Many years ago, when President Reagan faced down the Russians with far superior weapons than Russia could afford and at a time when they couldn't even keep up with their military payroll, Mikhail Gorbachev saw the ominous portent, and as the Berlin Wall began crumbling, many in America, including prominent politicians, hailed it as a new day in Russia.
They started talking about a new American-Russian relationship, a new association based on mutual trust and benefit, a normalization of interaction involving commerce and at least a moderate form of democratization of the Russian political system.
As the Russians pulled back from the Balkan countries and the old Soviet Union shrank, it appeared, at least to the vulnerable, that at last they were entering a new era of respecting human rights, ready to end the cold war and relax the nearly three quarters of a century nuclear tensions between it and the Western World.
But Russia invented the bait and switch, the art of deception. Where we Americans think in terms of months, the Russians think in terms of decades, and they are very patient in achieving their goals.
Russia, for all its bloody civil revolutions and decimating wars to shake off the Tsars has still maintained a monarchy of sorts. They never have a true representative government and are always ruled, sometimes from the shadows, by the person who can gather the most power around themselves, maintaining a ruthless strongman who will resort to whatever means necessary to retain control.
As Gorbachev's perestroika came in, much of the old KGB and well-connected political hierarchy took over energy, banking and most of the lucrative commercial endeavors in Russia – a short step from KGB thug to Russian Mafia thug – and Vladimir Putin, by doing whatever it took, climbed to the top of the pile where he remains today.
Russia is still a dictatorship, is still bent on being the world's greatest military power, and at least in my estimation, is still intent on reconstituting most of the old Soviet Union.
Vladimir Putin has no fear and no respect and no love for the Obama administration – or for America for that matter. We have always been the fly in the Russian ointment.
Had it not been for a few strong Americans bolstering a sick and war weary president Roosevelt, Russia would have occupied all of Europe after the Second World War, and anybody who thinks that the Russian taste for expansionism has been sated, better think again, Ukraine and Crimea notwithstanding.
Putin's major problem, at least from what I see, is that Russia basically has a one industry economy, and when oil prices drop, so does the Russian military budget.
While ideological politicians and liberal journalists looked at the disbanding of the Soviet Union as the end of Russian aggression and the threat of mutually assured destruction, Russia was simply calling a time out to let America and the Western World breathe a little easier, lessen the emphasis on defense, while they build up their own military technology and hardware.
Well, the bear is back, unmuzzled, belligerent and ready to reclaim what they consider Russia's rightful place at the head of the table, and the timidity and reluctance of Obama to do anything more than verbally ask Putin to “cut it out” has done little to curb the new voracious Russian appetite.
There will be a new sheriff in town starting January 20 and as to what his attitude and response to Putin and Russia will be is, as yet, unknown, which is not surprising since the Russian situation is continually in flux and requires a day-to-day assessment.
But if President-elect Trump does what he says and revitalizes the energy production in America, seriously reducing our dependence on any foreign imports, the world market will most likely continue the international oil glut, which is really bad news for the Russian economy.
He has also promised to rebuild and seriously strengthen our military, which can't be comforting for Vladimir.
So, I look for Putin to be testing our new president in the very near future, and first impressions are important.
It will be interesting to see which way it goes.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
Charlie DanielsTop of Form
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.