Vladimir Putin has an image throughout many circles in the West as a cold, calculating, autocratic former KGB officer, who seems determined to return Russia to its past glory that he believes was flittered away by previous leaders.
His conduct during the recent crisis in Syria has done little to disbar this image from the international image. He has continued to back Bashir-al Assad in his murderous rampage against his own people, as Putin’s own government offers the token words of condemnation required of any Western government.
Many have blamed the decades of friendship that exist between the Russian and Syrian states.
I believe that Putin is missing a major opportunity to enhance his image both at home and abroad. Putin is known for his tough as nails, take no prisoners attitude. This guided him during the incursion into Georgia in 2008 and his rather fiery rhetoric against the United States wanting to be a dominant power.
It would fit with his character to take this same line with the Syrian leader, yet he appears unwilling to do so. He would earn respect by showing that he’s willing to go after his friends as well as his enemies.
By not doing this, he’s only confirmed the West’s fears that he’s nothing but a dictator dragging Russia back to the Soviet glory days.Come on Putin, aren't you man enough to scare anyone outside of Eastern Europe?