Andrew, with respect, I’m not persuaded that the problem here is that Cheney offended Putin’s tender sensibilities.
Putin has indeed been turning back the Russian clock. Under his rule, Russia is becoming dramatically less free and les democratic. The Russian press is more and more shackled. Civil society has been hobbled. Opposing Putin can land you in the slammer without anything resembling due process.
And if Ahmadinejad gets nukes, Putin’s policies will be a big part of the reason.
Yet Putin gets to be in the G8 — and even to host the G8. And then he slops mud on our slacks and you say that’s because Cheney pronounced truths that would have been better left un-said?
We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.