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Vladimir Putin's Rise To Become The Go-To Strategist
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Story By: Larry Stine



  Originally Published on: 9/22/2013

Congressional republicans are criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama's handling of the Syrian crisis. They say there's no way to enforce the deal with Russia to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, adding it's clear Mister Obama has been out-maneuvered by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. As CNN's Jill Dougherty reports, the Kremlin boss may find himself as the new leader to go to for solutions to future crises. He rose from the shadows of the KGB to the highest office in the Kremlin. Now, Vladimir Putin, master strategist, is using that same skill and determination to make himself a key player on the world stage. The go-to man with a plan to solve the Syrian crisis, and, perhaps next, Iran. New Year's Eve, 1999, a bomshell announcement by President Boris Yeltsin that he's reigning and naming Putin as his political heir. Vladimir Putin, an unknown, reserved man you might not notice in a crowd. But looks can be deceiving. "He is a very wiley tactician." Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institution, co-author of the book, "Mr. Putin: Operative of the Kremlin." "Putin banks on the fact that people are going to mis-ascribe certain things to hum, that they are not going to pay attention to things that he says or that he does," says Hill. "They are going to misinterpret them. Then he has even more added element of surprise. He can make the bold move and he can take advantage of other people's miscalculations about him." Russia's economy was staggering, but Putin, with the help of soaring oil prices, paid off Russia's debt and stabilized the economy. Russians were living better, even if corruption, and Putin's grip on political control, tightened. After the maximum two consecutive terms as president, he switched jobs to prime minister, putting Dimitry Medvedev in the Kremlin. Then, in 2011, another maneuver, he announced he was running for president again, igniting major protests in Moscow and other cities. In a series of publicity stunts, Putin relishes the role of "man of action." Putin is very good at judo and what is the whole point of judo? Is is leveraging. It's being able to use your own weakness to your advantage by having your opponent underestimate you. It's about being able to get the other person off guards. And, it's about being able to use the strength of your opponent against them to get them down onto the mat. I think that's what he has done with the United States. As the crisis in Syria deepened, Putin railed against U.S. military action, but seemed unable to stop it. The, the chemical attack in Damascus. With President Barack Obama struggling to get Congress to approve military action, Putin made his move. "We really hope that our friends in Syria take this repsonsible decision and agree not only to bring their chemical weapons under international control but also to have them destroyed," said Putin. A deal Obama accepted. Putin also penned an op-ed in the New York Times, jumping feet first into the U.S. debate over Syria. A debate that's back in the United Nations Security Council where Russia has veto power, just where Vladimir Putin want it, even if President Barack Obama reserves the right to take military action. "In a major speech this year, Vladimir Putin predicted the wrold is heading toward more economic, political and ethnic conflict," says CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty. "Those who take the lead, he said, and those who lose. It depends on the will of the nation and its energy and passion. Vladimir Putin is intent on making Russia sovereign and influential nation with himself as its leader."
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