Pentagon cancels Rosoboronexport contract for M17s
More than anything - this contract represented a direct cash gift into the pockets of those in the Kremlin who hand out favors.
With the successful implementation of SWIFT bank regulations in Switzerland and the obvious inference that all communications are selectively tapped, Russian officials have been scurrying around trying to fight their internal fires while at the same time seeking to maintain some sense of consistency abroad.
As the Kremlin has regularly used its UN veto power as a foreign policy tool in so many instances, the US realized that fighting them there was a losing cause.
And thus the Obama administration with Hagel and Kerry and Biden all steering has effectively pinned Putin into a cash-strapped corner. They shut down as much illegal money as they could by shining anti-terror laws into the corners of the banking industry, and then railroading the trapped parties into well-lighted dead ends.
Right now Putin’s greatest single project, the Sochi Olympics, is also his weakest and most vulnerable exposure. And so many world powers know this and are lining up to take turns at him.
With a bit of foresight the US has pushed and pushed and pushed until the last source of untraceable, non-government cash was the unquestioning delivery of $345 million.
Then, when Putin most needed it and had extended credit to his partners, the US abruptly pulled up its rug and closed the door, leaving the Russian leader to come up with his own cash for immediate needs and then deal with so many sequential levels of chaos from within.
For instance, his quick trip to South Korea - he withdrew cash and brought it home on the presidential plane with him, an unprecedented dip into common criminality that will send signals all up and down the lines of power.
Genius, really. Such effective counter-insurgency tactics by a Harvard lawyer.