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.
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.