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Vladimir Putin: Neither a Monster Nor a Messiah

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The body of the document contains mechanisms for how dealing with security concerns or breaches of security could be handled. This proposal was sent to the leaders of relevant nations as well as the heads of EU, NATO and OSCE, emphasizing that Russia was open to suggestions and negotiation on the plan.

Putin's pursuit of these kinds of policies is less an example of him donning some hippie beads while singing songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, and more a pragmatic realization that, if successfully implemented, they would better enable him to protect and develop his country in a way that is consistent with its particular geography, history and culture.

Of course, Putin and Medvedev heard crickets in response to their proposal.

Not long afterward, Mikheil Saakashvili, egged on by elements in Washington, staged a military incursion into South Ossetia, killing Russian peacekeepers and prompting a military smackdown by Russia. Five years later, the EU recklessly tried to pressure Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to sign an Association Agreement that contained terms and consequences that would be unwise (to say the least) for the leader of an already poor and divided nation on Russia's border to agree to. Again, elements from Washington egged on violent and provocative actions; then, subsequently, pissed and moaned about the more forceful and predictable reaction from Russia, conveniently forgetting the diplomatic gestures for cooperation that had been offered that could potentially prevent and/or resolve these problems in everyone's interests.

With much of western leadership so irrational and drunk on power, westerners cannot be blamed for admiring an intelligent and pragmatic leader who does not eschew the art of diplomacy on behalf of his country's interests.

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Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Sun Monthly, Dissident Voice, (more...)

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