Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Chilly War

Following a day in which a border incident in Ukraine left three dead, despite the agreement reached last week in Geneva for the pro-Russian separatists to stand down, there are reports that the U.S. has concluded that Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin's Russia must be contained and made a pariah state. In his piece in today's New York Times, Peter Baker writes that President Obama has written off Putin as someone he can deal with, and sees a future where Russia is cut off economically and politically as a result of its destabilizing, expansionist activities in Europe and Central Asia.

There were hopes after the disintegration of the Soviet Union after the Cold War that new Russian leaders would bring their country into the fold of Western democracies.  Instead, many former Soviet apparatchiks -- including Putin -- adapted what they had learned from the Soviet system and translated it into an autocratic form of crony capitalism.  Perhaps Putin's moment in the sun at the Winter Olympics deluded him into believing the world would applaud a new Russian Empire.  Instead, the world is appalled.

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