Our globalist leaders may have deprecated sovereignty since the end of the Cold War, but that does not mean it has ceased for an instant to be the primary subject of politics.
Christopher Caldwell, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, notes, “this is not going to be a talk about what to think about Putin, which is something you are all capable of making up your minds on, but rather how to think about him,” and continues,
“Our globalist leaders may have deprecated sovereignty since the end of the Cold War, but that does not mean it has ceased for an instant to be the primary subject of politics.
“Vladimir Vladimirovich is not the president of a feminist NGO. He is not a transgender-rights activist. He is not an ombudsman appointed by the United Nations to make and deliver slide shows about green energy. He is the elected leader of Russia — a rugged, relatively poor, militarily powerful country that in recent years has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled. His job has been to protect his country’s prerogatives and its sovereignty in an international system that seeks to erode sovereignty in general and views Russia’s sovereignty in particular as a threat.
“By American standards, Putin’s respect for the democratic process has been fitful at best… Yet if we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the pre-eminent statesman of our time.”
In short, Putin is doing what a national leader should do: looking out for the best interests of his country, and his people. Those of us who admire him, admire him for that reason – not because we think we will always agree with him, or are naive enough to think that the interests of Russia will always be congruent with those of the West, or America in particular.
When our interests are opposed, we should act accordingly – though not in a knee-jerk or foolish way. We need to exercise rationality, discernment, and discretion, none of which seem to be strong suits of the contemporary Left.
But we need not, and should not, view him – or the Russian Federation – as an enemy, or an adversary, or even necessarily and always as a rival. There will be many times when our interests are common, or at least complementary. When that is the case, we should also act accordingly. And it is certainly foolish, and dangerous, to ratchet up the tension unnecessarily, or for domestic political reasons.
[My suspicion is that the American Left is simply congenitally incapable of believing that they lost the election – all by themselves, by their own words and actions; that a sufficiently large percentage of the American voters flatly rejected the Democratic candidate, Party, and platform to hand an electoral victory to the current President… so the outcome must have been the result of Russian meddling. It’d be silly if it wasn’t so sad – and so dangerous.]
The Russian Federation may not be the superpower that the old Soviet Union was, but it is certainly a Great Power – a very great power: large, populous, and militarily powerful – and must be respected as such. And its President should be respected as a strong and capable leader who takes his country’s interests seriously, as any good leader should do.
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