That said, we must not take for granted our ultimate victory. It is easy to wax overconfident about Russia’s deep economic, social and demographic troubles; it is wiser to remember that much Western reporting on such matters is hardly more accurate than RT depictions of America as a country about to collapse in debt, drug use, unemployment and interracial violence. Putin leads a state with serious problems, but oil and gas revenues give him a healthy margin for error; meanwhile, his ability to cause mayhem in the post-Soviet space and beyond is real and rising.
The West will prevail in this Cold War too because Putin’s corruption-laden model for Russia is unsustainable in the long run. In terms of population and per capita GDP, Russia is more or less Mexico with nuclear weapons. We are not headed for a bipolar world again, but a multipolar one where Russia can be a dangerous spoiler. But NATO, with American leadership, needs to wake up. This time we must ensure that Russians are well aware that they lost—so they will come to terms with the Kremlin’s crimes, including against its own people, over the last hundred years. That alone will ensure this dreadful cycle does not repeat itself yet again.