Russian President Vladimir Putin is approaching his epic fail, says Kathleen McFarland, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and National Security Analyst. According to her, the economic problems will soon lead to a catastrophe in the Russian economy and the downfall of the current President of the Russian Federation. Today, however, the "wounded Russian bear" is very dangerous for the West and, in particular, for Europe, which is experiencing not its best times, Joinfo.ua reports referring to Fox News.
Recently, the Russian government adopted a plan to freeze spending, after the rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Russia's credit rating to its worst in more than a decade. But Putin continues to strengthen his aggressive actions in Ukraine.
"It makes perfect sense why. Because Putin needs an enemy right now. He needs his people to rally around him. He wants to stay in power, so he's got an enemy. Who is the enemy? The West, United States, Ukraine. He's got to have an enemy to focus the attention of the Russian people away from their economy," the analyst said.
She recalled that a year and a half ago, the Russian leader's popularity was below 50 percent. But then the Ukrainian crisis happened and Putin responded to it by whooping up ultranationalism in Russia.
"He said the West is out to get us, the West is trying to enslave the Russian people, the West is trying to question and do away with Russian sovereignty. Therefore, the Great Russian people, you have to rally around us and we have to sacrifice even more, we have to stand up to the evil West!" McFarland says.
And it worked. "His popularity went from less than 50 per cent to 80-90 per cent. The Russian people like what he's doing. And he's feeding them a steady diet on the state controlled Russian media," the analyst says.
However, according to her forecasts, Putin's popularity will soon come to an end.
"I think that, ultimately, he's going to run into a bit trouble, because the Russian economy is not going to get any better. The Russian economy needs high oil and natural gas prices, they're not going to get back to where they were. And as a result, Russia loses its main source of income. I mean, who buys Russian cars, right? Who buys Russian computers? The world buys Russian oil and Russian natural gas. And if those prices are low, Russia's income stream has run into major trouble. So the economy isn't going to improve," the expert said.
"To stay in power, I think, Putin has got to ramp up the anti-American retort. I think, he's got to ramp up any challenges to the West. At the end of the day, eighteen months from now, two years from now, the Russian economy is going to crumble and may be Putin's fate crumbles with it. But for now, I think he becomes a very dangerous wounded bear," McFarland said.
At the same time, Western countries will remain in positions of military interference. "I think Putin gets it, he understands that NATO or the West they don't want to have a conflict with him. They don't want to respond. So as long as he doesn't provoke them to the point of an armed attack against Ukraine, or Crimea or any of the countries on Russia's border land, the West doesn't really want to respond. So Putin came up with this thing called "phony war." And what he does is he sends Russian Special Forces into the border land countries, they hook up with ethnic Russian populations and they cause trouble. And these forces he sends are not regular Russian forces. They do not have Russian insignia. They are called "little green men" because they do not have uniforms. But they are causing political instability," she says.
McFarland says, it is what Putin will continue to do, and the West will not understand how to react, because it will not be an armed attack. "The West is going to have a very difficult time responding especially, as we've seen in the last month or two, the European economy and European politics are in trouble," McFarland sums up.
It should be recalled that the former British ambassador Andrew Wood also believes that President Putin works primarily on his rating.