‘Geography need not be destiny, but it matters,” George F. Will wrote recently, adding: “as Ukraine is being reminded.” Well, yes. To own prize real estate next door to a powerful neighbour can be a problem at the best of times – just ask Canada – and Vladimir Putin isn’t the best of times.
He isn’t the worst, either, someone might say. Stalin was worse. To which I say, give the boy a chance. He’s still growing, and there’s potential. But assume he never comes close, and emulates only a traditional Russian ruler. The neighbours will still have plenty to worry about, and who knows how far the neighbourhood might extend? In my lifetime it went all the way to points beyond Vladivostok in the East to wall in Berlin in the West – a wall erected, I might add, after Stalin went to his reward, by his whistle-blowing successor, Nikita Khrushchev.
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