There was a time when the U.S. and its NATO allies thought that they could contain Vladimir Putin.
The media and U.S. government encouraged that thinking, with both politicians and non-partisan pundits calling for an attempt to contain Russia and its aggressive intentions.
But the idea of containment fell apart as Putin extended his clout into the West. It collapsed on election day when Trump capitulated to Putin’s demand for former operatives to say they had no evidence to support the Mueller investigation. In short, Trump didn’t see the relevance of Russia until it was too late.
Right now, the West has joined forces with China to provide Putin with the ability to extend his power. In Moscow, Putin is more dangerous than his successor in Paris.
Putin’s North Korea relationships represent his greatest reach abroad. Putin and Kim Jong Un have expanded cooperation on China’s anti-U.S. policy. The relationship between the two has become at least as important as NATO policy in a way NATO’s policies for Korea are for Europe.
North Korea has become another classic area where the U.S. has stood down, without maintaining a large military presence in the region.
It’s come to this in the age of Trump, where we’ve learned to acknowledge that everything Putin does, or thinks he is doing, is to gain influence.
He may be motivated in part by anger and hatred towards the West. But, his actions are also intentionally designed to make Russia look strong.
So while the West relies on Western media to warn of Putin’s proclivities, Russia has its own media and its own people, people who watch and believe what they are told.