Archive for the ‘Putin’ Tag

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Even if the rest of the world sees Russian President Vladimir Putin fully as a “semi-delustional autocrat” who has bought too far into his own propaganda, Daily Show host Jon Stewart observed on Thursday, Fox News is all too willing to treat him as a legitimate world leader.

But while conservatives trip over themselves to praise Putin for acting unilaterally, Stewart said, they immediately cry “imperial president” when U.S. President Barack Obama does the same.

“What the hell is wrong with these people?” Stewart asked. “What happened to these people as children that has enabled this love-hate relationship with authoritarian figures and the inherent cognitive dissonance that goes along with such a schism?”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) joke about Obama wearing “mom jeans,” Stewart noted, had become a right-wing talking point, even if it tied in to overblown stories about Putin, like the story about him shooting a tiger — which turned out to have been tranquilized and trapped beforehand.

 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-6-2014/big-vladdy—semi-delusional-autocrats

 

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST:
“In a strange act of historical coincidence, it was 60 years ago this week that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed the Crimea over to the Ukraine. It might not have seemed a big deal in those days; everyone was part of one, big, unhappy Soviet Union.

But that has created today’s geopolitical crisis. Russia has now made its move. It has essentially detached Crimea from the Ukrainian government’s control. What remains unclear is what Vladimir Putin wants to do with it.

Incorporate it into Russia, use it as leverage to negotiate a deal with Kiev, both?

In any event, Washington’s response should be clear and forceful. Russia has violated all kinds of laws and norms, including most crucially a treaty that it signed with Ukraine, guaranteeing that country’s borders, in return for which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons.

For Washington, for Americans, really for people around the world, it would be a terrible precedent to allow issues like these to be resolved not by negotiations or diplomacy, but by force.

If Russia can detach parts of neighboring countries with impunity, won’t other great powers like China decide that they, too, can act in similar ways?

So what can be done?

For starters, President Obama should cancel entirely his attendance at the G8 summit to be held in Sochi in June. He should try to persuade the other major powers to follow suit.

Russia’s membership in the G8 should be suspended. Remember, the G8 was created to recognize that post-soviet Russia was behaving like an honorable member of the international community, not a rogue state. If the behavior has changed, Russia’s status should also change.

Militarily there is less that can be done. Russia’s defense budget is about 18 times that of Ukraine, but NATO should restart talks on providing assurances to countries like Poland, including perhaps building the missile defense system that was abandoned.

In economic terms, Washington and the E.U. should consider sanctions that would be effective, ones targeted specifically at individuals who could be held responsible for these acts of aggression against Ukraine.

Washington cannot stop Vladimir Putin as he creates facts on the ground in Crimea. But step back and consider what a strategic disaster this is for him.

Ukraine has slipped out of Russia’s orbit and most of the population there is going to be hostile toward Russia for generations. Countries like Poland that had eased up relations with Moscow will now view it with great suspicion. All European countries will put their relations with Russia under review.

Even China will surely oppose the brazen violation of national sovereignty, something Beijing is always concerned about. Within Russia, people have now seen that Putin is terrified of a democracy movement and will brutally oppose it, not really the image he wants to present.

Putin gets Crimea, which, by the way, is only 60 percent Russian; parts of it will be deeply hostile to this Russian takeover, including the population of Crimean Tartars, who are Muslim and getting radicalized. Remember, Crimea is in the Northern Caucasus, the area where Russia has been battling a ferocious Muslim insurgency. So even as he lines up one more piece or half-piece on his chessboard, Vladimir Putin will find that the price he has paid for it is quite high.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1403/02/fzgps.01.html

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: “But first, here’s my take. 2013 seemed in many ways to be the year of Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had consolidated power in his country, crushed any possible opposition, kept his ally in Syria from being toppled and brokered a deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons.

2014 was also going pretty well for Putin. The Sochi Olympics was not the disaster many had suggested and, above all, Putin had maintained Russia’s historic relationship with Ukraine, outmaneuvering the European Union, which had made Ukraine a complicated and conditional offer that Ukraine’s president turned down in return for cold Russian cash.

That’s what it had looked like until just a few days ago. But now, on the central issue of Ukraine, Russia does not look so triumphant. Ukraine’s President Yanukovych, who is now its former president, overplayed his hand.

Putin assumed that force would solve the problem and disperse the protests. Western observers were despairing and assigning blame for all that had happened from Washington to the European Union.

And then things started to change. President Yanukovych and the opposition made a deal, brokered by the Europeans, calling for a coalition government, national elections and a new constitution.

But even that was not enough for the protesters, who have managed to achieve change much faster, ousting the president and beginning the process of transformation right away. In this long and complex situation, it is the people on the street who have shown determination, courage and persistence.

Now one has to be cautious; everything we know about these kinds of revolutions is that this is the thrilling moment which is often followed by turmoil, tension, violence and chaos. Destroying the old order is a lot easier than building a new one.

This is going to be particularly true in Ukraine, which is riddled with corruption and, in many ways, is on the brink of economic collapse. The opposition will have to act with wisdom and include those whom it despises, including the supporters of former President Yanukovych.

And Russia will not allow Ukraine to slip completely from its grasp. One of its main fleets is based in the Black Sea in Ukraine. Russian pipelines crisscross the country, carrying natural gas to Europe.

Russia will demand a say in what happens there as it has for 300 years. That’s why the Ukrainian opposition turned government needs to approach things with caution and a sense of national unity.

But Russia, too, will have to be careful; as the last few weeks have shown, it has created a deep sense of opposition among tens of millions of people in Ukraine and their hostility to Russian domination might well grow.

For now at least, let’s just marvel at the spirit of the Ukrainian people, let’s keep our fingers crossed for their future and let’s note that 2014 is not looking quite as good for Vladimir Putin as it did a week ago.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1402/23/fzgps.01.html

Posted February 24, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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