SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 6, 2014

Our view: Sanctions can work against Russia

It’s long been evident that Vladimir Putin was born a generation or two too late.

The Russian autocrat is a better fit for the days he seems to pine for — the days when the Soviet Union was a mighty empire, ruled decisively by one man who had fought tooth-and-nail to get to the top of the Communist party machinery.

Alas for ole Vladimir, those days are long gone. They crumbled like the Berlin Wall, rusted like the once formidable Soviet Navy, faded away like those grand parades of military might that goose-stepped their way through Moscow’s Red Square, soldiers’ heads bowing to their approving great leader.

Putin is a hopeless throwback to that time now passed, and unfortunately he’s a pugnacious fellow with whom the world will be dealing for a long time. He’s been around long enough for the rest of the world to know his personality and gameplan, and that’s a good thing. Unlike Soviet leaders of the past — such as Nikita Khrushchev — who emerged from obscurity and immediately elbowed their way onto the world stage, Putin is a known entity.

And so it is best that the leaders of the West follow through with their threats of economic sanctions against Russia for its incursions into Ukraine. The Ukraine has been in turmoil for months, split down the middle by factions who favor closer ties with Europe, and a sizable Russian-leaning population that favors closer ties to Russia. It is the kind of conflict that defined the Cold War.

Ukraine’s Putin-puppet president has fled, leaving the country leaning toward Europe. In response, Putin has taken provocative action by landing Russian forces in Ukraine’s southernmost province, known as the Crimea — a strategic peninsula in the Black Sea that has long served as the most important port for Russia’s southern fleet.

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