here we are 1 1/2 hours on TV. Putin says there is not reason to invade the Ukraine. WHAT? He must be learning the smoke and mirrors dialogue of the US administration. The invasion is over. Crimea is already under Russian occupation. Now he demands that Ukrainian forces respect the local Crimean government. Another puppet PUTIN regime. So, if the US,EU,NATO

Now what could the US actually do that matters? $20B to Ukraine to wipe out their current debt. Take out the Natural gas and oil purchases of EU from Russia with US exports. reopen the talks with Eastern Europe on the missile defense system. Remember in the Presidential campaign when an open mike caught Obama telling the Russians he could be more flexible after he won? We could get tough but why would we when all this friendly peace approach is working so well?

Well,if we are about to pull up the drawbridges, we must be energy independent. Ooops. Not so? Fracking is under attack, cannot drill off the coast, or even make a simple decision to transport oil through a pipeline after 6 years of studies reveal no significant environmental impact. Maybe Congress and the Commander in Chief need to reconsider the implications of reducing our military footprint if we refuse to become self sufficient? Solar and Wind Power are not ready to assume Prime roles in filling our Energy Demands.

But, according to Harry Reid I am a despicable liar, so observations such as the above should not see the light of day. My Doc fired me after I would not ante up $1,500/year to continue with his new concierge practice, implemented because he refused to participate in the anticipated cost squeeze of Obamacare. Yeah--I guess I can technically keep my Doc, if I am willing to spend an additional $1,500/year to do so.

According to our Senate Majority Leader, I am lying when I relate this personal experience. Senator Reid must be the most insightful person alive to declare any criticism of Obamacare to be a lie, before he has even heard the criticism or investigated the truth thereof. Incidentally, If everything is so perfect, as the Senator declares, why does Obama keep delaying implementation of the perfect creation? It would seem that Reid (and Democrats in general) would want Obamacare to be on the express track so that "doubters" would experience its full wonder and propel the Democrats into total domination of the House, Senate, and state governments. Why would the Democrats want to delay its implementation, giving the Koch Brothers (and myself?) time to fabricate all these despicable lies?

If Hillary is sick (as some Democratic insiders suggest), maybe the Party can reshuffle its lineup to join Reid and Biden as its next Pres/VP Candidates (in either order)?

MORE EASING? Right in time: US GDP for the 4th quarter last year now revised down to 2.4%. Now what is the next trick to get us to believe it is all going swimmingly in our 6th year of easing? One should listen to the guys who create jobs and fill them--forget the government data. It seems to be largely political.

RUSSIAN PUPPET? Yesterday I heard a White House allied analyst tell us that the ousted Ukrainian leader was not really one of Putin's puppets. So, where did he show up today on TV? Russia,of course. Dictators around the world remind us all the time that people of power do not give in to normal pressures. In Iraq and Libya we watched Dictators go to there graves rather than give in. In Egypt one supported by the US went to jail. Now we have the one in Ukraine and the one in Syria being protected by Putin. Putin is a modern day smoke and mirrors KGB, Russian dictator who is slowly using the pullback of the US in world events to rebuild Russian power. Long gone are the influences of those who brought down the East-West walls. The bad guys of the world exploit weakness. And, the US now panders to bad guys. We have a Secretary of State most famous for being anti war. A Secretary of Defense who seems determined to reduce the military capabilities to respond globally. And, an administration who no longer deploys drone attacks, no longer supports efforts in Iraq against Al Qaeda, makes threats and then steps aside to allow Putin to protect his puppets. Do not be surprised if the Russian presence in Ukraine does not facilitate an independent Crimean state tied to Russia in the Black Sea.

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