President Bush calls Russia’s President Putin his “good friend.”

After their first meeting in 2001, President Bush said of Putin, "I was able to get a sense of his soul.'' He even calls President Putin by his first name, Vladimir.

That’s all very nice. But is Mr. Putin nice?

Do nice guys get to be top KGB spies, as Mr. Putin was? Do nice guys throw folks in jail for supporting the opposition, as Mr. Putin has? Do nice guys cheer on foreign governments that repress democracy, including some that apparently have been poisoning their political rivals? Do nice guys chip away at free enterprise by throwing efficient business leaders in jail while allowing mystery companies to take over their businesses?

And finally, do nice guys accuse their good friends of terrorism for speaking out against these things? President Bush is a nice guy. That’s part of the reason he was just re-elected. But sometimes nice guys make a mistake by giving guys who aren’t so nice the benefit of the doubt.

So far, there’s not much doubt about the direction that President Putin is going. And there’s nothing nice about it.

And that’s the Asman Observer.

Watch David Asman on "FOX News Live" weekdays at noon ET.

David Asman joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as host of "Forbes on FOX," a weekend half-hour program that offers an informative look at the business week (Saturday from 11:00-11:30 AM/ET). Asman is also an anchor on FOX Business Network, where he co-hosts "After the Bell" (4-5 PM/ET) with anchor Melissa Francis.