How does a country economically crushed so badly over the 1990s, rusting in the economic shadows of 60 to 70 years of Communist economics for too many years and currently around one eigth of the GNP of the United States be seen as more effective and with a greater impact on geopolitical security than the United States?
The answer is Vladimir Putin. He is the only leader backed thoroughly by his people who effectively and consistently told Obama to take a hike when US interests collided with Russia’s. He is the only one who has had the guts to thoroughly accuse publicly many European leaders as being in the pocket of Washington. He is the only leader of significance who gets away with it and stays in power, year after year.
As a Canadian, whose country is dominated by US pressures more than infrequently, it is amazing to see. The last time any Canadian leader asserted a major difference in policy was way back with Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien and John Diefenbaker as prime ministers.
While his country was facing crushing economic sanctions, he redefined the Middle East catalyzing peace talks on Syria, exposed certain Turkish elements for supporting ISIS and got ISIS on the back foot while Obama dithered too much on sufficiently going against these terrorists.
He also stopped the US from putting their own people into Damascus, called it like it is that the Ukrainian governance supported by the US is too full of fascist elements. He added even that these Ukrainian elites are much more corrupt than key Russian oligarchs proven by the fact the Ukrainian elites stole billions Of US approved development money that even Vice President Biden is crying about but that PM Yats does little about.
Washington refused to listen at all for the most part to Putin and has paid a major price. The full bill is not fully in. Ukraine has proven a debacle for the West and bottomless pit of failure for the most part.
Putin also got the US not to invade Syria over chemical gas attacks which further evidence indicates are the continued work of ISIS rather than the Assad government.
He, as well got China’s and India’s top leaders to show up in Red Square on “revolutionary” day parades while Obama intensified crushing pressure to isolate Russia.
He also took a whole chunk of Europe, Crimea away from another European country which is now considered a fait accompli after a belly full of aching and protest by Washington. This had not happened for several decades in Europe though Crimea was part of Russia up to the 1950s and a referendum was held on its Russia reintegration albeit not probably in full accordance with UN standards.
Even John Kerry is almost singing the praises of what Russia has done in Syria and has shown increasing worry of the US becoming isolated from some of its NATO partners over Russia. Europe is now majority against sanctions or interested in lessening them.
Obama has show hubris over Putin and Russia and can be now or soon be added to the list of major leaders badly defeated by Russia though not in the battlefield. This writer warned US advisors not to be so aggressive with the Kremlin over Ukraine.
That advice similar to Henry Kissinger’s was rejected – sadly.
Finally, Trump who Obama keeps saying will not be elected has said positives about Putin in the face of aggressive policies by Obama against Putin and almost all US media continuously and without interruption vilifying everything about The Kremlin leader. This makes US policy towards Russia look irrational if not bigoted.
It is simple when it comes to Russia, Obama has badly read it and I say he has been badly informed by Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe including Russia.
If he had listened to experts like Stephen Cohen instead of getting them hounded and isolated and other top independent experts, he would not be facing such a defeat on the Russian front.
That being said he has done well on Cuba and East Africa and got the trans Pacific trade deal signed. But Europe has not been an area of strength while to be fair, the Middle East is easily a minefield. But how he let Putin end up being the outside top problem solver statesman in the world has to be seen as surprising.
Something needs to be learned from this and a shake up in his foreign policy advisors on these two regions may be necessary if he wishes to improve his legacy regarding these two areas.
Certainly Europe needs better attention regarding Russia and getting the North American-European free trade deal better worked out. Enough said and it appears Kerry at least has been coming to his senses on better dealing with Putin and Russia for some months. More progress will be needed.