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The New Russian Czar: Why Putin Doesn't Want Peace

03-20-2018
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He's back. 
 
It's going to be another six years of Vladimir Putin. After his "reelection" to a fourth term as president, the Russian strongman was sounding kinder and gentler, saying he wants peace with the West, but relations are currently at a post-Cold War low. 
 
Putin's "win" can't really be called an election because it was rigged. Video even showed ballot boxes being stuffed.
 
And a main rival, opposition leader Victor Navalny, was banned from running after being charged with corruption just before the race began.
 
Election rigging aside, Vladimir Putin might have won anyway, because he is hugely popular. Russians who voted for him say he has brought them peace, stability and a measure of prosperity.
 
But the former KGB officer who once called the collapse of the Soviet Union a "tragedy" is likely to continue being a problem for the West.
 
He denies Russian involvement in the recent nerve agent attack in Britain against a former Russian spy and his daughter, despite being accused of it by British Prime Minister Theresa May. President Trump is supporting Britain's conclusion, saying, "It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it."
 
Russia is also currently at odds with the West over Syria and Ukraine and a variety of other allegations of bad behavior, including cyber attacks and meddling in foreign elections.
 
And while Putin now says he has no desire for an arms race, Russia continues to roll out new and more dangerous weapons systems.
 
"The reason why we should be worried is because Russia's national security goals at times are at fundamental odds with the United States," warns Michaela Dodge, a Russia analyst at the Heritage Foundation. "Right now we are working under an assumption that potential with Russia is low, and Russia is no longer an adversary, which was President Obama's policy. That is not true."
 
Putin is now being called a new "czar" whose agenda is to make Russia great again and win the respect of the world, and some analysts say building up his nuclear arsenal is a clear way to accomplish that goal.
 
The West will now have to deal with Putin until at least 2024.
 
Ronald Reagan used to say when dealing with the Soviets, "Trust but verify." Putin may say he wants peace, but others argue that his actions haven't matched his words. 

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