The Russian bear, as in the old Soviet Empire, is back. My question: Why is anyone surprised? Look at America from the point-of-view of a dictator, such as Putin. Putin may not be a sophisticated dictator, like Khrushchev or Stalin; but he’s a smarter dictator than Saddam Hussein. He can plan and think long-range. He has watched the U.S. endure the biggest attack in its history with no real response other than to settle an old score in Iraq. He has watched the “conservative” American leadership spend 8 years appeasing the terrorist nations of Iran and North Korea–“evil” nations by that conservative leadership’s own (initial) description. He has watched the out-of-power American “liberal” leadership–represented by Obama, poised to retake power for the liberals–unequivocally condemn the conservative leadership for daring to even engage in the pretense of asserting American power in its own self-defense. He has watched America continue to refuse to drill for oil or in any remote sense privatize the energy sector of the economy–keeping that sector of the economy essentially socialized and nationalized, policies that benefit dictatorial nations such as Russia (and its ally, Iran) who happen to have oil.
From the perspective of a smart dictator who wants to expand his ruthless power, what do YOU think HE’S thinking? Sure, we can send Condoleeza Rice on a helicopter to wag her finger at mean Mr. Putin (after appeasing him for 8 years). He knows we’ll do nothing more than this as soon to be former President Bush slumbers. John McCain can repeat his desire to throw Russia out of the G-8 group of “capitalist” nations, so long as liberal Democrats approve–but Putin knows they won’t, and he knows McCain probably won’t win the election anyway. And Barack Obama can likewise wag his finger, with a simultaneous wink to the anti-America/anti-war American left, saying, “When I’m in charge, we’ll have a U.N. article of condemnation, for sure!”
Now how do you think this all looks to someone like Mr. Putin? If you’re surprised by this turn of events, then I’m surprised that you’re surprised.