Devil’s Bargain

Brittney Griner. (Photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/AFP/Getty Images.)

Vladimir Putin’s reputation as a real-life Bond villain ain’t what it used to be.

The will is there. In terms of ruthlessness, Ernst Stavro Blofeld has nothing on a man given to bombing Ukrainian schools for sport. But what about talent? Putin’s fantasy of a new Russian empire has left his country marginalized economically, in steady retreat on the battlefield, and short 100,000 or so troops. He isn’t a master geopolitical chess player, it turns out.

Come to think of it, neither was Blofeld. Like Putin, his well-laid plans were foiled in the end too.

Bond villains are overrated.

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