Source: Mike Malloy
For some inexplicable reason, the US government -- and some European nations as well -- believe Vlad Putin cares what we think of him. Despite repeated evidence to the contrary, the delusion persists that if we "punish" him for his recent aggressions, either with the threat of further sanctions should he enter Ukraine, or expulsion from the G-8 for his action in Crimea, that he will suddenly slap himself on the forehead and say "my bad!"
Does this seem even a tiny bit likely? It makes you wonder what foreign policy genius keeps devising these schemes to make Putin less, well, Putinesque. So what was Putin's reaction when he found out he was no longer welcome in the Big Boy's Club?
This is how The Guardian reports it:
"The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, shrugged off the loss of G8 membership as being inconsequential. 'The G8 is an informal club, with no formal membership, so no one can be expelled from it. If our western partners believe that such format is no longer needed, so be it. We aren't clinging for that format and we won't see a big problem if there are no such meetings for a year, or a year-and-half,' said Lavrov after his first meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Andrii Deshchytsia, at the margins of the global Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands."
Yawn ... hold my shirt while I wrestle this pair of tigers. I'm too sexy for these summits (sing along!)
The former KGB agent keeps his cards close to his chest, so it's near impossible to gauge his next moves. While he says he has no plans to invade Ukraine, he is simultaneously attempting a sinister PR campaign to posthumously rehabilitate the image of Joseph Stalin. Yes, the dictator who was responsible for the death of over 10 million Russian citizens.
"'Putin ... has deliberately manipulated the dictator's image to reinforce his effort to build a 'power vertical' in Russia,' the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank said in a report, referring to Putin's domination of Russia under a system that concentrates power in the hands of the president. Support for Stalin has risen in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gutted the social safety net, damaged national pride and left many Russians longing for the perceived order and stability of the Communist era.
"But Lev Gudkov, director of independent Levada Center polling group, said the biggest shift occurred after Putin came to power in 2000 and 'launched a comprehensive program to ideologically reeducate society.'
"'Putin's spin doctors did not deny that Stalin's regime had conducted mass arrests and executions but tried to minimize these events ... while emphasizing as far as possible the merits of Stalin as a military commander and statesman who had modernized the country and turned it into one of the world's two superpowers,' Gudkov wrote."
Remember when Raisin Brain said he met with Putin and looked into his soul? Maybe we could drag Dubya out of his art studio long enough to give us some insight. At the very least, we could perch Sarah Palin on her roof with a pair of binoculars so she can keep an eye on him.