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Putin Showed His True Hand. The West Kept Shaking it.

Putin Revealed His True Hand to the World. It Kept Being Shaken by the West.

Particularly in modern times, Vladimir Putin is held in low regard by the majority of people. In the eyes of some, he is a war criminal; in the eyes of others, he is a tyrant; and in the eyes of many, he is simply an extremely despicable man.

However, things weren't always like this.

We searched through video footage spanning 20 years of international summits, speeches, and news conferences, and we found a man who was once held in high regard. This is the same man who went fishing and dancing with George W. Bush, who fell into warm embraces with Tony Blair, and whose jokes had NATO's leaders rolling on the floor with laughter.

The opinion video that can be found above makes it quite clear that Western politicians at one time regarded Vladimir Putin as not just an ally, but also, it would appear, a friend.

Even if they were only giving him the benefit of the doubt for political reasons, they were taking a naive risk of historic proportions when they thought that if they were good to Putin, he might be nice to them in return.

It is absolutely true that this style of personal diplomacy was successful in achieving several major security successes. Arms control accords were negotiated, and Putin gave the United States permission to launch airstrikes against the Taliban from Russian bases in states that are satellites of Russia.

But when Russian tanks advanced into Georgia in August of 2008, President Bush discovered that his eight years of relationship with the Russian leader had not given him any power over Vladimir Putin's territorial ambitions.

Even while it's arguable that Western governments couldn't have seen the gory horizon on which Putin's vision was based, there's one thing that has to be brought to everyone's attention right now: personal diplomacy doesn't work when it's needed the most.


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