Remember these words, when Bush “looked into Putin’s soul”, and liked what he saw?
“This was a very good meeting. And I look forward to my next meeting with President Putin in July. I very much enjoyed our time together. He's an honest, straightforward man who loves his country. He loves his family. We share a lot of values. I view him as a remarkable leader. I believe his leadership will serve Russia well. Russia and America have the opportunity to accomplish much together; we should seize it. And today, we have begun. . . . I will answer the question. I looked the man in the eye. 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; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue. . . . We share our love for our families. We've got common interests. And from that basis we will seize the moment to make a difference in the world. That's why he ran for the presidency, and it's why I ran for the presidency.”
George W. Bush, 6/16/01
How wrong was Bush?
“Under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, people who fraternized with foreigners or criticized the Kremlin were "enemies of the people" and sent to the gulag. Now there's new legislation backed by Vladimir Putin's government that human rights activists say could throw Russia back to the days of the Great Terror. The legislation, outspoken government critic and rights activist Lev Ponomaryov charged Wednesday, creates "a base for a totalitarian state." . . . The bill would add non-governmental organizations based anywhere in the world that have an office in Russia to the list of banned recipients of state secrets. The government has repeatedly accused foreign spy agencies of using NGOs as a cover to foment dissent. . . . Under current treason statutes, some NGOs are not considered "foreign organizations," meaning a person who passes a state secret to an NGO might not be considered a traitor. Some of Russia's most prominent right activists, including Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Civic Assistance director Svetlana Gannushkina, said the bill in fact gives authorities the power to prosecute anyone deemed to have "harmed the security of the Russian Federation." It is "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler," the activists said in a joint statement — legislation that "returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s." . . . The legislation expands the definition of treason to include damaging Russia's "constitutional order," and "sovereignty or territorial integrity." The activists believe each proposed addition cynically targets potential threats to the Kremlin, shattering what remains of civil society in Russia. Activists said expanding the term "constitutional order," would effectively outlaw opposition protests. "Territorial integrity" would forbid anyone from calling for independence or perhaps autonomy, an issue of particular concern in the volatile North Caucasus where Chechnya is located. The bill broadening the definition of state treason is the latest in a series of measures taken since Putin's rise to the presidency in 2000 that have systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet political freedoms. Rights group say that rollback has shown no signs of stopping since Putin, a former director of the KGB's main successor agency, became prime minister and his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, assumed the presidency.”
The next time a former president’s recovering alcoholic, ex-cocaine addict son needs a job, let’s give him a slot on “Celebrity Rehab”, not two terms as president.