Vladimir Putin is taking us back to the future.
The Kremlin is returning us to a darker and more dangerous era.
Four years ago this weekend, the Putin regime annexed Crimea from Ukraine, which represented the first forceful seizure of another country's territory in Europe since the Second World War.
And just shy of two weeks ago, of course, we discovered that former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter -- as well as a number of British first responders -- were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, England.
And that, according to U.K. officials, represented the first offensive use of a nerve agent on European soil since World War II.
Reintroducing territorial annexations and nerve agents to Europe isn't the only way Putin's Kremlin is trying to take us back to darker days of the past century.
Moscow's blatant support of xenophobic far-right parties has helped move Europe's fringe back into the mainstream for the first time since the 1930s and 1940s.
The pattern is clear. But why is Putin doing this?
We, of course, can only surmise. Trying to get inside the Kremlin leader's head, after all, puts one in a dark place where it is very difficult to see anything.
But my guess is that this regime believes that it cannot compete and survive in a world governed by rules, norms, and law.
It seems to believe that its position at home is weaker than it appears, and needs international crises to buttress its legitimacy and rally the population.
And it seems to understand that it is weak vis-a-vis the West, and thus must behave like a rogue to gain a measure of asymmetrical advantage.
It's a dangerous game for both Russia and the West. And we know, because we've been here before.