More thoughts on the man many Democrats (and some Republicans) love to hate…
Putin is essentially a straightforward, reliable and exceptionally inventive man. The Russian president is clearly a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist.
A most interesting take on Vladimir Putin, by Sharon Tennison, who (unlike most of those who comment on him, many of them negatively) has had personal experience with the man, and 30 years of experience living and working in Russia. Well worth a read! Among her comments:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin obviously has his faults and has made his share of mistakes. Yet, my experiences with him, as well as what I have heard over the years from people I trust –– including U.S. officials who have worked with him closely –– indicate that Putin is essentially a straightforward, reliable and exceptionally inventive man.
“The Russian president is clearly a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became the Russian Federation’s second president…
“In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous U.S. officials and American businessmen who have had years of experience working with him –– I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as ‘brutal’ or ‘thuggish,’ or the other slanderous terms used to describe him in Western media.”
Can we say, “yellow journalism,” boys and girls…?
While her treatment of Putin himself is fascinating – and I believe, excellent – one of the real gems of this piece is found toward the end, when she questions what our (by which I mean, the Western, and especially U.S., “dominant narrative,” not necessarily what readers of this blog believe!) treatment of Putin says about us. In a section entitled “Understanding the Misunderstanding,” she asks,
“So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia? To paraphrase Shakespeare, is it a case of protesting too much?
“Psychologists tell us that people often project on to others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow” when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.
“Could this apply to nations as well? Is this why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?
“Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?
“Could it be that we condemn Russia’s corruption in order to ignore the corruption within our corporate world?
“Could it be that we condemn their human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven’t resolved our own?
“Could it be that we accuse Russia of “reconstituting the USSR” because of what we do to remain the world’s “hegemon”?
“Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don’t want to face it?
“Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?
“Could we be accusing Russia of election-meddling because we do this ourselves?”
Touché. If we do not stand accused by these questions, we are either blinded by ideology, or simply aren’t paying enough attention.