I must admit that the title of this post is one of my favorite expressions. I was taught to like it (and its absolute truth) by my mother who applied it to many family situations. I guess it goes along with the adage “that a leopard can’t change its spots). Anyway this morning it seems to apply to the snowy beginnings of yet another day in the horrible winter of our discontent. The winter just won’t quit. Refuses to change to Spring. In yet the same way the same could be said for Russia which never seems ready for prime time, although it attempts a couple of auditions along the way. Yes the Russians have heartily embraced with full arms the “capitalistic” model. Individual creed is good and judging from the business practices of many Russians they could be auditioning for parts in Wolf of Wall Street Part Two. The Kremlin even seemed to be more open to intellectual exchange and freedom the press. All these happenings would have been unthinkable in the old USSR. The West came to view the new Russia much more favorably. It was a place replete with economic opportunities. Also it seemed that Russia was forgoing its former upfront military type foreign policy.
How wrong all those idiots were in thinking that a leopard could change its sports particularly when the leopard is being led around by the like of Putin. Putin is the new Russian cult of personality and in my view is the most dangerous Russian leader since Stalin. At this point, given his actions you have to wonder if Putin is really all there? This entire Crimea crisis is unnecessary. Russia in no way was in danger of losing it vital sea base in Crimea. It was having its way in Crimea in most ways but Putin wanted more. I don’t think it’s entirely wrong to compare Putin to Hitler. Just remember the way that Hitler justified his annexations in the name of ethnic compatibility. Actually is quite scary. History indeed does repeat itself.
If you accept my building premise that Russia indeed has not changed and that as more time goes by we will recognize that the old USSR seems to be emerging. What the United States must decide is how to deal with the new reality. It really doesn’t matter much what Putin does in Crimea. But it matters much what he can and likely will do in other places. The world is a complex place and to have a guy like Putin in charge of a moody and dark people who are just eating up their new-found reputation as big bully on the block is not a good thing for the West. Anybody remember when you had to “duck and cover” because the Russians were hitting us with nukes? The more things change it seems the more they do stay the same. Spring will be hard to come by.