December 19th, 2007

Our Man in Moscow

Posted in Geopolitics, Reading by ed

Time Mag has named Vladimir Putin its Man of the Year. Interesting.

He gave a remarkable speech this past May, quoting and broadly echoing FDR’s famous “quarantine the aggressors” speech at Chicago in 1937. The theme then and now was international law, such as it is, and the need of civilized powers to band together against the aggressors. For FDR in 1937 the targets were Germany and Japan (which had just invaded China). For Vlad seventy years later, the target was the United States.

Here is Putin’s speech. Here is Roosevelt’s. Remarkable, eh what?

The Time piece (linked above) repeatedly reports that Putin has little charm. Yet if one watches the video interview, one sees humor, charm, intelligence, and an ability to converse on his feet reminiscent of Bill Clinton.

One can’t help but compare … The United States is led by a prairie apparatchik stuffed with paranoia and small ideas, operating behind a folksy yankee/cowboy schiz competent to run a tavern. Russia is led by a competent statesman.

Here is a piece capsulating Putin’s rise and the gnat’s life of democracy in Russia by Sergei Kovalev, who labored in the vineyards of Moscow as a democrat in the 90s before things fell apart.

Kovalev says he knows no one who likes Putin personally, but that his grip on the reins seems secure for the duration. Current plans are for Putin to move from the presidency to become prime minister next year.

My own affections for Putin are rooted in my fear and loathing of Bush-Cheney. Since we cannot control the latter ourselves, we need somebody overseas to do it for us. Our Man Vlad.


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  1. Ilidas says:

    Striking, indeed, to compare the speech in Munich with FDR’s. If for many there had been a “sting” in seeing Putin on the cover of Time, perhaps more complex thought processes have mitigated that sting somewhat, while at the same time bolstering the realization that a new age of autocracy is upon us, with its own rivalries and complexities. The great value of Kovalev’s piece (thanks for the link, Ed.) lies in its capable reconstruction of historical context, into which he places the man Vlad.

    December 23rd, 2007 at 2:31 am

  2. Conversation » The World’s in love with War again says:

    [...] note that Vladimir Putin recapitulated in conscious paraphrase a good part of it at Munich in February 2007 — substituting, however, for Japan and Nazi Germany, the United [...]

    June 30th, 2010 at 10:06 am

  3. Conversation » Obama’s new Space policy:Shades of JFK says:

    [...] condition of modern states, taking clear cue here from FDR’s speech at Chicago in 1937. (Vladimir Putin would do the same in 2005 while trying to organize international opposition to the Bush-Cheney [...]

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