It was not unusual for the most powerful or influential Russian czars to have a moniker: Catherine the Great, Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible, to name a few.
Following in this tradition, Russia now has Putin the Sociopath.
If there were any doubts about V. Putin’s state of mind, the destruction of Malaysia Air Flight 17 over Eastern Ukraine should quash them. It is not just his outright denial of responsibility in the face of growing intelligence that he has armed pro-Russia rebels and provided technical training, stirred the pot by keeping a large force on the border with Ukraine and failed to dial down the rhetoric about a “fascist” government in Kiev, but he blames Ukraine for the tragedy that murdered 298 men, women, children and infants.
Mario Puzo’s Michael Corleone was a novice sociopath compared to the ex-KGB hack in the Kremlin. Although he lied about giving the order to kill his own brother-in-law and viewed the murder of his rivals as “strictly business,” at least the young Godfather did not kill innocent people.
Putin effectively pulled the trigger of the surface-to-air missile by encouraging the chaos and bloodshed that heretofore was primarily directed at combat units. Even if the Russian operatives on the ground did not intend to shoot down a civilian airliner – traveling at a non threatening altitude of 33,000 feet – Putin must answer for the deaths.
What is just as repulsive are those in the United States who actually admire this butcher.
Why do they?
For many of them it is about President Obama. Since Putin made him appear weak in the Syrian chemical weapon confrontation, he instantly became a hero in the eyes of the lunatic fringe. For what it is worth, Obama shot himself in the foot with his “red line” threat. Nevertheless, Putin has become a rock star in their eyes. These Americans are blinded by rage and hate.
President Obama’s international policies have been largely embarrassing over the last two years, but he has done a decent job of dealing with the crisis in Ukraine. He has been in no position to be too aggressive with sanctions because the EU countries, who rely heavily on Russia’s natural gas, have responded timidly lest they jeopardize their energy supplies. Without firm support from our major European allies, US sanctions will have little effect.
This may change. Europe cannot ignore the gravity of this senseless act and Putin’s attempt to cover up the role he played.
Putin must pay a price. The Russian people who support him must also feel pain. They keep this brute in power. Until they wake up and end his regime, they will also have blood on their hands.