Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Putin and his soul are growing tiresome

By
From page A11 | March 07, 2014 |

It’s hard to believe how much time we have spent in recent weeks musing about Russian President Vladimir Putin. And we still don’t have a clue what his end game is.

The first (and only) time I met Putin, I tried to look into his eyes to see if I could ascertain anything about his soul. A la George W. Bush who said of Putin, “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

I saw nothing but two cold beady orbs. Let’s be honest here, the cynical Putin resembles the ultimate James Bond villain more than a modern major potentate.

Putin turned the Olympic Games into a soap opera about him. We fretted about the horrific corruption in Putin’s regime. Then we worried about terrorism springing from Russia’s war with Chechnya 300 miles from the games. We recoiled from the weirdly colored hotel water.

We feared Putin’s response to the losses of his beloved hockey team. We were upset that Russian police arrested two members of Pussy Riot, the not-particularly talented but intensely anti-Putin singers. We were appalled at the anti-gay restrictions of Putin’s government and giggled when he inadvertently hugged a lesbian medalist.

And then Ukraine erupted into violence, its pro-Russian puppet president fled and the world held its breath, waiting to see what Putin would do.

The former KGB colonel held war games, started making threatening noises and ordered troops to surround Ukraine’s small military outposts. Then he ordered Russian troops to show force in Crimea, part of Ukraine.

To Secretary of State John Kerry’s astonishment, Putin denied there are Russian troops on alert in Crimea. Putin said he has no intent to start a war but warned he just might have to use force to protect Russian interests. He signaled he might support Ukrainian elections. But he insisted he must protect Russia’s Black Sea Fleet off the coast of Crimea. He denounced Ukraine’s new government, calling it “the people who call themselves the government.” He lashed out at the United States, blaming the West for all the trouble.

Putin is an extremely tiresome person.

We are now scrambling to recall how imperialism started the World Wars I and II and what the Crimean War in the 1850s was all about and seeking European understanding on just what Putin’s motives are. (Europeans don’t know but suspect he wants to reassemble the Russian empire. They’re also worried about irritating him because his country provides a lot of their natural gas.) Some of the pundits are even suggesting this is a restart of the Cold War.

The United States and Europe are treaty-bound to protect Ukraine from invasion or Russian force. Meanwhile, Ukraine is totally out of money, so one idea to defuse the whole mess is to pour in billions of dollars. (Americans on food stamps may be on precarious territory; unstable but strategic foreign governments are on firmer ground when it comes to federal dollars.) And when in doubt, we usually go with economic sanctions and then we cancel international meetings.

Putin is centuries too late to go down in history as Vlad the Terrible or Vlad the Impaler. But clearly he wants a big chapter. Putin the Impenetrable doesn’t really work, but Vlad the Invader is a distinct possibility. Vlad the Diplomat seems unlikely. (Vlad the Stupid is a personal favorite.)

In our age of celebrity worship it always comes as a bit of a shock when somebody famous can wreak havoc on so many people with such insensitivity and such ferocity, getting thousands of minions to do his dirty work. Perhaps Putin didn’t think this through. Probably even he doesn’t know how it will end.

We are trying to assess which is more tedious — the cold temperatures and snow of this dreadful winter or figuring out the Russian bear. It’s a tossup.

Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may send her email at [email protected].

Ann McFeatters

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • patrickMarch 07, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    I think it was the loss of the hockey game to the USA. after the games Putin went into the Crimea. Adolf Hitler had the same reaction after a loss. remember the 1937 Olympic games when a black us boxer defeated the best German boxer?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • HistorianMarch 07, 2014 - 7:17 pm

    Jesse Owens was a runner, not a boxer.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • HistorianMarch 07, 2014 - 7:23 pm

    And Max Schmeling knocked out Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, in the 12th round, 1936.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895March 08, 2014 - 2:47 am

    But in the 1938 rematch, Louis KOed Schmeling in ONE round. The following year, Hitler invaded Poland to start WWII.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickMarch 08, 2014 - 2:24 pm

    RLW895, THANK YOU---Patrick, I just got the year wrong. born in in 39

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

1 hurt as rash of Fairfield shootings continue

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Random thoughts on getting older by Annabelle . . . and Susan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Work progresses on freeway interchange project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano College grad becomes Marvel superhero

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Caltrans announces planned I-80 closures

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
French guitarist brings world music to The Palms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Bay Area Stage readies ‘Mockingbird’ production

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Let’s take a 2nd look at 1st cars

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bike to School Day poster contest begins

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Youth talent, scholarship awards dinner set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Free 8-week Journey Through Grief class set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Audubon Society to hold talk on blackbird decline

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

SF hospital performs rare chain kidney swap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
El niño might not be enough to help Ca drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Covered California down overall but up among youth, minorities

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
App developers take a swing at playgrounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

GOP legislator enters race for Boxer’s seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Device in ‘Superbug’ outbreak not approved by FDA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
States on edge about the future of health insurance markets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Freight train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Supreme Court allows for compassionate release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Off-duty officer accidentally shoots relative

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Student protests block access to campus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Air Force veteran who saved orphans in Korean War dies at 97

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Experts: Ferguson must move quickly to rebuild public trust

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Plane skids off LaGuardia runway, slams into fence near bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Father tells jury about boy’s death at Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Hillary Clinton email trove under review for release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Homeowners group denies playhouse for cancer-stricken girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Report: Suicides by girls and young women continue to climb

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attack on US envoy part of S.Korea’s violent protest history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Floods kill 42 people in Tanzania, authorities say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraq says Islamic State militants ‘bulldozed’ ancient site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Companies form coalition to conserve during drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: March 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Should I tell my coworker that her romantic emails are being read at work?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 6-12, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Elizabeth McCracken wins $20,000 short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dying wish comes true: Dutch woman with ALS sees Rembrandts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Comedy Central’s ‘Too Many Stars’ means plenty of laughs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Jaime Camil shines as telenovela star on ‘Jane the Virgin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shania Twain to launch final tour in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ should never have started

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Second Best’ Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment calendar: March 6, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
Jones-Drew retires, Woodley released by Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Maddon makes debut with Cubs in spring tie with A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Hunter Pence breaks arm in Giants’ 8-6 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

As NFLPA election looms, Smith hopes to keep ‘boring job’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Ashley, McConnell lead No. 5 Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Holmes opens 4-shot PGA lead at Blue Monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local Report: Labit pitches SCC to win over Folsom Lake

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
A robust US job market is expected to keep delivering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Largest US banks all pass latest round of Fed ‘stress tests’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Michele Jarvis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Charles Thierry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Thelma A. Roche

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9