Walking in Putin's Shoes UPDATE

Patrick J. Buchanan, you remember him, invites us to consider the current situation in Mittel Europa from Putin's point of view.

"When Putin defended the seizure of Crimea by saying he did not want to visit Russia’s two-century-old naval base at Sevastopol, and be greeted by NATO sailors, did he not have a point?"

Buchanan, the isolationist, has his own point about NATO, etc., but still an interesting note of empathy.

UPDATE:  Two developments of note: 1. One of the leading candidates Vitali Klitschko, a former boxer, has withdrawn his name from the presidential election, arguing that candidates should unite behind Petro Poroshenko a billionaire in order to heal the division in Ukrainian society. This may put pressure on other candidates to stand down, i.e., Yulia  Tymoshenko. Story here.

2. Right Sector, the right-wing of the Maidan protestors, is surrounding the Parliament and demanding the resignation of the Minister of the Interior...these are the right-wingers that Putin has cited as being anti-Russian and fascists. Story here quote after the break.

"In citing extremist action, Mr. Putin sought to capitalize on a tense internal showdown in Kiev. Members of an ultranationalist group, Right Sector, have surrounded the Ukrainian Parliament over the last two days, demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s acting interior minister over the shooting death of one of the group’s leaders earlier this week in western Ukraine.

"The presence of masked, armed demonstrators threatening to storm the Parliament building offered the Russian government an opportunity to bolster its contention that the ouster of President Viktor F. Yanukovych, a Moscow ally, after pro-European street protests last month was an illegal coup carried out by right-wing extremists with Western encouragement." 

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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