From an op/ed by Arnaud de Borchgrave in the Washington Times:
The reasons behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s increasingly hostile attitude toward the Bush administration are becoming clearer. To understand them in their proper context, imagine the United States and its allies had lost the Cold War. NATO has collapsed. Next thing we know capitalism collapses, along with America’s two political parties. In their place springs a one-party system, known as USA, which now stands for United Socialists of America. As we lick our military, diplomatic and psychological wounds, Canada and Mexico follow our former European allies into the Warsaw Pact. France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain and the Benelux countries join COMECON, the Warsaw Pact equivalent of the now defunct European Economic Community. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) folds and is replaced by INTER-ARTA (Inter-American Regulated Trade Association). Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela become charter members. The Soviet leader — Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin or Mr. Putin — then embarks on a triumphant tour of the former NATO capitals, including Ottawa and Mexico City, now full-fledged Warsaw Pact allies. Soviet hubris has led the world’s most powerful nation to punish a recalcitrant dictator in the Middle East, say, Iraq. The men in the Kremlin decide to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein, roping in key satellites in a coalition of the unwilling. Oblivious to local tribal and sectarian forces, Soviet and coalition forces find themselves bogged down in another Afghanistan. When the Soviet leader first met with his new counterpart in the White House, he stared into his soul and liked what he saw: an American socialist who could be trusted. But now that the Russian imperialist was bogged down in Iraq, the USA president was beginning to enjoy his discomfiture. He then went on to criticize the Kremlin leader for the biggest blunder in the history of socialism. The Russian’s ratings plummeted to single digits.