Recently Vladimir Putin, current head of the kleptocratic gang that controls Russia, demonstrated that a leopard can't change its spots. In Putin's case, he hasn't even tried to change. His attitude, his tactics, his strong-arm methods all attest to the fact that he is an unreconstructed KGB thug. Putin's homily to the United States arrived in the form of an op-ed in everyone's favorite newspaper, "The New York Times," on the anniversary of 9/11.
If the ineptitude of the Obama administration provided Putin an opportunity to saunter to center stage and play the great diplomat intent on resolving the Syrian chemical weapons problem, the blatant hypocrisy of his words now risk achieving the opposite. The verbiage sounds like vintage Putin and is reminiscent of the classic Soviet propaganda that nurtured his youth.
This is a man who presides over a regime that stifles dissent, murders journalists who dare oppose him, dispatches FSB assassins to foreign countries to harass and murder opponents, who lectures us piously about the sanctity of the United Nations where "decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus" when it was he who invaded Georgia and ordered military operations in Chechnya that amounted to genocide and gave impetus to the Islamist rebellion that now has engulfed the Northern Caucasus.
He then offers up another whopper when he claims the Russians "' are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law." He then contends that "' the law is the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not." This statement must have elicited guffaws from his own countrymen. Of course, it is Russia that supplies Syria with modern weapons systems, including the latest anti-aircraft missiles, artillery shells, etc. etc. etc.
And finally, he decries American exceptionalism, noting (it can but be with sarcasm) that "God created us equal." Uh huh.
Apparently Putin could not resist the opportunity to rub Obama's nose in his own mess the way a dog's owner might train a puppy. This was a mistake, but one that a man with Putin's deeply flawed personality could not resist. Putin's litany of lies and insults can only bring domestic support to Obama that he otherwise would not merit. He may have blown a golden opportunity.
What is required for a solution to the Syrian problem is quiet diplomacy and cooperation, agreement on solutions and goals, and mutual weight applied to the appropriate pressure points. What definitely is unhelpful and unwelcome is a strutting bully berating his victim.