Stephen Blank, in Kyiv Post:
The only sovereignty Moscow recognizes or respects is its own. It certainly does not believe itself to be bound by law, domestic or international. Neither does it consider itself obliged to follow UN resolutions that are against its interests. Instead, as Condoleezza Rice wrote a decade ago, the doctrine of multipolarity leads to a world based on force where the strong do what they can and the smaller states suffer what they must accept. i.e. a world ruled by unbounded force.
Indeed, Russia’s continuing resort to force in its peripheries expresses many important truths about the nature of Putin’s regime. First, it shows that the resort to war to resolve political rivalries continues to be the regime’s logical conclusion to the denial of post-Soviet states’ sovereignty and the aspiration for territorial and imperial aggrandizement. Indeed, empire or what one might call imperial circuses has become the raison d’etre of the Putin regime since it cannot and will not give its people bread.
Imperial aggrandizement and adventures reinforce the narrative of Russia’s greatness and condition of being surrounded by enemies while also fortifying the notion of Putin as a powerful statesman whom the West fears and Russia as a similarly great and feared power. But this not merely a cynical propaganda ploy. The regime actually believes it is in a state of long-term multi-dimensional war with the West even though no shots are being fired by the two sides. Thus Russia acts as if it is and considers itself to be at war with NATO not just the United States.