Zakaria: Why Russia is spooked
April 1st, 2014
11:17 AM ET

Zakaria: Why Russia is spooked

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the latest developments in the Crimea crisis – and whether Russia is serious about pulling troops back from the border with Ukraine.

One of the things John Kerry is now focused again on, in Brussels he is talking with NATO allies about what to do about the Ukraine and about what's going on with Russia. I want to get your take on a few headlines that have come out. But what do you make of the fact Vladimir Putin reportedly called German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said that he was open to pulling back troops that are on the border? At this point, how do you trust him?

You can't. He's trying to make a deal that gets him, you know, the best case scenario. So, the best case for him is he keeps Crimea. Most important, he keeps Ukraine off guard and feeling like it can do things that would mesh with Russia. And he gets relaxation of sanctions.

So, for Putin that's the trifecta, if you will. He has Crimea. The problem is on the other two fronts, because the Ukrainians are now pretty determined to be more pro-Western, have association agreements with the European Union, maybe even have a closer relationship with NATO. This is spooking the Russians.

And the sanctions, at least the limited sanctions that are in place now, reportedly they are in place because of the annexation of Crimea. That is to say, unless Putin gives up Crimea, it's tough to see this set of sanctions being overturned. So, he's trying to play a game now, and says I've got what I want now I promise to be good. So, you guys relax.

There's no way they're going to say, act first and believe you second.

Right. And Angela Merkel is a tough lady. She's slow to act, but when she does, she stays pretty tough.

Look, the Russians are more spooked by all this. That statement you read tells you, because actually Ukraine is not on track to be a NATO member. But what they see is something you and I talked about before, which is Putin got Crimea but he's losing Ukraine. And he sees Ukraine slipping out of his grasp.

So now, they're warning the Ukrainians, don't get close to NATO, don't get close to the European Union. But we've had our reporters in Ukraine. The mood in Ukraine is very anti- Russian, very pro-European right now.So, the very actions that Putin did that looked like a masterstroke have caused it to be very difficult for him to retain influence in Ukraine. That statement is an expression of it.

Topics: Uncategorized

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Rick

    We can't trust Fareed Zakaria. He's a globalist and a member of the CFR.

    April 3, 2014 at 8:25 am | Reply
    • Really?

      I disagree. I think you need to stand above the crowd of roaring voices and try to listen for intelligent minds like Zakaria's in order to build an objective and honest picture of what is going on in the world we live in. The United States is not an island. Russia is not an island. Vladimir Putin will probably over reach and end up causing his own reign to collapse if he continues to make the same mistakes the Soviets made. He is betting on military might instead of economic health. The US has the only global military, but what good is a global military if you are an isolationist who refuses to go out into the world and learn about the world? The US should continue to look after its own interests, but remember that we live in the same house as the rest of the world's nations. Maybe we should start "mentoring" these nations, not just police them or oppose them. We need minds like Zakaria's to give us a less partisan view of what is going on in the world.

      April 3, 2014 at 10:13 am | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        What we truly need to do Really?, is to quit bullying other countries into bowing to our will, especially places where we have no business at all! This is why we've become the most hated nation in the world today!

        April 3, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • Hammer & The Anvil

        **** This is why we've become the most hated nation in the world today!

        --------------------------------
        There are 192 Nations in The UN.
        How many hate America ?
        North Korea
        Somalia
        Venezuela
        Cuba

        We may have problems with Russia or China but they are NOT enemies
        People who post drivel like this are morons.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • EC

      I may not always agree with Zakaria or anyone's specific points or opinions but to discredit someone's view simply on the fact that are a Globlist shows a lack of acceptance for the world we live in. There are no more countries in the world that are purely isolationist. We are a global community and history shows that the world will continue to move toward a tighter from of interdependent nations. Right now the countries around the world are pursuing alliances for resources, trade agreements, military cooperation for join protection and this trend will only continue.

      After traveling much of the world I see countries as states, states as counties and so on. We all share with each other, have to protect the environment, stop one state from going on a expansionist run and in general the group tries to maintain some sense of ability to be civilized eventhough certain states may not quite be there yet.

      How different is this global view than the one we have here in the US. The East and West Costs typically are the more prosperous in the terms of techonolgy and also the more progressive. The middle states are more conservative, resource and agriculture based. The veiws going both ways can be pretty demening at times or just out right ugly but we all see ourselves as part of greater whole.

      Please... anyone on here realize that we are part of the greater whole. As a nation we have a role to play, a very large one, but the world is ever changing. Our brand of greatness can and most likely sometime down the line be replaced with a new version. Let's just hope that the continued need for interdependence makes nations think twice about major acts of aggression that would put the world at war and lead to a higher value of tolerance between all nations and people.

      April 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Reply
    • Ol'ga

      I

      April 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  2. bob

    All we've been getting from news sources is that the eastern Ukrainians are all pro-Russian. We haven't heard much about the people in Ukraine who are pro-western or pro-Europe. We know that Putin is sending in his thugs to push the Russian propaganda but we hear very little from the other side.

    April 3, 2014 at 8:31 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      That is kind of curios bob since it's the Western Ukrainians who want to sell out to the West, not the Eastern ones. May I repeat the old Irish adage here, "If you shake hands with the Devil, you may not get it back"? This is what the Western Ukrainians are endeavoring to do.

      April 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Sorry bob for the misprint above. I meant to print "curious", not "curios".

        April 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • Hammer & The Anvil

        Western Ukrainians who want to sell out to the West.

        -----------------------
        Soveriegn nation wants closer ties to Europe
        and you call it "selling out" ?
        They have the right to chart their own future.
        Russia does NOT own Ukraine.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
  3. RUSSIA - not China

    RUSSIA should get priority, opportunity – not China.

    April 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  4. Ted Ward

    The Evil Empire is baaaack. Get used to it. Vlad is going to be around for a couple decades (unless somebody around him knocks him off) making mischief, misery, confusion and strife wherever he can. Always whining that it's somebody else's fault. His FSB completely controls the Russian people so now he's reaching out to mess with the rest of the world. The better to distract his miserable people from his own corruption and keep millions in arms and off the streets. He doesn't care about money, national respect, the welfare of the Russian people, the Russian economy or anything other than power, control and how to maintain it.

    April 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Spoken like a true uncouth, right-wing, uneducated, hillbilly Tea Partier from the South. Thank you, Ted.

      April 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Reply
    • Hammer & The Anvil

      Sounds like Republicans.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  5. josh12

    Most commenters demonstrate unremarkable ignorance coupled with aggressiveness, nothing new.

    Maybe it can help most to realize at last and take note for the future that there is no objective media left on this planet. I am not sure there was ever such a thing, but certainly now it is all semi-truths and mostly outright lies, lies, lies. Each side involved in the Ukraine crisis lies their guts out: the Ukrainians, the Russians, the West. And if one only listens to one side, it is super easy to become brainwashed. My advise is to allow yourself much room to be mistaken. And try to listen to different lies coming from all sides/. At present this is the only take on reality one can get from the media.

    Americans en masse (about 98% in my estimate) are the most ignorant bunch of all. Partly because nobody in the US speaks any other language but English. It is a great achievement of the US propaganda machine that there is no dissent left among the English speaking countries, all vassals to the US. And the way all English speaking media operates is, rather than informing people, give them a formula to chew at. That is, not to describe an event but present an interpretation what the event means. Works great! Again, it is possibly hard to swallow, but the spectrum of opinions among the common folk in the US is remarkably narrow. Nobody bothers to look outside of their comfort zone and to try to find alternative sources of information. And the greatest achievement of all is that most think they are free to express different views and opinions, yet everybody thinks exactly the same: America uber alles!

    April 4, 2014 at 12:10 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Beautifully posted, josh12. You said it all, especially about us Americans. Thank you.

      April 4, 2014 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • TW

      Way to generalize Americans Josh12. I speak fluent Chinese and I am American. According to the census bureau 1 and 5 Americans speak a foreign language on a regular basis in their own home. Apparently you need to branch out and meet more Americans. Maybe you are hanging out with the ignorant ones. You know like minded people tend to attract one another. Please stop making up facts, what straw poll did you conduct to get that 98% figure?

      I am about 98% sure that you have no clue what you are talking about. (this statistic is about as fair as yours)

      April 17, 2014 at 5:06 am | Reply
  6. kaiypov

    PAUSE THE war!
    My name is Emil Kaiypov. I am a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic, a lawyer, and a father of two children. The proposal for which I am asking your kind support is the suspension of all currently existing hostilities on Earth.
    The main goal of my entire project is to save and improve the lives of children who are suffering from the present conflicts and violence.
    The challenge is to create a moment of "pause" [a technical term from video language] in hostilities now and in the future, as well as to refusal to restart them at all. I believe that in this context, such "pause" in the war action seems do-able and practical, much more effective than the idealistic and utopian pressing of an imaginary "stop" button. In the future the first action will equate to the second: "pause" will become "stop". In order to alert the international community and potential supporters, I made a demonstration of my own at 18 October 2013 on the territory of Syrian embassy in Beirut, with poster "pause the war".

    The purpose of this demonstration, is to show through an example that:

    1) one person has the power to perform an action directed to the benefit of all mankind.

    2) no one should be indifferent, when war is concerned.

    3) war requires us to drop everything else, in order to stop it. Daily activities, against the background of war, look meaningless and empty.

    A world without war is undisputed goal, that sooner or later humanity will definitely reach. It is the primary duty of every adult to fulfill a "world in peace"– everyone’s childhood dream. Every child surrounded by the horrors of war dreams that one day somebody will come and say "It is enough!" and by saying it bring war to an end. Then war will stop. That day has come! It's time to combine our efforts in order to make that dream come true.

    April 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  7. EC

    What is truly fascinating is the while most America's do not travel the opinion is that America is worse than the rest of the world in freedoms, tolerance and so how inferior. After traveling over thirty countries I can tell you that we are the best place to live in the world. there is more opportunity, less oppression if you are gay, female, of the wrong ethic background and our corruption seems to be at least in balance where as in many other places it is run away bad.

    This thread is about Russia imposing its will on another nation but start that talk with what Russia has at home. The country suffers from incredible bias towards gays, treats its women horrible, has next to no middle class and huge divide between incomes, the government backed mob run most everything, there is little to no freedom of speech and the whole economy seems to be hinged on resource exportation.

    We have a lot of challenges at home but at least our president is freely elected without fear or reprisals, steps down at the end of two terms with no play for extending his power and over time this country is on a ever more tolerant path towards people of different creeds.

    Russia should be scared. If the Ukraine moves towards the west and find prosperity it would spell the end to Putin and his party. Let's hope this happens and the people of Russia can grow up with more than one voice to believe in and be able to freely, without need for aggression, express their opinions. However, sometimes it does take a revolution of the masses to win those rights from the few who are controlling through fear and coercion.

    I applaud the people who have stood up, fought, died, and now have the option to choose their path. Whatever they choose I hope it begins with adopting laws safeguarding freedoms for all ethnic and gender groups.

    The party in control of Russia should scared that their people see that there is a better way to live and more to believe in than falling in line behind a bully.

    Written by a social liberal, financial conservative, hetero, entrepreneur who grow up in a small country town.

    April 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  8. Willa45

    I know this may sound trivial, but a man's character often reveals itself in the most insignificant events. When Putin stole Robert Kraft's (Super Bowl NFL) ring in broad daylight, in front of the cameras and with a smirky smile on his face, I knew he couldn't be trusted! He claims he 'thought' it was a gift....if that's true and now he knows it wasn't, then why hasn't he returned it?

    April 21, 2014 at 9:53 am | Reply
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