VOLK: Vladimir Putin is a classic schoolyard bully who must be stopped, not appeased

Tony Volk, Professor of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University, had a piece recently published in The Toronto Star in which he compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to a schoolyard bully.

He writes:

“They’re aggressive, arrogant, selfish individuals who prey on those who often can’t or won’t defend themselves. They scheme and thrive on power imbalances in service only to themselves. 

They’re bullies, and unfortunately most of us have been forced to deal with one at some point in our lives — often in the schoolyard, but sometimes as an adult in the office, at home or elsewhere. 

I’ve studied bullying in children and adults for nearly 20 years. Watching the situation in Ukraine unfold, I can’t help but see Russian President Vladimir Putin as a classic schoolyard bully (albeit with access to nuclear weapons).

Just like the bully who calculates the potential cost of shaking down a classmate for lunch money (detention?) versus the potential benefit (free lunch!), Putin has determined that seizing Ukraine is worth the economic sanctions imposed by the global community. 

Like the bully, he has targeted a victim unable to strongly defend itself, and the schoolyard heroes who often step in to defend a victim and stop the bully — in this case NATO countries — haven’t been forceful enough to stop the bully yet.

Should the invasion of Ukraine be successful and not result in any meaningful consequences, it’s likely that Putin will choose another victim before long. Bullying rarely stops on its own. It almost always ends in one of two ways: either the bully realizes the benefits of co-operation, or someone stops the bully.”

Continue reading the full article on The Toronto Star website.

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