Dealing with someone as unpredictable as Vladimir Putin is like playing Russian roulette, according to political analyst Mark Halperin.
"It’s almost like dealing with the North Koreans,” Halperin said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “It’s Russian roulette with a guy who is just unstable and isn’t going to play by the right rules.”
Halperin, editor at large and senior political analyst for TIME, cited concerns that Russia's president was not in touch with reality and mentioned a call between President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
People briefed on the call told The New York Times that Merkel said Putin was "in another world." The report could not be independently confirmed by NBC News.
Halperin called the quote attributed to Merkel “the scariest thing I’ve seen in the last 24 hours.”
“President [Ronald] Reagan never faced a Soviet leader like this. This guy is ruthless,” Halperin added.
European and American leaders have roundly condemned Russia for taking control of the Ukrainian region of Crimea over the weekend.
"We are on an extremely dangerous path of escalating tensions. A change of course is still possible. There is still a chance of stopping Europe being split," Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Minister William Hague called the tensions Europe's biggest crisis of the 21st century.
First published March 3 2014, 6:17 AM