PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2014) — THE PLANET has just finished watching the entirety of Vladimir Putin‘s March 4 press conference on the Ukraine crisis. He spoke for more than an hour before an assembly of what looked like about 30 media.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Eating Obama’s lunch.

Unlike the U.S. President — who stands behind an imposing lectern emblazoned with the presidential seal, as if he’s going to deliver statements from on high to those who are there as unequals, much like mere students who must hang on every word of the prof — Putin sat in a simple padded chair, on the same level as the press, maybe three or four feet away. To his right, a small table with a notepad and pen and behind him, the Russian flag. That’s it. No “hail to the chief.” No briefing books. No entering the room from a long corridor off a secret room. He sat, legs spread apart, relaxed in a body language that “spoke” of openness.

THE PLANET highly advises you to take an hour and see for yourself not only what he said but how he said it (the best link for this can be found on … also on that site, watch Putin take on journalists in a dazzling performance on a round-table TV discussion on the show RT Moskow).

BARACK OBAMA: Needs some lessons in geopolitics.

In his press conference, Putin gave the Russian viewpoint on Ukraine, and, frankly, it makes much more sense that what Western leaders — particularly Obama — have said. It holds true to what we’ve seen previously when these two men have met in person. You can see how Putin intimidates the President. For some reason, Obama performs like a schoolboy on these occasions. Putin eats his lunch, an empty suit versus a martial arts expert.

Say, Russia: Wanna swap? You take Obama, and we get Putin. We’ll even throw in Joe Biden and a secretary to be named later.

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Putin portrayed the actions of his country as a reaction to a request from the legitimate president of a neighboring country, Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine. How can that be disputed? THE PLANET has digested a lot of media reports from all over the world, and bottom line is that Putin’s account appears to be the most accurate umbrella statement that would explain what’s happened in the Ukraine.

The two countries are close, with a shared history. Last year, three million Ukrainians immigrated to Russia because of greater economic opportunities. The money they send back to relatives forms a robust share of Ukraine’s GDP. Some 58% of Crimea, the jutting Baltic peninsula, is made up of ethnic Russians. Of course they want to align themselves with Russia. The plebiscite scheduled in a few days will decide the question. In advance, Obama through Secretary of State John Kerry has said he would not recognize the results if Crimea votes to join Russia. Putin, meanwhile, had said he doesn’t recognize the interim government in Ukraine.

PUTIN: Showing calm leadership

Putin said that while he helped Yanukovych, he does not sympathize with him nor condone how he acted in dealing with the civil crisis. Putin said he helped in the Ukraine on a humanitarian basis, “because the people there are Russia’s brothers and sisters.” He called upon the current authorities in Ukraine, which Russia doesn’t acknowledge as legitimate, to treat the people with consideration and help. Putin also said he had instructed his ministers to meet with their “counterparts” in Ukraine to preserve the economic ties between the two countries. This is contrary to the West’s portrayal.

Putin said the Ukrainian uprising wasn’t a spontaneous action of the people but a well-planned military operation that employed highly trained professional agitators to lead armed chaos — revolution and a coup. He said that the core of the Ukraine protesters were trained in special camps in Poland, Lithuania, and in Ukraine. It would appear that the majority of the people there did not participate in or condone the unrest.

What did he wish for the people of Ukraine? Putin said they should be able to “exercise their free will so they can determine their future. The right of self determination is still there. We don’t want to interfere, but we believe all Ukrainian citizens wherever they may be need to enjoy equal rights in shaping the future of the country.”

Putin’s restraint in the light of the explosive events of Europe’s largest country, one that literally sits at its borders, has demonstrated his deep understanding of geopolitics and an ability to make quick real-time decisions on huge international matters with haste combined with thoughtfulness and deliberation. This is a skill Obama hasn’t demonstrated.

Putin spoke of the reactions of international markets, saying they “were nervous even before the Ukrainian situation. This was mostly caused by steps taken by the U.S. Fed. Internal affairs and politics always have effects on money. Money likes calm. I think this [situation] is a temporary thing.” The line “Money likes calm” came off spontaneously, and it’s one for Bartlett.


He also pointed out how the United States acted militarily and unilaterally in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya without incurring U.N. sanctions. Yet when Russia acted in Ukraine, in its own sphere of influence, the U.N. talked sanctions. The double standard is there, because, as Putin has admitted elsewhere, after the breakup of the USSR, the United States was left standing as the lone world superpower, a position that has led to the U.S. to engage in arrogance and empire building. World history since 1990 would bear this out. The U.S. had a great opportunity for leadership and blew it.

Not in his press conference but elsewhere, Putin has acknowledged the deep cultural differences between Russia and the United States — collectivism versus individualism, which he, interestingly enough, said was a difference in spirituality, evoking Russia’s great mystical tradition to the U.S.’s unchecked materialism and addiction to debt.

Putin has with every public statement on Ukraine referred to the U.S. as “partners.” It’s clear Putin realizes that it makes no sense for him or his country to be at odds with America. As we said, this is one sharp, sober, pragmatic politician.

“Our partners,” Putin said in his press conference, “especially in the U.S. always make it very clear what their geopolitics interests are, and they pursue them agressively. Our position is different. I have always supported international law. [In the Ukraine action,] we have received a request from a legitimate president.”

Putin didn’t rule out military action, but he did say it would only be used in an emergency situation of last resort. Even in such an event, he said Russia “will act in accord with international law. This is a humanitarian mission. It is not our goal to conquer somebody. However, we will not remain indifferent if we see these people, our neighbors in Ukraine, are persecuted. We are open to cooperation. even in this situation, where the government underwent a coup.”


“And all his wisdom is unfound, / Or like a web that error weaves / On airy looms that have a sound / No louder than falling leaves.”Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Hillcrest.”




  1. Nota
    March 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    Putin is and was A sinister K GB agent and murderer, no different than Joseph Stalin, in my opinion. He may be a big time speaker, but his actions will be his downfall for this disgrace of a man.

    • danvalenti
      March 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      Thanks for an alternate view. It’s the caricature that the West likes to portray, of course, but if you look into it in depth and objectively, a more rounded view emerges.

    • Wilson
      March 12, 2014 at 6:32 am #

      Obama operates the largest spy organization that ever existed, and has probably ordered more assassinations than Putin has, a lot more

  2. Giacometti
    March 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    Just finished reading ” War and Peace ” and I can understand Putin’s position a lot better…it’s too bad the U.S. doesn’t see that
    Putin wants peace more than he wants war as we are all human

  3. Pat
    March 11, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    I think that Putin seems to be a very thoughtful man now. Maybe he has matured from his more agressive personality as a younger man. People do change and mature. I still don’t trust him completely, but then again I don’t trust Obama completely either. Maybe in this instance we should give him the benefit of the doubt unless he goes over the top once Russian troops have been in that country for a while.

  4. Still wondering
    March 12, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Looks like there are a bunch of enablers here.

  5. GMHeller
    March 12, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    To all of you Berkshire Liberals who voted (and not just once, but TWICE!) for Barack Hussein Obama:

    • dusty
      March 12, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      If Obama had listened to McCain and the other war mongers of his party he would have gotten us into wars in Syria, Iran and now with Russia. He had the guts to ignore them and not go to war. That makes him a pretty good guy in my book.

  6. Jonathan Melle
    March 12, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Like Hitler, Putin rejects democracy, human rights, and international law.

  7. amandaWell
    March 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    i could be wrong, but isn’t Putan friends with Irans Ididtarod, and also Kim Jong eel, of North Korea, who is friends with Cereal Killa and former Chicago Bulls bad ass, Dennis Rodman?

  8. Scott
    March 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    Anyone read the boring broadsheet today? A disabled person tried to help defuse a violent altercation and was assaulted while able bodied folks stood by and watched.

    On Russia the US should mind it’s own business as usual! The question is does our collective nation have interest in the Ukraine? If so we’ll get involved if not it’s just a distraction.

  9. jamie
    March 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Actually I hadn’t considered your point DV about the “western” view in the media versus Russia’s. I watched Putins press conference. You’re right, he’s convincing.

    This little old blog has just published the best story I’ve read on the Ukraine mess anywhere!!

    • Mad Trapper
      March 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Crimea is full of treasonous Cossaks who have whored themselves throughout history to whomever gave then graf at the time. Tartars , Russians, Swedes, Mongols, ………

      Urkranine is better without the scum Cossaks.

      Ukraine ally yourself with Poland, you won’t get stabbed in the back, one more time.

      Don’t count on the Obamination or the new Neville Chiamberlin/ G7. They have the spines of a snail.

      The French have terms of capitualization for ANY outcome in hand ( Patton-” I’d rather have a German division in front of me, than a French one behind me”).

      Too bad we have an imposter rather than a leader at the helm, thanks demoncrats

  10. Mad Trapper
    March 13, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Hi Dan,

    Why does, want to give all those ALIEN CRIMINALS in the State, drivers licenses?

    If a LEGAL CITIZEN goes to the RMV, they get treated to WORSE than a CRIMINAL ALIEN. Why is that???

    Maybe I should just say “no hablo ingles?”

    You need to address this DAN. The Left Winged Parrot won’t

    Best, MT