“He’s not delusional, but he’s inhabiting a Russia of the past — a version of the past that he has created,” said Fiona Hill, the top intelligence officer on Russia during Mr. Bush’s presidency and co-author of “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.” “His present is defined by it and there is no coherent vision of the future. Where exactly does he go from here beyond reasserting and regaining influence over territories and people? Then what?”
Maybe he’s got his own future, and doesn’t need ours. Maybe he hasn’t thought that far ahead. Maybe some people in China’s military see outside interests reflexively as threats and calculate accordingly. Maybe Al Qaeda’s Islamist radicalism is messianic and delusional, as are a lot of people in the Muslim Brotherhood, as are some people out there who would hijack nuclear material and kill millions of innocent people if they could.
Do we take Somali pirates aside and give them a good talking-to?
But as to Russia and Putin, I suppose the country’s too big and its leader too important to ignore for many strategic reasons.
I suppose we’ll keep looking inside those nesting dolls for a man we can do business with.