To the Editor:
If President Obama thinks he’s going to stare down Vladimir Putin, he’s sadly mistaken.
If John “Why the Long Face” Kerry thinks he can assuage Putin, forget it.
What needs to be understood is that Putin hates the West and views the dissolution of the USSR as humiliation. All the conciliatory efforts since are viewed as nothing more than handing one their hat after you’ve knocked their block off.
Putin enjoys an 80 percent approval rating in Russia. Most of his popularity can be attributed to the Kremlin’s image makers. Apparently Putin is being cast as the embodiment of Max Otto von Stierlitz, a dashing fictional KGB character, not unlike our James Bond, which might explain these macho photo-ops that he delights in.
It seems to follow, if he relishes the role of macho man, he probably has a narcissistic personality, and this is when it becomes troubling. Narcissistic personalities have an inflated sense of their own importance and an inability to take criticism or tolerate slights. They feel entitled to do whatever they want.
Putin has felt slighted by the West and doesn’t feel respected in the world order. It doesn’t sit well with him. There lies the danger.