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BROOKS: Yes, I thought the warning was strong. I thought the reference to costs, I thought the reference to how deeply concerned the U.S. would be and the West would be if Russia continues this was a reasonably strong statement for him to go out there, but fully justified.
Ukraine was clearly — and Putin was clearly not going to do anything. He was going to throw some thuggish weight around. He will probably get to a reform to the electoral law. But the crucial thing here is money. Ukraine is a country which was really teetering toward bankruptcy.
And so this is a country for sale. And Putin has shown in the West, when we offered an IMF package a few months ago, we weren’t really willing to back it up with any money, and Putin. He was willing to outbid us. And so this is going to come down to who is going to outbid who. And I’m sure Putin thinks he can outbid us again, outbid the West again.
The administration sources I talked to are pretty resolute that we’re going to offer some money this time to keep the possibility of a Western-leaning Ukraine a fiscal reality. And so I think the administration is pretty resolved not to let Putin get away with this, given the leverage we have.
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