Is the bear back? From Peter Brookes of the New York Post:
So what are we to make of Putin’s intimidating broadsides in Munich? First, the speech was meant as much for domestic consumption as for the Americans/Europeans. Putin has been on a tear to restore Russia’s tattered global prestige since becoming president. (Standing up to the West still appeals to some Russians.) Second, Putin’s attack was also meant to signal he wasn’t going to brook any nonsense from the United States or his yippy European neighbors on Russia’s internal politics or energy dealings. (The good news? Putin’s comments may help bridge the Atlantic rift.) Third, it’s evident Russia will pursue an independent foreign policy based on raw national interest. Russia can be helpful, but it can – and will – play the role of spoiler. (This isn’t good news on issues like Iran.) Last, in a way, despite the brushback pitch, we should be grateful Putin clarified Russia’s stance. There is no need trying to decipher the often mysterious Russian tea leaves. The message is clear: The Bear is back.