We could be a bit more sanguine if Putin didn’t outmatch everyone on our side by at least 50 IQ points. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
Vladimir Putin is renowned as a strategic chess player. Looks like the world is going to see what his skills are for playing poker.
Russia has said it is not bluffing about its categorical security demands ahead of top-level negotiations with American counterparts in Geneva. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov vowed this week that Russia will take a hard line, indicating that the time for vague compromises is over.
History has amply demonstrated that words and promises are expendable when it comes to U.S. and NATO leaders giving assurances to Russia of non-aggression. Three decades of NATO militarism encroaching on Russia’s borders is proof enough.
Henceforth, there will have to be legally binding rules to manage security. That still does not guarantee adherence. Several arms control treaties have been jettisoned by U.S. administrations since the Cold War. Nevertheless, a legal framework is a basic premise. However, after that, there must be a credible alternative warning mechanism to enforce rules.
The demands put forward by Moscow stipulate that the U.S.-led NATO military alliance ceases any eastward expansion, including giving membership to former Soviet Republics such as Ukraine and Georgia. Secondly, the U.S. must withdraw strike weapons that have been placed in eastern Europe such as those in Poland and Romania or any others planned for installment in the Baltic states.
That the United States has responded by holding negotiations in Geneva on January 10 as well as NATO talks with Russian officials on January 12 shows that Washington and its allies have registered the gravity of Moscow’s concerns. Those concerns have been simmering for years over NATO’s relentless expansion since the end of the Cold War. But the recent tensions over Ukraine in which Russia has been baselessly accused of planning to invade have made Moscow’s patience boil over.