His whole image mirrors that of the Russia he’s tried to create since he came to power in 2000: sovereign, strong, and unbowed by Western heckling. Putin, like the Russia he leads, likes to make decisions on his own terms. And he may very well lash out if the West demands he come out of that corner with his tail between his legs. This causes him to dig in his heels and resist at all costs, or to lash out. Because Putin, and Russia, do not follow commands, and they do not dance to the beat of Washington’s drum.