Staunton, May 7 – No one in the West is under any illusions that those who will come to power in Russia after Putin will be liberal democratic free market allies of the West, an illusion that many had after the fall of communism; and because that illusion has been dispelled, the West is pursuing a different policy now, Andrey Piontkovsky says.
The West is not so much worried about whether the new Russian leader will be good or bad, the US-based Russian commentator says. Rather it is concerned about creating conditions so that no leader of Russia in the future, “neither good nor bad can ever launch aggression” against Russia’s neighbors (nv.ua/opinion/chem-zakonchitsya-voyna-dlya-rossii-piontkovskiy-o-tom-chto-zhdet-putina-poslednie-novosti-50239475.html).
The longer Putin’s war in Ukraine goes on, the more committed the West will be to that new approach, Piontkovsky says, adding one more reason for those in Moscow who believe that the current Kremlin leader has made a horrific mistake that compromises their interests to take action sooner or later.
It is, of course, far from clear that all leaders in the West feel this way or that Russian elites will draw the conclusions that the Russian commentator suggests. But it is certain that optimism about the possibility that Russia will become a normal country has significantly declined across the West.
And it is also certain that many are arguing that containment this time around must not be based on the proposition that Russia will change but rather on the conclusion that it won’t, something that represents a fundamental shift in how the international community will deal with this rogue state for as long as it continues to exist.