With all of his arrogance and bravado, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has really gotten his nation into a serious conundrum. Putin believes he is the ideal leader for the world, much less the European/Asian nation. He has been repeatedly been named “Man of the Year” by various international publications.

Russia is considered an economic power, based on its military strength and raw material potential. The term “potential” is very important. There is definitely a void in the leadership of this nation since the first term of Putin. His corrupt cronies and other rascals started exploiting a lax prosecution process and raiding precious financial pillars for personal gain.

Quite a few billionaires have popped up since the ascension to power of this very confusing man. As in the United States, a president can serve only two consecutive terms. Putin got around that by setting up his loyal friend, Dmitry Medvedev, to follow in his place after the first two terms. Medvedev was simply filler, holding down the office and the nation until Vladimir could legally step back in for a new two-term run. In essence, Russia has returned to a dictator state. Not one nation in the entire world or the United Nations questioned this activity.

The most embarrassing thing for the United States is that President Putin appears to have no respect for President Barack Obama. He is like a schoolyard bully, and our president is like a punk refusing to deal with this wild, out-of-control and old-style despot. This was clearly demonstrated when this ego-tripping bad boy decided that he was going to show the world just how tough is he. He invaded the Ukraine and stripped this sovereign nation Crimea, which controlled 40 percent of its land. He did it despite all of the protests and outrage from around the world.

Putin knew that the United Nations could never get around Russia’s veto if any formal action were taken by that body.The most confident thing he had going was that President Obama has proven himself to be very, very timid when it came to physical showdowns with belligerent nations. He couldn’t get up enough courage to “slap” Syria’s President Bashar Assad when he crossed Obama’s line in the sand by bombing his own people with chemical weapons.

Russia has been losing its grip on its neighboring nations compared to the days of the old Soviet Union. Putin wanted to restore such prestige, which was actually feared among the neighboring satellites composed of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He wanted to return to the days of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. All the member states of the Soviet Empire feared Stalin tremendously, and it was that which Putin felt was missing from his swagger. Based on Obama’s timidity concerning the Syrian crisis he decided to make his move. He set up a scheme which peeled off the Crimea region from the government of the Ukraine and sent his troops (disguised as rebels) into the Ukraine. This was an act of total aggression and, in fact, war. The world was shocked, and held many meetings of protest. But Putin, who can read a weak soul as if it was a wet rag, knew he was going to win this show.

There was just one thing the bully Putin didn’t put into the scenario: What if the free world decided to put economic sanctions on Russia until he withdrew the aggression against the Ukraine? He probably thought they were too afraid to do that just like those during Stalin’s days.

That would be consistent with how his nation has fortified its economic system. Somehow, he believes that because Russia is self-sufficient in oil and gas he can use that advantage to mess with any neighboring nation that was dependent on access to that energy at a reasonable price. He never saw it coming. It did not dawn on him how proficient the United States has become in energy production. Our oil supplies and gas reserves, thanks to new technology such as hydraulic fracturing and other 21st-century technology, have made the United States, his rival, the energy king of the world. Within a very short period, we, his rival, have been able to manipulate the price of energy to all-time lows. That doesn’t hurt us. In fact, our industries prosper from the low cost of energy.

Conversely, Russia is totally dependent on having the advantage of energy supply to the point they dictate the price and gather in the profits. Putin’s customers are now coming to us and other oil producers. Russia is on the verge of becoming broke. The sanctions are taking their toll as the “want to be old-school” communist nation has entered into a recession, and it is apparent that a depression will hit Putin’s fiefdom in the short term. Just like the old Soviet Union, he never thought that capitalism meant that much. President Obama has whipped him.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO, of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: halford@nationalbcc.org

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