From time to time, there’s a must-read article worth posting in its entirety or a majority of it in tact. This is one of those articles.
Those who underestimate Russia’s Vladimir Putin do so at their peril.
In the West, many see Russian President Vladimir Putin more as a schoolyard bully than a ruthless tyrant. He’s mischievous and unfriendly, but his behavior, we tell ourselves, is the result of insecurity. If we ignore him, he’ll grow out of it. Many are amused by and even admire Putin’s personality and behavior. He is the John Wayne of world politics: decisive, uncompromising and masculine. He is the antithesis of the soft, politically correct Western politician. He’s traditional, conservative and pragmatic in a world growing ever more liberal, secular and dangerously idealistic.
But we must not be deceived by Vladimir Putin.