In response to an FT article by Dmitri Trenin on 15th April 2014, entitled 'Both empires will lose from this treacherous tussle'
Thank you for your analysis Mr Trenin, a welcome change from the 'good guy, bad guy' nonsense the FT has been churning out recently. The situation is far more complex than is being reported in the press, which any journalist worth his salt should know.
As well as the factors you describe above, there is an economic struggle going on here that few people are talking about publicly, the politicians for obvious reasons, the press less so. The petrodollar is past it's sell by date as the global reserve currency.
Washington knows this but hasn't got a clue how to control the situation. It cannot continue to export its inflation and run up debts that will never be paid back in real terms, simultaneously lecturing the rest of the world on how to behave. Moscow knows this, and is taking full advantage of US weakness to re-establish itself as a global economic power. Mr Putin doesn't need to buy or sell in dollars anymore and he knows that. Deals are already underway with China and others.
So without in any way minimising the 'local' tensions, or the lives that have already been lost and may be lost over the next few weeks unless Mr Obama and Mr Putin pull back from conflict - this is about far more than who runs Ukraine or controls the region, it's about the end of US global hegemony; and what comes next.
The US cannot win a land war, no-one can win a nuclear war, and economic sanctions will not work because the consequences are potentially even more damaging to the US than to Russia. The other possibility is cyber war, and Washington is not the only place with hackers capable of bringing down a major stock exchange - Moscow has it's own geek squad. If the NYSE were to go down, an avalanche of $100 trillion of derivatives could come down with it. I don't really think that Mr Putin or Mr Obama want the carnage that this would cause, but I'm guessing most of the leaders in 1914 didn't want the First World War either.
I'm pretty sure that Russia has it's own gang of politicians and journalists running around frothing at the mouth and being brave with other people's lives. I hope that they are being challenged by their Russian readers. Whether they are or not, personally I'm fed up hearing our own blowhards trying to reduce this situation to Superman vs Lex Luther.