HEY, RUSSIA, WANNA SWAP? OBAMA & BIDEN FOR PUTIN, STRAIGHT UP … UNFILTERED PUTIN SHOWS WHY HE IS A WORLD-CLASS LEADER … HE RISES TO THE OCCASION ON UKRAINE
By DAN VALENTI
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.
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 realclearpolitics.com … also on that site, watch Putin take on journalists in a dazzling performance on a round-table TV discussion on the show RT Moskow).
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 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.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.