Earlier this week, Barack Obama again rejected Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign claim that Russia is America’s biggest “geopolitical foe.” In fact, Obama said, Russia is a regional power acting out of “weakness,” adding that he worries more about a mushroom cloud over New York City than he does about Vladimir Putin.
Stephen Harper called for a “complete reversal” of President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and suggested Russia should be booted out of the Group of Eight nations when he visited Ukraine.
When President Obama and European allies meet next week, they can begin forming a meaningful response to Vladimir Putin’s adventurism. This new strategy should note that Putin’s view of the world is rooted in dangerous fictions. Churchill said Russia was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Under Putin, Russia’s rhetoric can be described as a fantasy inside a delusion wrapped in a tissue of lies.
Among the US sanctions on Russia this week, one new restriction targets a specific bank, Rossiya. Washington officials described it as a personal bank for senior Russian officials. Well, today, President Vladimir Putin seemed to laugh off the new restriction. He said he personally doesn't have an account at Rossiya, but vowed to transfer his money there by Monday.
Scepticism is growing online after Russian President Vladimir Putin inked a treaty to make Ukraine's Crimea region part of Russia. "In our hearts we know Crimea has always been an inalienable part of Russia," Putin said in a speech to parliament Tuesday.
The outcome of the crisis in Ukraine depends to an unusual extent on the intentions of one man: Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the last few weeks, since the collapse of Viktor Yanukovych’s Russia-friendly regime and Moscow’s precipitous invasion of Crimea, analysts have been obsessed with trying to get inside the Russian leader’s mind.
Forget comparisons with 1914, or to Munich in 1938. Forget the war that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s and remember, instead, Schleswig-Holstein. A century and a half ago, it was the Crimea of its day, a piece of disputed territory that caused international turmoil and confusion.
Vladimir Putin appears well on his way to reclaiming the Crimea for Russia, restoring the peninsula to a status forfeited by Nikita Khrushchev’s Soviet Union in 1954. But this territorial achievement may provide only temporary distraction for Russia’s 140 million people who have seen their quality of life deteriorate dramatically since Putin took power in 1999.