Staunton, September 7 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has observed that Vladimir Putin lives in “a different reality” than do Western leaders, Andrey Piontkovsky notes, but these Western leaders have not yet acted in a way that reflects that understanding but rather on the false assumption that Putin sees the world and calculates about it in the same way they do.
When Merkel made her remark, she was suggesting that it was Putin who was out of step with reality, but recent statements by Western leaders suggest that it is they, not he, who are failing to recognize the nature of the new reality that Putin has been allowed to create by his aggression, the Russian commentator says (echo.msk.ru/blog/piontkovsky_a/1394642-echo/).
As an example of this failure to recognize reality, Piontkovsky cites the words of US President Barack Obama who said that “the only reason that we’re seeing this cease-fire at this moment is because of both the sanctions that have already been applied and the threat of further sanctions.”
These sanction, the US leader said, “are having a real impact on the Russian economy and have isolated Russia in a way that we have not seen in a very long time,” a statement that assumes Putin cares about that as would the leaders of Western countries who would not have acted as the Kremlin leader has.
“Imagine,” Piontkovsky continues, “in what reality this remarkable individual is living. He is sincerely convinces that exclusively thanks to sanctions … Putin has recognized his serious geopolitical mistakes, disarmed himself before the Big Seven, and signed a ceasefire agreement in Minsk.”
Clearly, Obama and Putin are living in “different realities,” just as Chancellor Merkel said. In Putin’s reality, he has introduced more forces into Ukraine and defeated the Ukrainian military, forced Kyiv to sign an accord that legitimates his Anschluss of Crimea and sets the stage for “an enormous ‘Transdniestria’ in the body of Ukraine,” and put himself in a position to seize Mariupol “at any moment” and thus “open a corridor for the Russian army to Crimea.”
That hardly looks like the “reality” Obama described and apparently lives in, Piontkovsky suggests, and instead looks like the reality Putin has been living in for some time: take from those who are weaker or who can be intimidated into going along and stop doing that only when confronted by a stronger power.