President Barack Obama underestimates the imperialist desire of Russian president Vladimir Putin to reunite the former nations of the Soviet Union under a single flag and his rule according to an editorial in The Washington Post.
The editorial in Wednesday's edition
asserts Obama has failed to understand that Putin "is bent on upending the post-Cold War order in Europe and reversing Russia’s loss of dominion over Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia."
"The Obama administration and its European allies have been too slow to grasp that," The Post says.
The editorial argues that it is easy to just write off as crazy Putin's wild claims
that Ukraine had been taken over by, "nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites," in justifying Russia's aggressive takeover in Crimea, which he has boldly compared to the reunification of Germany in 1990.
In saying that it "just didn't jibe with reality," Secretary of State John Kerry fails to see Putin's real intent, which has been clear from the get go. The Post offers evidence of Putin's resolve from his speech on Tuesday
, when he accepted the results of Sunday's secession referendum in Crimea and "advanced a radical and dangerous argument."
Putin stated that the collapse of the Soviet Union rendered "the Russian nation" as "one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders." The Post believes the threat to Europe and the rest of the world is real and dangerous if Moscow is permitted to believe it has the right to intervene in Crimea and anywhere it considers ethnic Russians or their culture to be threatened.
"The fact that there are ethnic Russians in a country should not give Mr. Putin’s regime a privileged say in its affairs," The Post said. "The idea that areas populated by Russians must be ruled or protected by Moscow is less the ideology of the 19th century, as Mr. Kerry would have it, than of the 1930s."
The editorial went on to pillory the suggestion by some that the action taken by Putin is "an understandable response to Western encouragement of the former Soviet Bloc states that embraced democracy and free markets and sought NATO and European Union membership."
Since 2008, Putin has invaded Ukraine and Georgia
, two countries rejected for NATO membership. Given that evidence, The Post questioned the logic of believing Estonia and Latvia, both former members of the Soviet Union, would be safer from Putin's reach now had they too not joined NATO.
"The crisis in Europe has come about not because Western institutions expanded," The Post wrote, "but because they did not fulfill their post-Cold War promise of 'a Europe whole and free
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