Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine last week, in an unprovoked attack on a democratic country.
Putin has always been a brutal, dictator who has crushed all who oppose him. He has done cruelly and inhumanely, often killing opponents in slow and painful ways. Yet he has also been cold and calculating. Last weekend, we may have seen a Putin that has gone over the edge (even more than a power-hungry brutal dictator already is).
Putin’s mindset has become that any of Russia’s neighboring countries that don’t do what he wants, he threatens. The Russian government held up Ukraine as an example and threatened action against Finland and Sweden if they cooperated with or joined NATO. But Putin was not done. In a dramatic escalation, Putin raised the alert level of Russian nuclear forces, putting them in a “special state of readiness”. Additionally, he hinted that Russia may use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.
These are major escalation points in what is already an unprovoked war of aggression against a neighboring country for the sole purpose of gaining more power. Russia was not facing any threat but Putin has made it clear that he has become a threat to international peace and world order.
The Soviet Union and now Russia have been threats to international peace for one hundred years, and over the last week, Putin has reminded us just how far he is willing to go to get his maniacal demands met. The rest of the world must respond, and respond in the longer term in such a way as to make sure the world will not be threatened by Russia again.
Additional note: below is a long, but very good, article based on an interview with a long time Russian analyst who worked in Administrations of both Republicans and Democrats.