Earlier today, I watched several YouTube-videos aboutVladimir Putin, Some include footage of him walking. The video-hosts speculate on the reason Putin's right arm remains by his side, and why his right shoulder stoops forward. Media sources call it Putin's "gunslinger-gait," and suggest it started with his KGB training, when he carried a concealed firearm.

In the comments-column beneath the YouTube, a reviewer Raquel Löfstedt writes the following:

   I remember seeing him for the first time as he walked into a room. I told my husband, who used
   to work as a translator for Finno-ugric languages in the former USSR, "I bet that guy used to be
   in the KGB. He sweeps the room with his eyes, as if he were the bodyguard, not the guy being

What is the real risk of Putin-gunslinger types? To answer that, all we have to do is remember the opening scene of Goodfellas, when Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) says his famous line, "As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a gangster," We should realize we have a problem with Putin, far beyond the invasion of the Ukraine. In spite of American air-headed sympathy for the Ukrainians, admiration of rough-tough, gun-toting gangsters runs deep. The gangster touches people where they live in their toothless selves, as gangster wanna-bes.

If you doubt me, take a look at this plainly admiring photograph of Putin in the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, March 4, 2010. The German-language caption reads, "Sorry Hollywood. The better 'Rambo' is a Russian." For younger folks, "Rambo" refers to the Rambo movie franchise that starred Sylvester Stallone.

That he exuded gangster machismo in 2010 did not mean that we knew, at that time, he would go to war to restore the Soviet Empire. None of the Western politicians whom Putin deceived need to feel remorse for entertaining him. That he deceived so many politicians puts the West behind the eight-ball, just as Hitler and Tojo put an earlier generation of freedom-loving societies behind it. At the same time, we need to remember former President Lincoln's quote, inasmuch as you don't need to fool people all the time. If you can deceive them just some of the time, the people will have to pay through the nose to correct it.

Putin shook hands with leaders; he agreed to trade deals that benefited Western nations greatly, and our leaders trusted him the way they trust the leaders of other nations—to do the sensible thing and to share in the Earth's bounty and to benefit from each others' endeavors. No one knew he intended to wreck the whole thing and start a war. We just thought that whole gangster thing was a pretense. But now he and his entire nation will suffer the concequences. We will mourn Russia, the nation of Kandinsky, Rachmaninoff, and Tolstoy, as the Allies in World War II mourned Germany, the nation of Bach, Goethe, and Kant.

Hopefully someone will get to Putin, or he will run out of money, before anything worse happens.  Even so, it will take years to sweep up the wreckage he has already made. He probably won't even have the wherewithal to pay for the repairs. We will have to pay for them.