As a political and diplomatic stunt, it had all the characteristics we have come to associate with Mr Putin’s presidency. It was clumsy, childish, recklessly confrontational, and at least mildly psychotic. ~David Warren

Given that I have sometimes noted the similarities in the governing styles of Messrs. Putin and Bush, I might be inclined to agree with some of these descriptions, since I think almost all of them fit Mr. Bush perfectly.  Putin does have a tendency to be unduly confrontational.  Unlike Mr. Bush, he is also capable of adjusting and maneuvering that balances and augments his confrontational style.  This is one of the reasons why Russia’s international position has been improving and why Putin is as widely supported as Bush is widely disliked.  But clumsy?  Childish?  Certainly, it was a symbolic move, and one we might associate more with the late 19th century and the Great Game, but it is a huge improvement in subtlety and execution from the incompetent handling of the Kursk disaster.  In a country where our President has been known to offer such gems of wisdom as, “Bring ’em on,” I find it difficult to declare this action to be childish.  Compared to what?  Rudely imperialistic?  I suppose that would be a fair description.  Most of these others do not apply.