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Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian gas giant Gazprom would start demanding payment a month in advance for the supplies that it sells to Ukraine.American diplomat George F. Kennan identified them as neurotic insecurity and Oriental secretiveness on the Russian side and legalism and moralism on the Western side.Kennan is reckoned to have laid the Cold War's intellectual foundation – at least in the West – with his "long telegram" from Moscow in February 1946, which he followed with his famous Foreign Affairs article, signed "X," in July 1947 . Kennan argued that long-term peace between the capitalist West and communist Russia was impossible, owing to the mixture of traditional Russian insecurity, Stalin's need for an external enemy and communist messianism.These Western thrusts undoubtedly inspired Russian paranoia, reflected today in Kremlin-fueled conspiracy theories about Ukraine. And, just as Kennan warned against a foreign policy that was "utopian in its expectation, legalistic in its concept ... moralistic ... and self-righteous," the goal of Western policy today should be to find the means to work with Russia to stop Ukraine from being torn apart.
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