putin_on_the_ritz

Putin is a putz.

Yes, that Putin, Vladimir, present for life and eternity in Russia.

Perhaps heads of state should be afforded a little more respect but this guy is really getting on my nerves.  First and foremost he has protected President Assad in Syria because Russia has a big economic stake in that country, making.

Next he allowed Edward Snowden to roam freely around Russia although he was a fugitive from a so-called ally.

And to complete the Terrible Troika, he supported blatantly anti-gay legislation in Russia.

Now here’s a guy who constantly has to remind us that despite his small stature, he is a manly man.  He loves to be photographed hunting bears and the like whilst shirtless.

You would hope that this manly man felt good enough about his sexuality that he wouldn’t torment LGBT members and supporters but no, he decided to once again appeal to his rigidly old world base and thumb his nose at the other G20 countries who are moving towards marriage equality.

Putin should have checked his calendar.  The Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russian in early 2014 and this has taken a domestic story and made it very international.

Harvey Fierstein, a very OUT Broadway actor, wrote an extremely thoughtful editorial for the New York Times that created parallels to Hitler hosting the 1936 Olympics during the build up of the Third Reich.

Fierstein pointed out that Putin signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children not only to gay couples but also to any couple or single parent living in any country where marriage equality exists.

Earlier, he signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals that they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or pro-gay.  In addition, he signed yet another antigay bill classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography.

Fierstein called for the threat of an Olympic boycott to get Putin to retract the policies but a tough guy like that isn’t going to back down and a boycott will mostly hurt the athletes.  President Jimmy Carter imposed a boycott during the 1980 summer games in Moscow and all it did was deprive American athletes of the opportunity to compete in the event of a lifetime.

There is a boycott going on against Russian products, especially Vodka, so much so that the Russians are saying Stoli isn’t really Russian because it’s bottled in another country.

Many people are suggesting that they move the Olympics back to Vancouver where it was held in 2012 but I don’t see that happening.

I would love to see NBC renegotiate the price it’s paying to televise the event, by claiming that Putin has degraded the product and fewer people will be watching.

Of course, that’s not going to happen either and in fact, there are going to be a lot of people tuning in just to see what happens when visiting athletes defy the new law in Russia by wearing Rainbow patches and other signs of dissent.

Interestingly, President Obama took the spotlight away from Putin in the past week by naîvely declaring publicly that he intended to attack Syria to punish Assad’s government for using chemical weapons against his own countrymen.

It will be remembered as a great misstep of the Obama Presidency because you don’t stick your neck out like that unless you know for sure that your allies and your own congress and your own party have got your back.

What the Israelis did in a similar situation was to totally destroy a nuclear facility in Syria in 2007 with no fanfare.  In fact, they never claimed responsibility for the attack and Syria couldn’t condemn Israel without admitting that they had the facility and couldn’t protect it.

The same thing would have happened here.  American rockets could have destroyed the sites where the gas is being stored and Syria would have gotten the message that a red line had been crossed and it wouldn’t be a good idea to try to do that again.

Irony of ironies, after a much publicized Big Chill between Obama and Putin leading up to the recent G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Putin might have bailed Obama out of this political nightmare by organizing a negotiated ban on chemical weapons in Syria.

I’m guessing Putin called his buddy Assad and said something like, “Look Tovarich, I need some help here and you can make both of us look like reasonable fellows and teach Obama a lesson in political brinksmanship.”

As if we could rely on Assad to keep his word about anything but we might know by the time this column runs if Putin’s stratagem worked.

Even if it does, I’m not going to let up on the guy after his Terrible Troika.  He’s already a laughing stock in progressive circles and a suggestion on the NPR show Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is that as punishment, he should be forced to sit through every Ice Dancing event in Sochi.

I’ll drink to that, and it won’t be with Russian vodka!