Chrenkoff notes in this post how Putin might be a moderniser without being a liberaliser. He's probably right, and right to put him in with Peter the Great et al. But this isn't only a Russian phenomenon: a lot of people outside the West have historically looked at our technology - steamships and railways once upon a time, nuclear weapons and jet fighters nowadays - and thought they were the source of our strength. Nasser did it, Saddam and Kaiser Bill and the Japanese militarists of the 1930s did it, and more others than I can count. But our strength is in our free institutions, not in our toys, and there's a word for the kind of small persons who allow themselves to be impressed with toys.
The time came when Germany and Japan had to put aside childish things, and so will the rest. Chrenkoff is very quotable: "In doing so, they confuse the causes and consequences of the West's success and are thus bound to be disappointed, but not without a lot of heartache and disruption."
Childish beliefs, in a world with nuclear weapons, can't be allowed to survive.