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Hillary has no Putin illusions

We don’t know how Hillary Clinton would handle Vladimir Putin. But she may get the chance.

Putin’s third term as president of Russia will not expire until May 2018, and he has not ruled out running for another six-year term after that. Besides, Putin has a record of staying in power no matter when his titles expire.

Clinton could be inaugurated as president in January 2017, should she choose to run and should she win. And by that time, given Putin’s in-your-face adventurism, the western border of Russia could be somewhere in Poland. And the eastern one in Alaska.

What does Clinton think of Putin? We have a hint. When she was campaigning for president in 2008, she made fun of George W. Bush’s extraordinarily naive comment that upon meeting Putin for the first time, Bush said he “looked in his eyes and saw his soul.”

“I could have told him, ‘He was a KGB agent. By definition, he doesn’t have a soul,’” Clinton said.

But jokes such as that are easy to make when you are just a candidate. Clinton went on to lose the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, and she became his first secretary of state.

CONTINUE READING THIS COLUMN AT SUNTIMES.COM