During his presidency, George W. Bush said plenty of goofy things inadvertently, but the dumbest thing he ever said on purpose was his claim to have looked into the soul of
Putin is letting his Russian soul show through quite openly these days, particularly with his support of Syrian President
All of this -- plus Russia's belligerent reaction to a proposed European missile defense system -- is reminiscent of the bad old days of the Cold War. Of course, there are differences; Russia is not the superpower the Soviet Union was and Putin, for all his ruthlessness, is not a pathological tyrant and mass murderer like Stalin. But certain patterns are the same. The Russians are still picking their friends among the world's most repressive regimes. They are still paranoid and certain the West is ready to gang up on them. And, like the communist apparatchiks before them, Putin and his team assume everyone is as diabolical, power-hungry and duplicitous as they are.
Though not as bad as it was 50 years ago, trying to deal with the Russians is still a frustrating, infuriating and occasionally alarming proposition. Old habits die hard.
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