Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has claimed his place in history. Not since Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 has a European leader committed an act of aggression as brutal or as nakedly cynical as Putin’s utterly unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Walter Russel Mead, Ravenel B. Curry III Distinguished Fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship, Hudson Institute wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
“He has made himself an international outlaw and turned the great nation of Russia into a rogue state,” Mead said.
Mead said this is a criminal war of premeditated and unjustified aggression, and Putin’s Western allies and enablers should probably check with their lawyers. “The Nuremberg trials punished economic collaborators who enabled Hitler’s wars of aggression,” Mead added.
For good or ill, Putin’s gamble will shape the future of Europe and the fate of world order. Western leaders have failed to frustrate his campaign to rebuild an illiberal empire on the haunted ruins of the Soviet state, Mead said.
“Like their predecessors at the beginning of World War II, their own place in history depends on how they respond to a challenge that wiser, more resolute leadership would have nipped in the bud. It would have been easy to stop Putin 20 years or even a decade ago. Today it will require a much greater effort in a much darker world,” Mead said.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.firstname.lastname@example.org)