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Toothless Gestures Won’t Stop Putin

Walter Russell Mead

There’s no need to wait for the absentee ballots: Vladimir Putin has been comfortably elected to his fourth term. With 77% of the vote, the Russian president has little to fear from domestic opponents.

He doesn’t have much to fear from international opponents either, judging from the muted reaction to the chemical-weapons attack on a Russian ex-spy in Salisbury, England. Since Mr. Putin attacked the former Soviet republic of Georgia late in the George W. Bush administration, the West’s response to his provocations has resembled the reaction to Japanese aggression in the 1930s: deplore, denounce and disarm.

To read the full column on the Wall Street Journal website, click here.

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