It might be labeled "The Smirk." As we know from our teenage years when we were bullied, subtle derision can be the cruelest cut of all.
Instead, Putin borrowed a page from the Trumpism playbook. That's to just make fun of the enemy. Even the Drudge Report now is leveraging that powerful tactic.
For example, as this media coverage describes, Putin refused to boot American official types from Russian territory.
Instead, he smirks about what he perceives as dumb moves by the lame duck administration of Barack Obama.
Obama is exiling 35 Russian diplomats, censuring Russian intelligence and closing down two Russian-owned compounds.
In a sense, Putin is positioning and packaging that as Obama's getting his undies in a bunch. The smirk delivers the humiliation of making Obama the victim of a diplomatic wedgie.
Along the line, Putin praises Donald Trump, who has taken on the role as America's president. Yes, there has been the phenomenon of America's Two Presidents.
In the process, those of us in the public relations business ask: Is Obama delivering the death blow to his legacy - both in history books and in his obituary in The Economist? Will the latter start out with, "Shamed by Machiavellian Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama lost much of his influence in both domestic and world affairs. He went gently into the night out of the White House."
Clearly, the diplomacy game is changing. Those advising U.S. and global players have to analyze Trumpism.
In addition, they should reach back in time to the rigid Machine Politics of urban areas such as Jersey City, Philadelphia and Chicago. A useful read is this book about Jersey City's Mayor Frank Hague. He said, "I am the law." He meant it. He got away with it. So might Trump et al.
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