Published On: Sun, Oct 13th, 2019

Putin news: NATO insider believes Russian leader is ’19th century ruler’. | World | News

US President Donald Trump is engaged in numerous geopolitical disputes with Russia, with the situation in Crimea grabbing headlines after Trump withdrew military aid from Ukraine before allegedly asking President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democrat 2020 candidate Joe Biden.

This sparked an impeachment probe, and possibly, even more worrying for Washington, appears to have granted Putin more control in Eastern Europe – right on NATO’s doorstep.

The two nations have also had differences over Syria, where the US have opposed the regime of President Bashar al-Assad after he reportedly used chemical weapons on his own citizens as the crisis grew.

Putin has backed Assad, with Russian airstrikes playing a pivotal role in asserting the regime’s stronghold on the embattled Middle Eastern country.

NATO has also been directly impacted by Putin’s politics on the world stage after NATO member state Turkey accepted the delivery of S-400 missiles which are now active in Ankara.

This has raised concerns between Western allies as the missile systems could be a way for Moscow to gather intelligence on weapons used by the US, UK and much of Europe.

This includes NATO’s new F-35 fighter jet.

A looming question surrounding these disputes is Putin’s motivation.

Jim Townsend worked in the Barack Obama administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, and is now a senior fellow in the CNAS (Center for a New American Security) Transatlantic Security Programme.

He believes Putin has no elaborate objective but is simply attempting to disrupt US dominance across the globe with a ruling mantra that Mr Townsend described as “19th century”.

He said: “He’s not a complex man, his instincts, his goals and desires are 19th century in a lot of ways.

READ MORE: NATO insider: Erdogan ‘tried to manipulate’ Trump over Putin missiles

Mr Townsend believes Putin’s recent actions in Europe especially, make him a ‘bully’, and that it is important for the US and Russia to build bridges rather than continue tit for tat politics.

He continued: “Putin is opportunistic, he recognises vacuums he can fill, he is good at manipulation and Russia are good at scaring and bullying.

“He is building a more conventional military capability, he’s playing a game that he feels brings respect to Russia and himself.

“I don’t know what the future looks like, we need to move beyond NATO vs Russia and sit down and sort it out.”

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