Trying to figure Putin out

(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

It’s a challenge in the extreme to put oneself into Vladimir Putin’s skull or into what passes for the Russian dictator’s heart. I have sought to inject myself into both places, but I cannot find my way into or out of either of them.

So … I am left only to wonder what goes through his noggin or that thing he calls a heart.

Putin is now a worldwide pariah. At least in most of the world. He’s got his friends in China, Belarus, Syria, Iran and North Korea. The remainder of Earth’s civilized world is aghast, appalled and astonished at the invasion he launched against Ukraine.

The madman is bombing cities and inflicting deliberate harm to civilians. When was the last time that happened in open warfare? World War II? The Germans and Japanese started that fight, but the rest of the world finished it. I concede openly that our side brought terrible suffering to civilians, too. And, yes, terrorist organizations around the world have done the same thing in the decades since the end of WWII.

The flashback has returned in real time in Ukraine.

What does someone such as Putin think when he reads that his standing among world leaders has sunk to such depths? Does it bother him? Does it inject in him any sense of reason, or any sort of shame that he has done this to innocent victims while bringing shame to himself and his country?

I suppose it’s becoming clear that Putin wants to swallow up Ukraine. French President Emanuel Macron reportedly has said that is Putin’s precise goal, to conquer the whole country and bring it back into the Russian fold or, at the very least, install a puppet government in Kyiv to do his bidding.

The rest of us are left to offer prayers for Ukrainians and their leaders while also sending intensely bad karma to Putin and his thugs.

That’s all I — as an old man sitting far away in my comfortable home — can offer.