Saturday, September 24, 2011

Putin to run for president again . . . man this seems familiar

That, my friends, is the face of a stone-cold killah.
Okay seriously, I can't be the only one that sees something a little bit wrong with this.  Putin was duly elected some years ago for president, and then when he gave it up he moved to the position of prime minister.  Everyone seemed to think that was shady, and that Medvedev was more or less just someone keeping the seat warm.

Putin has, in effect, been in control for about 12 years now, and since he's running for president again, it looks as though he might maintain that control for some time.  Oh, and if this wasn't shady enough, Medvedev will supposedly take over the position of prime minister.

I read a book once called The Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan.  One of the things he talks about is how Russia has been going backwards since Putin took office.  Yeltsin did a lot to try to bring Russia into the modern era of democracy, but it seems that Putin has returned Russia to some of its old characteristics.  He senses that the Russian people are still nationalist at heart, and he gives them that.  With the fall of the Soviet Union, the nations of the world were supposed to unite for the sole cause of human freedom and dignity.

Well, Putin has gone back from that, as Russia seems as solitary and uninterested in common goals as ever.  Despite globalization and the idea that the world only propsers so long as everyone holds up their end of the bargain, we still have nations that would rather just come out on top.  I think it's foolish to think that any of the superpowers of the world--Russia, China, and yes even the United States--actually buy into the idea that there shouldn't be any dominant force on the planet.

China has been trying to dominate the US economically for the past 30 years.  Russia has been playing the geopolitical game even since the fall of the Soviet Union.  And then look at us.  We've got the most powerful military the world has ever known, and yet we continue to make advancements and expand our fighting force.  Apparently, we understand that when push comes to shove, the top dog on the block is the one with the deadliest fucking bite.

A world progressing towards increased liberty, one in which the superpowers of the planet work to achieve that most supreme goal of humanity, is probably just an illusion.  At the end of the day, humanity cannot seem to overcome its desire and lust for power.


Harrison said...

Hey if you want world peace watch Star Trek. Russia has always been a backward nation.

D Charles QC said...

I thought it was obviously and not even hidden that Putin became PM to continue running the country whilst he waits to meet Constitutional requirements and will return to his old job for two more terms. If anything i think he may have recently reminded the current President to keep his commitment which may have been the only obistical - it obviously worked.

Just one more thought, a large and rather corrupt Russia has always needed a "strong-man" and perhaps it is a bit naive to think that simple democracy would work - it would only invite the more ugly type of strong-man to move in - or worse - many of them.

Silverfiddle said...

Sir Charles makes a good point. Geography is central to the Russian psyche. They are jealous, suspicious people, and they want a strong man who protects the nation.

What works for America doesn't work for others. Despite all the naive one-world crap we hear from the Pollyannas, it's not all one world.

Some societies seem to require a dictator, if only by observing the chaos they descend into when one is removed.

Jack Camwell said...

Very good and interesting points from all of you.

What I see in all of your comments is the notion of realism. It was always an idealistic long-shot to think that the entire world would at one point be filled completely with democratic societies.

"What works for America doesn't work for others."

Very true sentiments Silver. I think a lot of times we don't consider that all human societies are not alike. Asian culture is vastly different from Western Culture, as Middle Eastern culture is vastly different from either of those.

The differences in cultures change the nature of the people themselves, in in turn the way in which the people are governed.

D Charles QC said...

Culture is one factor alone. Economics, education and experience (at a national level) are others.

An example is central and sub-Saharan Africa. It can be strongly argued that the introduction of "democracy" has been the biggest mistake made in that part of the word, simply because it would not work and thus became a gang-plank for abuse and ultimately dictatorship.

The other example, and a current one, is what is happening just south of me in Morocco, a country I frankly admire. It is a kingdom with an autocratic monarch and yet very popular and heading towards democracy but in stages - and that introduction is proving damaging. The King (the strong-man) attempts to meet the aspiration of the nation and will basically force what is good and it has been successful. Compare it to Algeria that shares the same culture, language, ethnic mix and even population numbers but has petrolium which Morocco has none. Algeria technically has billions in funds more but is in comparison abject poor. They got rid of their monarch, had dabled in communism, coups and the current leader is really a military puppet. Morocco wants to hand over power this next year to the parliament except for defence and religous affairs. They have had a series of fair elections BUT the fear there is that with 35 political parties (of which most are personality cults not political persuasions) the reality is that you will have badly formed coalitions and clashes. In other words, the nation wants more democracy, can get it but is politically immature.

Democracy, as Churchill said, is the best of a number of bad options. The sad reality is that in fact democracy is a concept that is great but only works in certain situations, with a good stable economic, social and political environment AND no other traditional or cultural method that already is in place and works.

Back to Russia and Putin. Russia was part of a badly managed Empire, corrupt and way to big (thus competing cultures and societies). It was replaced by another empire that was also currpt and to big. It is now smaller but what has it learned and kept that is good? Not much as the traditions are either wiped or corrupt, economics and social life is fragile and thus it is in a problem and therefore requires to follow the strong-man principle as a necessity. I think Putin does rather well and visually appears statesman-like. It could have been another alcoholic old fart, right?