Putin's appealing choice is to drop a nuclear bomb in a strategic Hicksville where NATO will take less note. Last week he said:"Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words." Fifteen days earlier, on Aug. 14, at a conference in Yalta, the Russian president had told the assembled factions of the State Duma that he soon planned to "surprise the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons about which we do not talk yet.
Foreignpolicy.com spells out the choice. Call it quits in Ukraine and look weak. Go for broke and be beat when the big powers pitch in. Or gain empire and win Russian popularity by throwing a bomb in some backwater where the powers dither about the provocation. How about a nice little plebiscite in a corner of Estonia to join Mother Russia? Do you think NATO or the US would step up to the plate if the battlefield was small enough and far enough away from Washington, London and Paris?
Estonia is no Hicksville but to snobs in the financial capitals, it doesn't rate.