Russias President Vladimir Putin welcomes President Barack Obama at the...

Russias President Vladimir Putin welcomes President Barack Obama at the start of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg on Sept. 5, 2013. Credit: Getty Images

Recent conservative opinion pieces and letters have implied that with Russia's annexation of Crimea, we are suddenly faced by an implacable enemy bent on conquest and that President Barack Obama's weakness is the cause of Russia's sudden expansionist policy ["Obama vs. Putin: The mismatch," Opinion, March 30].

These conservatives have called for increases in our military budget, expanded military commitments to NATO and deployment of ABM systems to Eastern Europe. Reading these pieces, you would think the West had suffered an enormous political and military defeat.

In truth, the recent populist uprising in Ukraine has been a defeat of the first magnitude for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Two months ago, he had virtual control over Ukraine and Crimea via his ally regime in Kiev. Today, he wields no direct influence over the government in Kiev, and he is desperately trying to limit the enormous damage caused by the popular overthrow of his ally.

We now have an opportunity to encourage and support a potential democracy in Ukraine with economic, political and limited military aid.

Kenneth Cusick, Bayside

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