EDITORIAL: Putin is Worse than Any Foreign Foe

EDITORIAL

Putin is Worse than Any Foreign Foe

If Bob Dylan, of all people, can agree to use his music to hawk Pepsi Cola, surely all things are possible, and we live in hope. But we continue to be amazed and disappointed at the failure of the Obama administration to reverse course on Russia.  Given the harsh criticism leveled at former U.S. President George Bush by Obama’s supporters, one would think it would be a no-brainer for them to reject Bush’s declaration that Putin was “trusthworthy” after having “looked into his eyes and glimpsed his soul” and start demanding that Putin respect human rights.  And yet, Obama remains silent.  In doing so, he betrays not only the interests of his own people but also those of the people of Russia, because their government, largely unopposed by Washington, is driving their economy to ruin.

Last week the Moscow Times reported:

Russian banks and companies earned as much as $25 billion using state bailout funds to bet against the ruble during its decline, Maxim Raskosnov, a fixed-income analyst with Renaissance Capital, said Friday.  The government in effect gave banks an indirect way to recapitalize as the devaluation lessened the impact of weakening asset quality, Raskosnov told reporters.

The Russian stock market is back in freefall.  The dollar-denominated RTS index had lost 100 points, over 16% of its value, between Monday morning and the close of trading on Wednesday last week.  The Kremlin was forced to admit that Russian GDP will contract by more than 2% this year, a major recession, but nothing compared to the 20% contraction that Standard & Poors has just predicted.  On Tuesday alone, Sberbank was down 14% and Surgutneftgaz, the countries fourth-largest oil producer, was down 15% (#1 Rosneft and #2 LukOil were both down 10%).  Mighty Gazprom was down 17% on the week.  On Wednesday, Sberbank shed another 7%, down a shocking 21% in just two days, and MICEX ruble denominated exchange had to shut down for an hour to staunch losses. The bank is owned and operated by the Kremlin itself and is Russia’s largest financial institution.  The ruble shed 2% of its value on Wednesday, pressing close to the outer limit of its trading ban and forcing the Kremlin to expend billions of dollars in currency reserves to hold it in check.  The IHT reported:  “The Central Bank set the official exchange rate for Thursday as 36.4 rubles against the dollar which is the lowest point for the ruble since January 1998 when Russia re-denominated its currency.”

In other words, Putin’s misguided policies are rapidly destroying the country.  Untold billions of dollars have been squandered to create artificial, transient “value” in the Russian currency and stock market.  Billions more have been frittered away on this ridiculous effort to save Russia’s failing banks.  And Russia continues on a frenzied course of military buildup and cold-war provocation of the United States.

None of this can surprise any seasoned Russia watcher. Indeed, even one applying a crude stereotype to Russia would expect exactly this result from a clan of proud KGB spies being placed in charge of the national economy. Naturally they’ll behave as they spent their entire lives being taught to do.

But Russia cannot afford this behavior.  It teeters on the brink of absolute destruction, and the people of Russia, if they care about their children, must stand and force the regime awayh from the abyss.

But they need help from Washington DC. They need a U.S. president who will stand up for basic human rights and common sense economic polices, who will look in Vladimir Putin’s eyes and see what is written there, as John McCain said, thre simple letters:  “K-G-B.”

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11 responses to “EDITORIAL: Putin is Worse than Any Foreign Foe

  1. I disagree with you on Obama…..

    Obama would be in the hands on the Kremlin by launching into cold war rhetorics because it would spike up gaz prices and this would take them off the hook.

    The Russians people are to blame here because of the fact they still fully support Putin , according to polls…Obama should wait until Russians wize up , then it would make it easier for him to raise the heat.

    I’ll give Russians until spring to take to the street since it is very cold right now.

    My guess is , our only hope for a collapse rest with a major brawl from the inside of Kremlin because the Russian people have been brain washed to not challenge Putin.

  2. You don’t serve your purposes well if you use your anti-Russian platform to promote your anti-Obama agenda. Please don’t use anti-Putinism as a crutch for Neo-Conservative, Cold War nostalgia. I know exactly what John McCain wanted in his relationship with Russia, Cold War II.a

    Also, please don’t insult the Russian people so much. They are after all provides of much of your quoted content. You can hate the government, that’s fine. Keep in mind that “Russian” is an ethnicity as well as a nationality, and when you make broad statements about Russian Stupidity, sometimes you sound really intolerant.

    This Intolerance is exactly what is being preached in Russia. Hate of Americans, not just America. It looks like Cold War II is getting personal, but it won’t make any less of a point or make you less effective if you focus on the politics and not the culture.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Idiot. Lots of human rights groups on the left are outraged by the Obama administration’s attitude on human rights:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090220/pl_afp/usdiplomacyasiachinarights

    We are intolerant of monsters like Hitler and Putin. If you tolerate them, you are as bad as they are.

    Your ignorance is an embarrassment to this blog while your arrogance in daring to suggest you can run it better than we can is simply hilarious. Please crawl back under your dark little rock.

  3. The Gray Communist Cheat is a worse enemy of the US than Putin.

  4. Marc, excuse me, McCain and the Neo-Conservatives were promoting a new Cold War? Get real. What part of Putin’s foreign adventures – Georgia, Ukraine, energy as a weapon, arms and nuclear assistance to Iran, cuddling up with Chavez, etc – and rhetoric do you not understand? It was Bush’s tolerance and naivety towards Putin that empowered the thug more.

    You really are clueless.

    Russians are the ethnicity in charge of Kremlin, Inc. and all that happe, which isn’t nice, to their minority neighbors. Sorry, but, Russians threw away all chance of a civil society with their own hands at every juncture since the rise of popular Putin. They have sat for years on their butts watching Putin dismantle their civil liberties one outrage at a time. He’s got an 70 to 83% approval rating depending where you look. That’s stupid.

    I don’t have a lot of tolerance for the far too many Russians that endorse, whether by willful ignorance or hubris, a thug like Putin. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for the far too many Russians that on a national tv poll put Stalin as third most important statesman. They should know better. That’s stupid.

    Past the high culture that was a European import in Russia’s imperial age, you tell me what has been good about Russian culture? In spite of the lame multi-cultural premise that all cultures are equal they are in fact not. My culture, American, is criticized all of the time. I can handle it.

  5. The problem is Russians , not Obama or the West.

    As long as Putin keeps 80% support from Russians , it makes it very hard to take him on and risk another cold war which would spike oil prices…..This is exactly what Putin wants.

    The smart thing to do is to take it easy now and hope the crisis overwhelms them , which in turns should see Putin rating drop.

    Putin needs to be weakened first…Once the people sees him as a liability , it will make it easier to take him on.

    I’m hearing many in the Russian army are ready to explode out of anger and this could really create a lot of problem….The money supply is shrinking fast and many are starting to plan what to do what now.

  6. True and true.

  7. LR: That’s right, calling people “idiots” left and right in any discussion is really mature and instantly proves all of your arguments.

    And yes, Obama’s wrong because he says NOTHING about Russia. Even Bush was different in the very beginning (or was it just a script written for him by someone else?):

    George Bush threatened in 2000 to cut off aid if Russia continued “killing women and children, leaving orphans and refugees” in Chechnya.
    http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/chechnya.html

    But this one was similar to Obama’s use of Darfur issue in his campaign (and once elected he’s now silent on the genocide).

  8. I’m an idiot? because I criticize your editorial bias? Is everyone who doesn’t agree with you an idiot? These are Putin’s words EXACTLY! Literally and Exactly. He calls everyone who doesn’t agree with him all of the time an idiot. And so did you. Do you feel proud of your blind rage? Just because someone doesn’t agree with you ALL the time doesn’t make them an idiot, but your reaction does make you intolerant.

    As for what is good about Russian culture. Russians have strong family ties, and they have a good tradition of hospitality (have you ever been to a dinner at a Russian’s home?), there are two examples. Yes, they are influenced by Europe, but guess what Penny, if you’re an American so is your culture. Your culture is a direct decedent of Western Europe too. You’re writing your hate in English, that’s a gift from Europe, at least the Russians have their own language.

    As for the Neo-Con New Cold War, do you people read anything other then your own blog postings? How about this, go to the search engine of your choice and type in “Neocon Cold War,” and you can read about it.

    LA RUSSPHBOBE RESPONDS:

    No, we call you an idiot because you told an idiotic lie, namely that only right-wingers are criticizing Obama’s shameful silence on human rights issues. And now we call you a double idiot, because you can’t apolize for your gross error which we’ve proved wrong.

  9. Where did I say ONLY right wingers were anything? I didn’t say RIGHT WING anything. I said your Obama hate was drowning out your message. you really do throw around “idiot” just like Putin does, you call the person an idiot, and what they say “idiotic” to boot.

    And I see you can’t apologies for you offensive language to someone who USED to be a loyal reader, right up until you started whipping your mud at me for SUGGESTING in what you present to be a forum for discussion that you’re putting to much Obama hate into your editorial labeled “Putin is Worse than any Foe.”

    Lets talk about Obama’s Russia policy so far. Firstly, you’ve gotta adjust your rear view mirror. Under Jimmy Carter we had grain embargoes and an Olympic Boycott, and worsening of relations with the Soviet Union. Under Ronald Regan we had detente, cultural exchange, arms control and regular diplomatic relations and summits with the Soviet Union. We didn’t shut them out, we engaged them on their own terms, and WON the cold war. We did it with an Olive Branch and not a stick.

    So if I’m an idiot, oops, double idiot now, I will now attempt to upgrade it to a triple dirty dawg idiot by suggesting you get in touch with reality and history. Nixon in China, Regan and Gorbachev, successful diplomacy starts with engagement. That is the core of the Obama policy so far, re-engagement.

    The only apology I will make is I am sorry for not seeing your hate for what it really is until you pointed your hate gun at me. I guess I tolerated the hate when it was pointed at injustice, but I see your hate doesn’t know bounds, it extends to anyone who dares disagree.

  10. Ok, this is getting ridiculous, do you have a reading disability? I didn’t say ONLY right wingers anything. I didn’t say ONLY and I didn’t say RIGHT WINGERS. I have nothing again people on the right in politics. I have something against the Neocons who have screwed up our county and planet for the last 8 years. Go look for it, it’s just not there, it’s in your mind. I did not say these things. I’m not telling lies because I’m giving MY OPINION, and I’m not presenting facts. There are no footnotes, I am making a COMMENT on an EDITORIAL, how unfact giving can you get. I am NOT presenting facts, I am not lying about anything because it is my opinion, I live in America, I’m guessing you do too, we each have the right to our own opinions.

    I said YOU have a problem of doubling your dislike for Obama and Putin and making a double helping of hate stew. It doesn’t sever your ends and it apparently brings out the worst in you. You are so full of hate you can’t even read straight.

    Also, do you treat people you don’t know like this in public as well as on the internet? If so, you should move to Moscow, your rudeness and arrogance will fit right in.

  11. As opposed to your riff-raff many really serious people in EU support Putin, Russia and new Russians projects:

    http://regnum.ru/english/1120264.html

    “Nord Stream” pipeline project is in initial priority of EU. It is included in the list of priority projects of EU within the framework of the Trans-European energy network”, — declared Mark Franco, the European Commission mission chief in Moscow, while speaking at the online-conference organized by REGNUM.

    At the same time, according to him, the impact of such large-scale projects on environment must be carefully investigated . “It must be done in accordance with EU and national legislations. When this stage will be completed, we will be able to concentrate upon the implementation of the project”, — said the European diplomat.

    Answering the question of REGNUM reader about the perspectives of other gas pipeline project as Nabucco, Mark Franco declared that it is under discussion. “This gas pipeline could become another alternative pathway of additional gas volumes, which would need EU in the future. Nabucco is a commercial project and must be realized as itself. Exists or can be considered a few gas suppliers to EU trough Nabucco gas pipeline. At the moment all these sources are estimated in the context of their reliability”, — stressed he.

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