Meet the Press   |  April 20, 2014

Roundtable: Putin Against the West

The Meet the Press roundtable breaks down the latest developments on the crisis in Ukraine and what might be Vladimir Putin’s next move.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> you get the sense he's stepping back from the conversation. it's not what's happening day to day in ukraine they're reacting to. and i think they've decided and i think it's the right decision, it's not that putin is trying to restart the cold war . he's more like an imperlallist and expansion ix who will expand for reasons of his own theology, ideology, internal structural reasons. he needs to be on the offense all the time. how do you deal with somebody who is going to be perpetually expansi expansionist? i think the answer is obvious, you get a balance of power , fill in vacuums around him. that's why we're hearing the discussion about modernizing the ukrainian military , filling them with economic aid . just to try to create buffer zen zones.

>> you see david ignatius write in "the washington post " the idea that the president is trying to find room to diffuse this crisis, give putin some room to save face. that the president doesn't feel like he can prevail on a mano y mano showdown.

>> the president is very aware of his own base and how much the american people care day to day what's happening in ukraine , and the other thing is that putin , as we've seen, a working on his own time line , and the west hasn't been all that successful in deterring him from doing so. we know ukrainian elections are coming up on may 25th , and it's in putin 's interest to simply destabilize the region a bit before then. not necessarily to go in full force . so there is a little bit of window there.

>> david sha ribman, how do you see this from outside of our ecosystem in d.c.?

>> the question really is how much of lessons of history apply here and whether history's lessons might be some kind of a distraction. but we've seen this movie kind of in two incarnations. david mentioned the 19th century and also mentioned 1938 and 1939 . the difference between now and 1938 and 1939 is that the guarantors of poland's integrity were contiguous to the aggressor aggressor. france was contiguous to germany. we're 5,000, 6,000 miles away from ukraine . i worry about the increase of soviet iconography in modern russia and the threat that might not only be to the former soviet republics but also how about a recreation of the warsaw pact . that's something that's something we should worry about down the line as well.