"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.You were horribly mistaken, Mr. President.
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. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue. There was no kind of diplomatic chit chat, trying to throw each other off balance."
Contrast that conversation, where Bush egregiously misjudged Putin, to the state of relations today between the two countries, as a new cold war has become a reality. According to Townhall.com, Russia has now threatened neighboring Poland with a potential military response if they agree to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base.
This, on top of the recent incursion into Georgia by the Russian military to "rescue" its citizens in South Ossetia.
What caused the President to so horribly miscalculate Putin?
American hubris was rampant after the Soviet Union disintegrated...typical American arrogance (do you hear that, Barry Hussein Obama?). Our pride led to overconfidence; thus we dropped our vigilance to our former Cold War enemy.
In the past ten years or so, Putin has led Russia back from bankruptcy, established itself as a dominant oil power, and rebuilt its military. It is now relevant once again. Moreover, consider Russia's hand in the Iran nuclear fiasco: Moscow supplies fuel to Iran's nuclear reactor in Bushehr as well as providing missiles to Iran in the event of an Israeli or United States-led attack on its nuclear sites.
"The system would theoretically permit Iran to intercept some cruise missiles as well as airborne missiles that U.S., Israeli or other western countries might use in an effort to keep the terrorist-supporting nation from developing nuclear weapons or using them."Additionally, Russia and China have blocked efforts from the West to disband Iran's nuclear program.
As Rosemary Roberts of news-record.com states, the Russian bear is on the growl once again. They're looking to reestablish itself as hegemony in the region, whether it's flexing its military muscle in Georgia or Chechnya, controlling the flow of oil and natural gas to its European neighbors, killing dissidents, or threatening its neighbors.
Unfortunately, the United States is not only overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has the looming threat of Iran on its plate, as well as the very real possibility that our country is in dire economic straights. If there was ever a time for Europe to grow a set and 1.) united with the United States; 2) send a strong message to message, NOW is the time.