I believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has miscalculated. His decision was rash. This may be the beginning of the end of his tenure. He is learning some unforgiving lessons in capitalism.
Stock market and currency fluctuations are just the beginning. Russian banks will not be able to develop an independent reinsurance industry. This industry is a highly informed global network. The reinsurance companies have long institutional memories and will exact a price. Wait until the liquid natural gas starts arriving in bulk -- and it will. There is a monster plant in Algeria being updated. Thanks to fracking, the United States is already building a few.
Additionally, Iraq has quietly become the No. 2 crude oil producer. As sanctions on Iran are lifted it may pursue a production plan at odds with OPEC quotas to earn hard currency. This will cause Russian hard currency flow to slow and internal pressures on inflation (food) will build. Putin may have to deal with internal dissent among large segments of the population. As the oligarchs continue to lose money, they may decide it is time new leadership to stay ahead of public sentiment.
Finally, a former KGB colonel is not a military field commander. Many NATO forces have spent the last 12 years in combat. Hopefully, the Russian military leadership will provide realistic strategic advice.
Fortunately, the consensus by 57 members of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on a Ukrainian Mission may provide time for Putin to reflect on the long-term consequences.
Edward F. Vowell