More Honorable Is An Honest Enemy Than A Dishonest Hero

Obama Putin
Photo from patdollard.com

There has been a lot of remarks recently by regular people about just how horrible Russia and Putin are and how the whole world should back Ukraine, which they do not realize means backing a government that bullied its way into power. One of the words used to describe Putin has been bully. Yes, Putin very much can be a bully and if people had been paying attention to the world around them for longer than 5 minutes they might have some real concept of the political climate that has existed in Russia for several hundred years. If you are going to criticize and judge then you should do that with regard to the environment that the one you are criticizing exists in.
By comparing everyone and everything to your narrow American view you are being arrogantly egocentric. This arrogance creates misconception and fosters misunderstanding that will lead to dislike and distrust. If you want to criticize someone and be taken seriously then you should use the standard of their environment to be the measure by which you criticize and ridicule.
Russia was ruled by the Czars for centuries and as is usually the case that meant that even under good or descent Czars life for the masses was hard and meager. Then in the beginning of the 20th century came Lenin’s Revolution, while one can argue the positivity of his intentions, the fact is that Stalin pretty much reverted to the strict oppression of the masses that was reminiscent of life under the Czars. After the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain it seemed as the Soviet Union broke up, much to the eager encouragement of the West, that Russia herself might spiral out of control in a free fall of corruption and organized crime. One of the largest factors in this free fall was the lack of a strong leader to put the government and country back together.
Enter Putin, yes he is former KGB, and he is from the old school. That being said he is intelligent, focused, motivated, savvy, educated and above all strong enough to have remained in power for decades. What is his secret to his staying power; easy, he is brutal and ruthless and cunning. He is a man that cut his ‘political’ teeth in the intelligence world, he is probably one of the most knowledgeable world leaders in respect to understanding the complexities of international relations and the intranational relations of all leading countries as well as most if not all emerging ones as well.
The West and Russia, primarily (China, more recently) have been competing for the rest of the world for the last 500 years. So the events in Middle East, North Africa, and now Europe are not new and should not come as surprising. As for the ‘aggressiveness’ of Russia and Putin’s remarks and ‘actions’ I think most Americans should reverse the situation and think about how we would react if say Quebec managed to unseat the legitimate government of Canada and by the actions of their extremists made the residents of several English speaking provinces nervous and they asked the US for help. US actions would be at least on the same level as Russia’s has been if not escalated. Make no mistake that the US would be much more assertive with similar action on her own borders.

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