When Obama whispered to the Russian president to wait until Obama was reelected, this is what he meant. Putin is intent on reconstituting the old Russian regime with all the little nations around it working to make Russia a world power once again. Most of that effort surrounds the petro dollar Russia needs to survive. Most of the money given to Russia for that oil and gas comes from Western Europe. Sixty percent of the oil and gas running from Russia to Western Europe runs through the Ukraine. The Ukraine also possesses one of the few warm water ports Russia has access to. Soooo…. what would you do if someone inside the Ukraine tried to take all of that away from you?
That’s right. You’d smack them down and secure your rights. You can’t play around and you can’t risk losing BILLIONS of dollars to some people you disagree with politically. And you make sure everybody knows why and who and gin up the supporters.
Members of an American documentary film crew, visiting the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol last week and stumbling upon a pro-Russian rally downtown, narrowly escaped with their lives as the crowd cursed and chased the Americans and violently attacked their minivan. The vehicle barely got away.
Such views are surely not held uniformly across Ukraine, but among ethnic Russians, and in the heart of the former Soviet Union, a palpable anti-American sentiment is discernible — and it is, to some extent, the product of determined efforts by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin apparatus he controls.
“Friends of mine who have been in Moscow for the past, say, two years tell me you cannot understand the amount of propaganda, anti-U.S. propaganda, that is being fed to the Russian people on Russian television — nothing like it, unprecedented,” said Daniel Henninger, deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, in an appearance on Fox News’ “Happening Now.” “They didn’t even do this sort of thing back during the Cold War.”
There is some evidence the campaign is working. The Levada Center, an independent pollster in Russia, surveyed a sample of more than 1,600 people there earlier this month and found 56 percent of Russians viewing the United States negatively. That figure is the highest it has been since the polling started, and up a full 12 percentage points since January. In 1990, by contrast, only 7 percent of Russians viewed America in negative terms.
“Every dictator needs an enemy in order to mobilize his population,” said Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare,” in an interview with Fox News. “And for Putin, the most convenient enemy is, of course, the United States and the West, more broadly. And what he basically does through his propaganda machine is to blame us for everything that Russians don’t like about their own country. He tries to tell his own people that the weakness and the impoverishment of Russia is due to a plot by the West against the Russian people.
And they will buy it. Why? Well, they are Russians, and they’ve allowed themselves to be willingly lied to for centuries. It is who they are.
So Putin wants his people to back his vision of a future superpower flaunting its power in the face of the U.S.
And he’ll get it. Why? Because the Russians have Putin- a man of focus and vision. Good or bad, he has that.
And we have Barack- the guy with the mom jeans and the bicycle safety helmet who hates the U.S. almost as much as the Russians do.