"Fortune favors the daring. Right now, fortune for Mr. Putin comes, first, in the shape of Barack Obama. The Russian was bound to see the American president as the classic self-infatuated liberal, half as clever and twice as weak as he imagines himself to be. As a former KGB agent working in East Germany, Mr. Putin would have had training, and perhaps experience, in reducing these types to human rubble.
Nothing Mr. Obama has done since coming to office can have disuaded Mr. Putin from that impression. The US president isn't an impediment to Mr. Putin's ambitions. He's an opportunity. When else will Mr. Putin have an American adversary who thinks that foreign policy is a global popularity contest, and that it's OK for Russia to gain ground, territorially speaking, so long as the US retains ground, morally speaking? Could anything be better?"