This is not good news but it is a nice turn of phrase:
Western politicians who struggle to understand Vladimir Putin should bin intelligence reports and buy some good biographies of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas I. Putin is a classical Russian nationalist; his rule is autocratic (to the gratification of the majority of his subjects) and he has re-forged the historical alliance between the government and the Orthodox Church by imposing socially conservative laws and repressing the homosexual-rights intifada. Like Catherine the Great and Tsar Paul he has Mediterranean ambitions. Unlike them, he faces negligible opposition from a bankrupt European Union and a geopolitical illiterate in the Oval Office who makes Jimmy Carter resemble Bismarck. We should not be surprised if, by the time the EU collapses, the Mediterranean has become a Russian lake.