It’s possible you have to be of a certain age. Old enough to remember the Cold War and the fear that it would trigger a hot one. Old enough to remember Stalin and the fear that he would best Truman. Old enough to remember the Soviet Union and the fear that it had become the match of the United States. It’s possible, in other words, you have to be of a certain age to appreciate what Putin has accomplished.
For over a year I predicted that Russiagate would turn out a bigger political scandal than Watergate. But I did not predict that before it was all over the story would be less about Donald Trump than about Vladimir Putin. Putin. The man of whom John McCain smartly said, “When I looked into [his] eyes I saw three letters, K, G, and B.”
For reasons we do not yet understand, Putin successfully emasculated Trump. Turned the American president from supposedly powerful leader into pusillanimous follower. But credit where credit is due. Putin pulled off a hat trick. He weakened NATO. He fractured Europe. And he upended the world’s oldest liberal democracy.