RON HART: Putin preens for the world with his Winter Olympics

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 03:45 PM.

So far, the death toll has been well within the margin of error for a Russian-run Olympics. By mid-games everything was running well. Even France stopped instinctively surrendering when they heard the starter's gun.

It is good to see Putin wanting to reintroduce his country to the community of nations. With his testosterone and his nukes, it is best we all get along with each other. An isolated and angry Russia would not be good for the rest of the world.

Back at home, Obama has started to channel his inner Putin with the way he has gone after his detractors. His IRS and Attorney General’s office have gone after "enemies of the statist" big time. It’s a sad day when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden feels safer in Putin’s Russia than in the United States.

As we once had with the Tea Party, Russia said it would allow citizens to hold protests in Sochi. Protestors would be allowed to voice their opposition views in designated protest zones, also known as Siberian gulags.

One thing is clear. The old Soviet Union is working its way toward American style, free-market democracy while we are running away from it.

Soon the games will finally end. What will endure is what we learned about the evolving Russia. Most Americans' understanding of world affairs is limited to eating at the International House of Pancakes. Unless we invade a country, we don’t bother to learn anything about it. Even then, we only learn about the country after we have occupied it.

When Putin’s other girlfriend douses the Olympic torch to end the games, there will be a welcome sigh of relief. Putin, a man who enjoys releasing pictures of himself shirtless, will be proud and smug in his assurance that, under his anti-gay policies, nothing will be allowed to be flaming too long in his Russia.

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