After months of failed policy from the West, it is clear that economic sanctions and international condemnation alone are not enough to force Vladimir Putin to abandon his support of Ukrainian “separatists”. Such measures matter little to Putin in comparison to the ideological, geopolitical, and domestic political imperatives that push him to pursue a total victory in Ukraine. Unless the West can convince Putin that a belligerent policy towards Russia’s near abroad is not worth pursuing—by drastically increasing the domestic rather than international cost of his aggression—Moscow’s actions in Ukraine are likely to serve as a precedent for future confrontations with the West in the region.
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Only a forward-leaning US policy designed to revitalize the transatlantic relationship will slow Putin’s ambitions in Europe.
Russian propaganda is especially effective because the West’s political, media, and cultural elites are already prepared by postmodern attitudes.
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