"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."
- President Bush, June 2001, in reference to a meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Not so much anymore.
Let's get a quick review of what's been going on with Putin.
In May, 2001, Putin met with the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. What did they talk about? Creating an alliance against the U.S. as the only super power in the world. Ouch.
The budding romance is revived in July 2006 when Chavez visits Putin. What did they talk about? Putin wants to give lots of weapons and equipment to Chavez. Plan was finalized in weeks. Rut Roh.
Soon after, we have the always memorable Chavez speech at the U.N., "The United States empire is on the way down" and Bush is "the devil." ...and they want to pursue nuclear technology.
In light of those ominous stories, this week has been...
What was that? I can't hear...what? Anna Nicole Smith's autopsy is inconclusive? Hold on, let me shut the media door.
Much better. Now, a quick look at Putin's travels this past week:
Feb. 8th - Meeting with the special envoy of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Akbar Velayati
Feb. 12th - Qatar festivities
Feb. 12th - Putin meets with Saudi officials
Feb. 13th - Meeting with President of the Palestinian ational Authority Mahmoud Abbas
Feb. 13th - Putin in Jordan
Wait, wait. Back up one. Didn't Abbas and Fatah just hook up with Hamas?
This doesn't look good. Putin's all practically crackin' a cold one with with Chavez and Ahmadinejad (who don't like us), wants to knock us down a peg himself, is chatting with the newly-joined Palestinian family, and has made advantageous visits to the Middle East where feelings on the U.S. are an emaciated husk, securing favor and gas/oil conversations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Either Putin's playing a superb game of international chess or it just looks like a revenge conspiracy to rinse the taste of cold war collapse out of his mouth. I don't think Bush has left the country that often since he was elected the first time.
Is this about oil? Gas? World domination? Or is this all a lovers quarrel, a proverbial poke for an unsettling Angry Pirate?
But if nefarious mind of Vladimir Putin should again think to travel diplomatically (just in case it has to do with blowing up the world or stealing all the oil/gas), he should know that despite the battle over the body of Anna Nicole Smith, someone will be watching.
We know your secret. WTF?
Binge, No Purge
1 hour ago