Russian President Vladimir Putin stands with a gun at a shooting gallery of the new GRU military intelligence headquarters in Moscow, November 8, 2006.
Russian Presidential Press Service / Reuters

As Russian President Vladimir Putin once said, “A bear doesn’t ask permission from anybody.” Indeed, over the past two years, he has shown the world that he is a political bear—from land grabbing and perpetuating conflict in Ukraine to the recent military intervention in Syria. And yet, even as Western leaders have been angered and unnerved by Putin’s actions, conservative political figures in the United States have experienced a bit of Putin envy. While bemoaning U.S. President Barack Obama’s supposed weakness, for example, Sarah Palin seemed to pine for a president who, like Putin, “wrestles

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