The tsunami of bad news for Vladimir Putin on the foreign policy front this week was so overwhelming as to make it seem like a nightmare. But it was oh, so very real.
For the first time since Putin came to power, a majority of Americans told Gallup that they see Russia as an enemy. Putin’s effort at propaganda in the New York Times was such a spectacular failure that the paper itself, in a virtually unheard of move, attacked him for it.
Ukraine thumbed its nose at Putin and declared its intention to join the European Union, a hop, skip and jump from NATO membership.
Belarus and Russia entered a state of open economic war.
And Putin’s policy towards Syria was openly mocked around the world. Everywhere, people were asking: If, as Russia claims, Syria’s government did not use chemical weapons against its people, then why is Russia forcing Syria to disarm?
If you thought Putin could look to the domestic front for solace, you thought wrong. 2013 will be the sixth straight year in which Russian GDP growth has fallen from the year before, and 2014 will open in all likelihood with Russia entering a double-dip recession as a debtor nation barely able to make ends meet.
Putin’s foreign policy has left Russia isolated all around the world, a pariah state with only the likes of Iran, Syria and Venezuela for allies. His domestic policy has left Russia impoverished and collapsing. He is a disaster everywhere, all the time.