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The Ukraine crisis has shattered key Western assumptions about Russia, and many analysts and policymakers have fallen back on the belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be acting irrationally.Russia, according to this view, recognizes that it cannot get its old empire back, so it is chipping away at neighboring territories instead, justifying its actions by a nebulous concept of ethnic and historical justice.It would be misleading to portray Putin as merely another out-of-control national romantic.Western politicians' vain attempts to convince Putin that the eastward expansion of NATO and the EU would benefit Russia by creating a zone of peace and prosperity along its borders were naive and insulting. Supporting democracy on Russia's borders can have a dangerous "demonstration" effect, by encouraging ordinary Russians to demand the same for themselves. Indeed, Putin believes that the past decade's democratic uprisings in Georgia and Ukraine were Western conspiracies against Russia. In short, while it is perfectly rational for the West to want Russia as a partner, Russia considers the U.S. and the EU enemies.Either the West jettisons its fundamental values, or Russia must change.
The Soviet Union is dead for good
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