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Opinion Can the West muster the will to face down Russia?

David Rothkopf: Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine because he thought the West was soft. He says Putin is betting that Russia can absorb more pain than decadent democracies will tolerate. But the West has by far the stronger hand to face down Russia, he says. He asks: If the West can project its thinking as little as one year into the future, the case for resilience should be overwhelming. Europe can resolve to endure some short-term pain to contain Putin’s expansionism. It can also have time to break its energy dependence on Russia by developing new sources, he writes. Europe is experiencing a similar dynamic, most obviously in Italy. A replay of the euro crisis seems possible. Italy's financial burden can be managed if sounder European economies come to its aid

By turning energy into a weapon, Putin has forfeited his credibility as a reliable gas supplier to Europe. Meanwhile, as the West masters its challenges, Russia would weaken. Europe complacently allowed itself to become more dependent on Russian gas. The West must choose which version of