The Bullying Effect


A Ukrainian worker operates the gas pipeline near Kiev

Russians are known for being tough negotiators, but their decision last week to cut off Ukraine's supplies of natural gas in order to secure agreement for a big gas-price hike may have been a little too tough. The dispute was rapidly resolved. But the shocked reaction in Europe and the U.S. casts a cloud over Russian President Vladimir Putin just as he takes over chairmanship of the G-8 association of industrialized nations, and it will probably accelerate Western efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas and oil. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice publicly accused Russia of behaving irresponsibly. And in...

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