The Christian Science Monitor

Putin's provocations: Is it a new cold war if West doesn't push back?

When NBC journalist Megyn Kelly interviewed Vladimir Putin this month, she asked about Russian protectorate Syria’s continuing use of chemical weapons.

His response was as provocative and disdainful as the over-all stance the Russian leader has increasingly taken toward the United States and the West in recent years.

“One wants to say, ‘Boring,’ ” Mr. Putin sighed.

That answer, as shocking as it was, echoed the schoolyard taunting that Putin has employed with Western leaders at least since he seized the Crimean Peninsula in early 2014.

Now coming off a reelection Sunday that assures him another six years in power, the Russian president can be expected to pursue – and perhaps even accelerate – such “what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it” provocations.

His actions, and his utterances, have tied the West in knots but have elevated him at home while spotlighting his autocratic style of rule for admiring despots around the world, experts in Russia-West

More pushback unlikelyObama's roleA need to deliver at home

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