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Topic of the day: What to do with Putin?

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 8:39 p.m. MDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris in this Wednesday March 5, 2014 file photo. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops. At left is British Foreign Secretary William Hague. 
 (Kevin Lamarque, Associated Press) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris in this Wednesday March 5, 2014 file photo. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops. At left is British Foreign Secretary William Hague. (Kevin Lamarque, Associated Press)

The West is weighing its options on ways to handle Russian aggression and their illegal incursion into Ukraine.

Russia was warned Wednesday that when the European Union meets in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday that possible sanctions would be on the agenda, CNN reported.

If no more progress is made in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which now extended to China and the West, sanctions would be considered because in 1994, Russia signed an agreement “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine” when Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear weapons.

However, many are skeptical whether sanctions would ever work against Russia and if they would ever be implemented in the first place.

War with Putin would not be beneficial for any of the parties involved, but the United States needs to expose his real weaknesses, according to the New York Times’ Thomas L. Freedman.

This requires a long-term strategy that doesn’t involve thumping chests or exaggerated rhetoric, writes Freedman. “It requires going after the twin pillars of his regime: oil and gas. … You want to frighten Putin? Just announce those steps.”

Two things have to be kept in mind about the Ukrainian/Russia conflict, according to Slate’s Fred Kaplan.

“First, for any Russian leader in history, Ukraine is vital: as a leading market, supplier, and buffer to Western encroachment,” writes Kaplan. “Second, Putin really views the protests in Ukraine as the product of a Western plot to wrest the country away from Russia’s orbit.”

Kaplan goes on to say that the path to resolution is through the upcoming May elections in Ukraine and to ignore Putin, considering he doesn’t contribute “much in the world anyway.”

In addition, “Europe will balk at Russian sanctions,” according to CNN Money’s Mark Thompson.

The deep economic ties between Europe and Russia unfortunately leave few options for the U.S., writes Thompson.

Considering that Russia is the EU’s biggest supplier of energy, according to Thompson, maybe the U.S. should consider Freedman’s approach and go after Russia’s oil and gas monopoly.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: eraymond@deseretdigital.com @RaymondErik

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