The Russian president against the worldBy Tom Nichols, The Atlantic
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a speech at a ceremony to incorporate partially Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine into the Russian Federation, finally and explicitly declared an end to more than seven decades of international order. During a meandering rant, Putin defended raw Russian imperialism while he spooled off about a number of topics, including the fall of the U.S.S.R., the power of Western hegemony, and the American use of nuclear weapons on Japan. But his underlying goal was to warn the rest of the world to cease its opposition to his war of conquest in Ukraine.
Putin’s incorporation of these areas into Russia is a major escalation in his seven-month campaign against Ukraine, and it raises the same question that has haunted many in the world regularly since the first days of the invasion: How worried should we be about this war becoming a larger European conflict and eventually a global cataclysm? …