Trouble in the East

Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania plan to form a common brigade:

Ben Judah, author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin observes:

“This emerging military alliance between Ukraine and Poland/Lithuania is a sign that the US/EU ability to control it allies decreasing fast.”

Lack of leadership from their Western allies is forcing Eastern NATO states to form their own alliances, which could drag NATO into a conflict with Russia. Garry Kasparov in an interview with Maria Bartiromo sums up the situation:

“If you try to lead from behind no one will follow you….Obama shows unwillingness to engage the challenges that are there.”

Garry Kasparov on Putin

Click on image to play video

Obama is no Ronald Reagan and his reluctance to confront Putin is encouraging further risk-taking. As Petro Poroshenko told the House:

We appreciate the blankets and night-vision goggles that you sent us….but we cannot fight a war with blankets.”

The ceasefire in the East is tenuous and likely to collapse at any time.

If the ceasefire does collapse, Putin will continue to escalate, destroying Obama’s and NATO credibility with their allies in the East. Sanctions have not worked as a deterrent. Brent crude is falling

Nymex and Brent Crude

But the impact on Russia is cushioned by the falling Rouble.

RUBUSD

In the long-term this will cause inflation. But the immediate deterrent effect is negligible.