Prime Minister Stephen Harper has continued his verbal attacks against President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Crimea when he accused him of being stuck in the Cold War.
“I don’t really see it as a new Cold War” but “as unfortunate as it sounds, it’s increasingly apparent to me that the Cold War has never left Vladimir Putin’s mind.” Harper said in front of an audience of German businessmen.
What Russia has done, invading Crimea is a “throwback” to a previous time according to the Prime Minister. The comments were made during his third stop on a week-long tour of Europe which began on Kyiv.
Putin is enjoying an increase in popularity over in Russia which Harper found surprising. He says he though Russians had a different view of the future than their leader had.
“I find the ordinary Russian people, especially the younger people, to be very western in their outlook, their values, their desires,” he said. “They want the same living standards, they want the same standards of governance and democracy and rights and information flow that the rest of us have.”
“We simply, as a world, cannot afford the risk of Europe going back to being a continent where people seize territory, where they make claims on other neighboring countries, where the bigger military powers are prepared to invade their neighbors or carve off pieces,” Mr. Harper continued.
The Canadian Prime Minister has not only been harsh with his words but also with his actions. Specifically the economic sanctions which are greater compared to his G7 partners. His recent views and actions against Russia’s invasion of Crimea has been responsible for a modest rebound in his personal standing and that of the Conservative Party in the latest polls back at Canada.
Harper started his personal jabs at Putin in Kiyev and this continued on at a G7 emergency summit in Holland where the Prime Minister participated in a war game scenario with President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other leaders.
Harper also said that even though the economy and businesses are very important, the security of the whole world is still his government’s top priority.
The west and Moscow will feel the pain of the economic sanctions but a German economics professor said that Russia is used to tightening its belt and accepting lower living standards than western Europeans are.
U.S. President Barrack Obama also reminded people of the sacrifices made in the First World War and said the youth today are not used to seeing a world full of conflict.
“We must never forget that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom,” Mr. Obama said speaking in Brussels only hours after visiting a First World War cemetery. “But at this moment, we must meet the challenge to our ideals, to our very international order, with strength and conviction. I come here today to say we must never take for granted the progress than has been won here in Europe and advanced around the world.”