"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul." Former President George W. Bush after first meeting with Vladimir Putin
I think many of us look at Russia President Vladimir Putin with a weary and skeptical eye, even when he seems to be doing something good, such as recently working out a deal to have Syria's president Bashar Assad to give up his country's chemical weapons to international control.
I prefer personally, to go by the old saying, that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and with Vladimir Putin, I do not trust the man. Bush's former endorsement of him probably escalates my distrust more than relieves it. Saying that, I really do not know if he is good or evil, and I do not judge anyone evil unless he or she proves it by his or her actions, i.e. Osama bin Laden.
President Putin on the other hand has not done anything evil that I know of, though his involvement in evil acts has been suspected in the past but not proven. He has done a few things that I believe were wrong, and or, showed his true character.
His signing into law anti-gay measures meant to arrest gay people or even anyone who shows support for gay people, is the one thing I detest about him the most, especially as a gay person myself. It shows he has little respect for LGBT members or equal rights. Recently he declared in an op-ed piece he wrote to the American people:
"We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
It would seem to me that Putin should heed his own words when it comes to gay people; they are also different. The word "hypocrisy" comes to mind to me while reading his op-ed.
Sometimes political leaders evolve, such as our own president did, but then, Obama was not trying to have gay people arrested as Putin is doing now.
Perhaps his view of the United States government affects his support for the anti-American governments of Iran and Syria, but I believe it has more to do with the kind of government that he likes and what he wants for his own country.
What he longs for I think, is a return in some ways to the old Soviet Union, especially when it comes to controlling the people of his nation and keeping them under his thumb. Putin also has made it clear that he thinks the United States government should not push their weight around, and I have to agree with him on that one point.
One exception would be capitalism, I am sure Putin does not want to go back to an economic system that starved his country. He will do what he needs to keep his country prospering, and that means dealing with the world's largest markets and the world's highest leaders, including the President of United States.
I believe what makes me distrust President Putin the most is something he did, which was more on a personal level, not political, and which enabled me, "to get a sense of his soul" also. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says Russian President Vladimir Putin stole his Super Bowl ring. Kraft says he pulled the ring out to show it to the president and then Putin put it in his own pocket:
“I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring'." said Kraft. "I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Later, the Bush White House intervened and persuaded Kraft to give the ring to the Russian president as a gift. Personally, I think it is a little hard to give someone a gift they had already took.
Let me just add here: President Bush should have told the Russian president to act like the president he is, and not like the thug, he used to be, under the KGB, and give Mr. Kraft back his ring. He should then have added, "You wouldn't want to cause an international incident over a stupid ring, would you?" I am certain that it would have angered Putin to no end but the Russian president would have respected the straightforwardness and candor of an American president enough he would have returned the ring with apologies, and with haste.
The main point I am making is that his action of taking the personal property of Robert Kraft was to me, a window into his true character. Vladimir Putin does not act like a true president when he steals the belongings of others. Call it a gift all you want but Putin took the ring without permission, he knew what he was doing when he put it in his own pocket and walked away. It was a show of power but in the pettiest way; the kind of power a bully shows over a victim.
The Russian president is now on the world stage with his proposal for Syria to turn over their chemical weapons to international control. If he is successful and Syria's government does comply with the proposal, I will find a bit of respect for him, though still, not enough to listen to him when he speaks to us Americans, lecturing us, as he did in his op-ed.
That word again keeps popping up in my head, "hypocrisy". Putin should get his own country's human rights record in order before preaching to other nations; he can start by repealing those anti-gay laws.
This is a republish from my website:Fidlerten Place