The last year has shown that Putin perceives that his strengths are paired with Western weaknesses; if the West is to seriously contest with him, it must become serious.
Today, Ukraine needs leadership who will sacrifice for a nation badly wounded by the last six weeks, not mere politicians looking for another photo opportunity.
Today, Ukraine stands as the border between Russia’s expansionist drive and the West. Where does Poland fit in?
Gazprom fuels Russian military and political power; broken of that, Russia will be merely Venezuela with less political stability.
It is now reasonably safe to say that Vladimir Putin believes he is the Emperor of Eastern Europe. It is also safe to say he’s right.
Russia’s actions of the last week have reminded the region once again that although the giant slumbers often, when it wakes, bad things happen to the good and the bad alike.
While cast in the role of heroic martyr and freedom fighter, she has rallied millions to her cause. In power, she has been little different from the overwhelmingly male leaders against whom she has contrasted herself.
In any democracy worth its name, these men would be behind bars for using force to get them what democratic elections did not. Because they have powerful international backers, they are not.
There is a disturbing tendency to treat the legacy of the Soviet Union as the sort of unfortunate thing that happens in “one of modern history’s pivotal experiments.” It is not. It is a legacy that endures to this day.
The combination of growing Georgian cynicism, Russian and Russian-derived money, growing Russian assertiveness, and European incompetence is undoing the nascent Eastern Partnership faster than European leaders realize.