(The Moscow Times/Huffington Post) While various commentators have described President Vladimir Putin as playing a chess game against the West, I would argue that he has actually been primarily reacting tactically to what he saw as a major defeat.
After all, in late February, in just a few days Ukraine went from having chosen alliance with Russia to a victory by anti-Russian forces and the prospect of a close alliance with the West, and the potential loss of Russia's naval base in Sevastopol.
But throughout the Ukraine crisis, and especially in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Putin has been portrayed as an evil leader bent on restoring the Soviet empire. His motivation has frequently been framed as a sense of pique for the exclusion of Russian leaders from key decisions, such as on the Iraq War, on NATO's intervention in Kosovo, and on NATO enlargement. […]
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