Putin is a better match for Kim Jong Un than Trump ever was

Putin clearly wanted to give Kim a good picture of what an alternative to Trump might look like. Given how many more values Kim shares with Putin than the American president, Trump needs to act fast to turn Kim’s straying attention back to Washington if he wants to salvage his faltering relationship with the North Korean leader.

What Putin, a fellow autocrat accustomed to wielding unchallenged authority, has to offer Kim is self-evident. He is a leader with none of the baggage of Trump; he has no Democrats bearing down on him, no concerns over subpoenas, congressional investigations or a looming election that threatens his very grip on the presidency. Putin seems destined to remain in office all but indefinitely — much like Kim himself or Kim’s even closer ally, Chinese president-for-life Xi Jinping…

Indeed, Putin in many ways has never been stronger. Surging oil prices in the wake of Trump’s new crackdown on Iranian oil exports promise to all but neutralize one of his few vulnerabilities: Western sanctions over his seizure of Crimea designed to cripple Russia’s economy and the foundations of his power. With oil — a major Russian commodity — on the rise, Putin now has the means to continue to work his will everywhere from Syria to Eastern Ukraine with little fear of further repercussions.