Commentary: Will Putin Square Off With The West?

From Beijing to Washington, political leaders are wondering how to deal with newly elected Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. The 47-year-old leader has yet to reveal details of his foreign-policy vision. But this much is clear. He wants Russia to stand tall--or at least, taller--in the world. "It would be unreasonable to be afraid of a strong Russia, but one should reckon with it," he declared in an "open letter" to voters shortly before they elected him on Mar. 26. "One can insult us only at one's own peril."

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