“THE 80’S CALLED AND THEY WANT THEIR FOREIGN POLICY BACK”: Oh how they laughed at the zinger from then-President With The Greatest Trouser Crease Ever. He assured us even back then that “the cold war has been over for more than 20 years.”

But look at the world now.

My close friend and former teammate at Bloomberg News, Rob Urban, is something of an Eastern Europe specialist, and in the early days of Bloomberg Urban helped build many important bureaus, from Moscow to Prague to Warsaw. His piece, published a few months ago speaks the wisdom of the witness:

“The strongman image was especially effective after Yeltsin, who walked slowly and stiffly because of a bad back, and was frequently intoxicated. When he had run for re-election in 1996, I remember footage of him riding a snowmobile on vacation and it really looked like he was strapped to the machine, just a body flopping around. Then came Putin, bare-chested, on horseback.”

Nobody I’m aware of in the political media have asked Obama if he regrets that “joke” or “insult” (depending on your point of view). But anyone who uses idiotic phrases like “the Putin Price Hike” to explain away our own flaccid economic policies knows literally nothing, and are likely to believe that Putin magically sprang up upon the election of Donald Trump. They are dead wrong.

** Note that you have to register to read the entire Independent article, but’s free.