Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen during a meeting with and German chancellor (not seen) in Normandy Barriere hotel in Deauville on June 6, 2014.
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty

So much for Russia ‘gaining prestige and influence’

Tea Party favorite Ben Carson wrote an item earlier this year praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and noting how impressed he is with Russia’s direction under Putin’s leadership. “Russians seem to be gaining prestige and influence throughout the world as we are losing ours,” the Fox News contributor said.
As the European Union considers further sanctions on Russia for its role in the standoff in Ukraine, Russia is broadly unpopular in many countries around the globe and increasingly disliked in Europe and the United States. President Vladimir Putin’s leadership also continues to inspire little confidence worldwide, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The former Cold War power’s negative global image contradicts Russians’ expectations that Putin’s actions in Ukraine would improve their country’s international reputation.
It also contradicts the line from American conservatives who believe Putin is a great leader and strategic mastermind, positioning Russia as a global leader on the international stage. For all the Republicans inclined to draw hearts on their Putin photos, the Pew Research Center found Russia’s reputation deteriorating practically everywhere on the planet.
What’s more, majorities or pluralities in most of the 44 countries surveyed “say they lack confidence in Putin to do the right thing in world affairs.”
“Russians seem to be gaining prestige and influence throughout the world as we are losing ours”? Um, no.
Meanwhile, Putin’s foreign policy, such as it is, continues to unravel. Julia Ioffe reports on the striking developments in Ukraine:
As I wrote back in May, now that he’s sown chaos in Ukrainebut uneager to participate in someone else’s civil warPresident Vladimir Putin has thrown the rebels under the bus. In June, rebel leader Igor Strelkov said that “Putin betrayed us,” and that betrayal has only deepened as Kiev launched its all-out offensive last week. Moscow, having started all this, has offered no help to the rebels. 
The betrayal, it seems, may be even nastier than that. According to a Ukrainian security council spokesman, the Russians have sealed their border, shutting down three key crossings. Not only are they not letting men and materiel into Ukraine from Russia, but they’re also blocking men and materiel from flowing in the opposite direction. That is, the very men that Moscow has riled up to the extent that they have taken up arms and are ready to die in order to get the region out of Ukraine and into Russia are not welcome to seek refuge in Russia. (Not even, it seems, the ones originally from Russia.) A group of 300 fleeing rebels reportedly even came under fire by the Russians as they tried to escape into Russia. 
It really wasn’t that long ago that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) gushed, “Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles.” Rudy Giuliani said of Putin, “That’s what you call a leader.” Even Mitt Romney hailed the Russian autocrat: “I think Putin has outperformed our president time and time again on the world stage.”
Sure, Republicans, tell us another one about Putin’s alleged genius.