Leah Barkoukis

According to U.S. intelligence, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions are crystal clear: he wants to restore the Soviet Union. That, at least, is what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had to say when asked about Putin’s “calculus.”

"Mr. Putin has made no secret and he said it publicly on more than one occasion over the years that the demise of the Soviet Union was a terrific mistake, it shouldn't have happened, it was bad for the Russian people," Hagel said in an interview with PBS. "Now, I think that's a premise that he truly believes and I think that's where he starts."

Hagel denied suggestions that we are at the beginning of a new Cold War based on the interconnected economies of Russia, the U.S., and China.

"When you look at his actions in 2008 in Georgia and the actions he's taken here specifically, as you know, inCrimea, he's not across the easternUkrainianborder but, nonetheless, he's in Crimea," Hagel told PBS’ Charlie Rose. "I mean you do have to reflect on that reality and we have to be very clear-eyed about your question, well, what is his end game here, where is he going with this? He has made all those -- those former Soviet Socialist Republics, the "-stans" -- quite nervous. Kazakhstan all the way across, obviously Moldova, some of the nations that are still connected on that western European edge, everybody is very nervous on what is in his mind."

“President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said last month. “And every day, he goes further and further. And God knows where is the final destination.”


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography