Europe must stop pussyfooting around with Russian President Vladimir Putin if it hopes to end his iron-fisted leadership, says James Kirchick, a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative.
"[Putin] was born and bred in the KGB and he's always been a KGB man and sees the world very much as a KGB guy does, which is zero sum gain. And that's the reality that we have to deal with," Kirchick said on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Monday on Newsmax TV.
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"Many people, particularly in Europe, they don't want to confront that reality . . . We have all these interlocking financial and economic webs that European countries in particular have now with Russia, that they've developed over the past 20 years.
"Frankly, it does make it somewhat difficult to extricate themselves from that. They are heavily dependent on Russia for energy."
Putin is under fire after U.S. and Ukrainian claims that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed last Thursday using a missile system supplied by his nation's military.
Kirchick said the world had hoped for more from Russia after the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed.
"Many people in the West figured we were dealing with a new Russia and the ideological confrontations of the 20th century had ended . . . that everyone in the world would accept Western-style liberal democracy as the ideal form of government," he said.
"There was maybe a brief flicker of time when there was a hope of that conception becoming reality in Russia. But it really wasn't very long, and [then] we saw Vladimir Putin," Kirchick said.
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