Letters to the Editor

Vladimir Putin uses fear to create political turmoil in the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting dedicated to the Day of Rosgvardia (National Guard) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 27, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting dedicated to the Day of Rosgvardia (National Guard) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 27, 2017. AP

A most important message for today’s political climate is contained in Stephen Provost’s warning against fear-mongering (“When innovation outpaces instinct, fear can gain a foothold,” Feb. 16).

For context, I recommend an article in this month’s Atlantic entitled “It’s Putin’s World” that says that America isn’t the only country experiencing nativist populism. Right-wing parties across western Europe are trying to duplicate Trump’s success.

The article explains how these movements all seem to draw inspiration from Vladimir Putin. This is not an accident. NATO has always been a barrier to Putin’s dream of returning Eastern European countries back into Moscow’s orbit.

Putin has diligently fed the emotional rhetoric between nativist and immigrant populations in the U.S. and Europe, hoping to weaken the EU and the NATO alliance. Putin believes that political turmoil in the West will make it easier to realize his dream.

The Atlantic article concludes, “But we know from history that premonitions of imminent barbarism serve to justify extreme countermeasures. These are the anxieties from which dictators rise. Admiring strongmen from a distance is the window-shopping that can end in the purchase of authoritarianism.”

Michael Segor, San Luis Obispo

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