Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin | Canadian Dimension

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.

Source: Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin | Canadian Dimension

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.

How to Think About Vladimir Putin | Imprimis

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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.

Source: How to Think About Vladimir Putin | Imprimis

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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