As I was writing last night's commentary about why perhaps the market didn't deliver a sell-off befitting the crisis some were painting the Ukraine conflict to be, columnists for the Washington Post were submitting articles with titles and statements such as: "Obama’s weakness emboldens Putin", "Putin's tightening grip on the Ukraine" and "Vladimir Putin's Long Game".
Apparently history strongly suggests that it would take a lot more than a falling ruble and a tumbling Russian stock market to deter the likes of Vladimir Putin. That he would announce the end of the shortest of military operations along with words directed specifically to financial markets---moments before the ringing of the Russian stock market's opening bell---was not something many experts were predicting.
The great 19th Century economist Frederic Bastiat once said "if goods don't cross borders, troops will."
Could it be that, as Russian troops crossed the Ukraine's borders, Putin imagined goods (think the oil and natural gas export engine that is so critical to Russia's economy) not going and coming across Russia's---as perhaps the U.S. and other producers would step up production and step in to Russia's markets? If indeed this backing off isn't some strategic head-faking on Putin's part, he's more beholden to Russia's economy (as it is more beholding to cross-border trade) than many experts seem to have thought.
Thank goodness for international trade!!!!