Putin pushes back: Beware the wounded Russian bear

Peace and Freedom

By Desmond Lachman

Contrary to what he would like us to believe, things are going very poorly for Vladimir Putin these days. Having found the West more united than he expected on the issue of sanctions against Russia, he now discovers that the bottom has fallen out of the international oil market. As if that were not enough, he also finds Europe nixing his pet Southstream gas pipeline, supposed to run under the Black Sea, which he had hoped would increase Russia’s energy stranglehold over Ukraine and the rest of Europe.

But before we indulge in too much glee over Putin’s discomfort, we should consider the all-too-real risk that when cornered, he is apt to become even more dangerous.

Russia has a long history of rulers who start armed adventures abroad to deflect attention from economic and social troubles at home. When he annexed Crimea last March, Putin appeared to…

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