Vladimir Putin, especially these days, is widely reviled. To some he’s a war criminal, to others he’s a dictator, and to many he’s simply a very bad man.

But it wasn’t always this way.

We trawled through video footage from 20 years of international summits, speeches and news conferences and discovered a man who once basked in high regard: the one who went fishing and dancing with George W. Bush, who fell into warm embraces with Tony Blair and whose jokes had NATO’s leaders rolling on the floor with laughter.

As the Opinion Video above starkly reveals, Western leaders once considered Vladimir Putin not just an ally, but also, apparently, a friend.

Even if they were simply giving him the benefit of the doubt for political purposes, they were taking a naïve gamble of historic proportions: Be nice to Putin, and maybe he would be nice back.

It’s true that this brand of personal diplomacy scored some significant security victories. Arms control treaties were signed, and Putin allowed U.S. jets to strike the Taliban from bases in Russia’s satellite states.

But as Russian tanks rolled into Georgia in August 2008, Bush learned that his eight-year friendship with the Russian leader had earned him zero leverage over Putin’s territorial ambitions.

While it’s debatable whether Western governments could have foreseen the bloody horizon of Putin’s vision, let’s now be clear about one thing: Personal diplomacy doesn’t work when you need it most.

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48 Responses

  1. he warned them about Ukraine and their expansion. Everything started to be chaotic when Ukraine militarize and lean towards the Western. In the way I see he is open to trade and corporate but he is also rigid about Soviet's legacy(territory) as he was born in the age of Soviet and trained to become a Soviet's agent.

  2. And what about american goverment ? NATO distroyed so many countries for all this years but nobody care about it. Since the Second World War, around 3 million of people were killed because of NATO. BUT WHO CARES ?

  3. РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД РУССКИЕ ВПЕРЁД

  4. The sad facts that Putin actually tried to ally with NATO and the west but when he saw that we constantly undermined Russia and treated them like the enemies he must’ve realized that the west needs it’s enemy to push our politician’s agendas. If only we had honest politicians and sane people in power, the world would be a different place now.

  5. putin is devil/satan, his hobby is 6 million murders!
    evil nasty cruel dude has no spouse bcz he's extremely sadistic. entire time his obsession is to eliminate America!
    rusia wants to destroy AMerica!
    u have to physically fight rusia today!

  6. Took clips not from or remotely close to current day or current problems and manipulated them to be taken in the context of current issues we face today. This is the problem of monopoly media look at all you rabid dogs in the comments they love laying eggs in your brains 🙂

  7. DEAR MR.X
    THE VIETNAMESE GORVERMENT STILL KEEPING MINE PHONE SOFTWARE. DON.T WANTA SEND INFORMATION TO MINE HUSBAND & YOUR COUNTRY
    ⚜ THEY DON.T SEND MINE PHONE TO YESHUA VO TRONG NHAN 1996
    THEY TRYING TO HACK ME & NHÂN

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