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Has Putin’s Munich Speech Won or Lost Friends?

From the International Herald Tribune:

“The reason is that Putin’s true colors were revealed,” said Marek Ostrowski, a Polish foreign policy expert. “We Poles are used to Russia trying to split the European allies and the trans-Atlantic relationship. But this time around everyone could sense his arrogance — which is why he provoked little sympathy.” … Analysts believe that if Putin had been less aggressive, he could have encouraged opposition to the missile shield and Washington’s war on terror. “The thing about Putin’s speech was that he never once mentioned shared values, which the Germans love to speak about when they refer to Europe’s relationship with Russia,” said Franç¸ois Heisbourg, director of the Institute for International Affairs in Paris. Tellingly, two German cabinet ministers who spoke at Munich, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung, did not even refer to Putin’s speech. “Putin’s speech was purely and simply about power,” Heisbourg said. “Here was Putin saying that Russia was no longer going to be humiliated as it was during the 1990s when it had lost the Soviet Union and when it had to accept the expansion of NATO to its borders. Energy has made Putin powerful, confident and arrogant. It was as if he was saying take it or leave it.”

Click here to read our earlier analysis of the speech.