President Putin is, if anything, a determined little bastard.
Fresh from seizing Crimea and laying siege to eastern Ukraine, he goes and helps a fellow Dictator win a civil war in Syria.
He’s dividing NATO by pairing off Turkey with gas deals, antiaircraft defences and the promise of portions of Syria.
And he’s just gotten away with flipping a US election in favour of a bellicose itinerant who thinks giving teachers assault rifles is a good way to stop school massacres.
Well done, Mr Putin.
You were dealt a poor hand – a crumbling union, military in shambles and an economy in perpetual downturn – and you’ve bluffed your way to the winner’s table.
The whole world rests on your next actions, as if the Russian Federation is so much more than the backward minerals dependant outfit we know it to be.
You keep scaring the wits out of our United Kingdom with bomber runs, submarine patrols and the odd extra judicial assassination.
And you’re even in line to see sanctions being lifted by erstwhile US ally New Zealand.
But you haven’t won yet.
France and Germany have drawn a red line just west of Donetsk, Britain is rearming like it’s already at war and the US has unilaterally taken control of Syria east of the Euphrates.
It’s a mess, and pretty soon someone will call your bluff.
You’re walking a fine line with Israel by aligning with Iran, your Syrian puppet is refusing to cede Afrin to the Turks and pretty soon may invoke the NATO alliance to defend an attack by Assad.
All the gas and oil in the world can’t buy you a win, it’s time to sit down with your adversaries and make a deal that’s more than the lies written on paper all the others have been.
Trust is in deficit after breaking the Minsk agreement, twice, and your ceasefire in Idlib clearly had expiry date in mind.
So what’s the plan, Mr President.
Dare I ask?
Because your latest gamble taking on the Americans in Syria using your private Wagner army flopped.
Over 100 Russian soldiers, claiming to be mercenaries, now rest on your soul.
If you still even have one, which is debatable.
But the world still thinks that somewhere in there is still a beating heart that prefers peace over war.
Remember when you got a gift of a puppy?
The smile on your face couldn’t be wiped off you were so happy.
So with your pet pup in mind, blindly loyal to a tee, let’s talk about a deal – a grand bargain if you will.
Take Crimea, Kruschev should never have given it away in the first place.
But withdraw your separatist militia from Luhansk and Donetsk, in exchange for Ukraine keeping Russian as an official language.
Accept free and fair internationally monitored elections, a UN peacekeeping force and autonomy for the Kurds.
Failing that, accept partition of that tragically troubled nation as inevitable.
Stop buzzing Britain with your impressive array of arms, and stop trying to influence America’s Democratic process.
In exchange you will receive a free hand in the Arctic to search and mine for gas and oil on the sea bed up to the ambit line of demarcation you are seeking.
Disown your fleeting connection to the hermit kingdom North Korea, and you might even be admitted to the new Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.
Because you know you’re overstretched, racking up debts debtors will eventually want to collect, and depriving your economy of much needed western investment.
We see your dilemma, ceding number two spot in the world to the Chinese, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you could just use some of that much neglected common sense.
Unlike your paranoid obsessive mind might suggest, the west is not encroaching on Russia’s sphere of influence, it’s just filling a vacuum that you left.
So stop retreating into your patriotic world of denial, NATO isn’t interested in Ukraine, it’s scared to death.
You have the guns, you have the will and the way – if you so choose it – to blow half of the entire world away in one day.
We get it, us little citizens of the west, that’s why we’re seeking an agreement instead of an apocalypse.
So make a deal, keep your friends close and steer clear of China.
Russian prosperity would be welcomed if it was peaceful.
Help us arm Vietnam and India, as well as begin to sail regularly in the South China Sea in defiance of Beijing.
Quit obsessing with Europe and the Middle East, instead look to the Pacific to help keep in check the new village bully.
Xi Jumping played you for a fool when you signed over minerals for cents into the dollar.
China is determined to redefine the global order in it’s favour, you’re just trying to protect what Russia already claims.
But, like all things politics, we’re probably just wasting our breath.
You’ll remain isolated, perpetually at war and in conflict with the west.
So think about it, genuinely, the choice is simple, either partner with Washington or try your luck with Beijing.
Russia can try and throw it’s weight around so much, until the free world calls a stop to it and actually calls your bluff.
The liberation of Ukraine and invasion of Syria are not beyond the remit of risk averse Washington.
Make no mistake, the west wants you to be dealt with.
Better it be at a table, rather than in the field of conflict.
Look closely at your hand, we know your bluffing Mr President.
So put your rattle sabre down and start talking like you meant it.
Washington wants Ukraine united not in pieces, and a democratic Syria not governed by a man who butchers his own people.
What do you want?
Now that’s a question we constantly ask ourselves.
We believe you want Crimea recognised as part of the Russian Federation.
If that’s right, it’s going to cost you.
A united Ukraine and democratic Syria.