Did He Really Say That?

“If I want, I can take Kiev in two weeks.”

If Russian President Vladimir Putin truly did say those words, as Jose Manuel Barroso, the current President of the European Commission, has revealed to the press and to other world leaders, then it is extremely unfortunate and irresponsible that a 21st century world leader of a country with nuclear weapons would consider international relations not only a game of 19th century brinkmanship but a dangerous game of Bismarckian Realpolitik.

Hopefully, Putin does not envisage Russian troops parading through the streets of Kiev, as Prussian troops marched through Paris in 1871, just to settle old scores or to maintain control of domestic politics. The price of war between the world’s great powers, between east and west, can no longer be justified in this world of mutually assured destruction.

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