Vladimir Putin is an intelligent tactician, and in relations with him, the US must be assertive, said former US President George W. Bush in an interview with Fox News. The former head of the White House also noted that he really managed to “discern the soul” of Putin, but since then he has changed, turning into an “aggressive personality.”
The portrait of Vladimir Putin, which you wrote, is beautiful. I have his photo. And I remember your phrase that you looked into his eyes and saw his soul. Some believe that if anyone knows Putin better than the rest, then it’s you.
GEORGE BUSH – Younger, former US President: Yes, I know him quite well.
Are you surprised by what happened to Russia?
GEORGE BUSH-JUNIOR: When I talked about looking into his eyes and saw his soul, Russia was ruined. Not for long. And so, oil prices have risen – and Putin has changed. He is a very clever tactician. The problem is that in general, to most of the questions, he approaches like this: “I’m going to win, but the United States will lose.” So I’m not too surprised. He is a very aggressive person, and he wants to restore Soviet influence. Even though the Soviet Union is no more. Therefore, I always believed that it is important for the United States to be extremely assertive when dealing with Putin. Not belligerent, but assertive. It can not be underestimated.
And are we still sufficiently assertive or not?
GEORGE BUSH – YOUNG: You know, Maria, I already said that I will not criticize my successors. Earlier, when they told me that Putin was popular, I answered: “I would also be popular if I owned one of the large television networks.” Vladimir Putin is not criticized in the media, he has almost no competitors, so he has almost complete freedom of action within the country. Only here the economy in his country is not so strong, and the demographic dynamics is not so positive.