I think there was a considerable evolution in Putin in some ways over that period of time, particularly since the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, which I think Putin saw as a direct threat to his own control in Russia.
He’s doing this so that he can rerun again in four years or whatever it is.His personal relationship was always a fairly even-keeled one with President Bush 43, with George W.Bush—at least in my experience of watching them directly.He always gave us more credit than we deserve for careful conspiracies. He’s a cynic about people around him, and sometimes about his own population as well.But I think that was the lead-up to the Munich speech, which was a very pugnacious exclamation point on what was a gradually accumulating set of frustrations and grievances on his part. Control is what he attaches the most importance to. He's quite capable of playing rough and taking calculated risks.But he had come to the conviction by early 2007 on the Munich speech that American policy was essentially aimed at undermining him, no matter how cordial his personal interactions might be with President Bush. When Putin became president, quite unexpectedly, I think he did begin with the notion that he could help engineer the restoration of Russia as a major power, as a kind of partner of the United States.But there was always, at least in my experience, a fairly fundamental disconnect in terms of his outlook and his view of Russia’s role in the world and the U. role in the world and that notion of equal partnership, which the power realities would never bear out.I assume that you all knew that as well, and it created complications. You learn, at least my experience with Russia over the years, that there are few certainties.But I always thought there was a very significant likelihood that Putin was coming back, and it was always clear that he was calling the shots on big issues.But that was his perception, and it was the perception of lots of people in the Russian political elite in the run-up to the Munich speech.As is often the case with policy directions, you’ve got to keep it simple, and in the wake of the Georgia war at the end of the summer of 2008, U.