Putin Rootin’ for Barack

Oh, please! What happened to the world that I and most people grew up in? The one where Russia was the enemy, the USA the good guys and never the twain shall meet in true Rudyard-Kipling fashion. The one where ideological divide meant that each side would do anything they could to send the other into a helter-skelter descent into an existence in the demonic underworld.

In Kipling’s ballad, ‘The Ballad of East and West’:  “two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!” Today those two men are Putin and Obama.

Edward Snowden: From Russia with Love?

Edward Snowden: From Russia with Love?

Putin issued a statement today in which he said on an official visit to Siberia (aptly fitting, don’t you think, home of the gulags and exiled dissidents) that Snowden would not stand in the way of Russian relations with the USA. Perhaps he was on a reconnaissance mission for Edward Snowden in Siberia. Who knows?

Putin has found himself in a particular dilemma these past three weeks. Standing up to the USA would mean that he gets support from the people, which he could definitely do with at the moment (55% of Russians want Putin to stop ruling the country when his Presidency comes to an end in 2018). Most of those Russians are just like everybody else. They can remember when the East was the East and the West was the West. Standing up to the Big Brother-US would mean that he improves his popularity. But, that would cause more than just a little trouble with Washington and he would have to ask himself is he is prepared to forego US relations just to snub Obama and the old-enemy.

Putin and Obama: Brotherly Love or Old Resentments?

Putin and Obama: Brotherly Love or Old Resentments?

Although he refused to state whether asylum would be granted to Snowden or not, he did say: "We warned Mr. Snowden that any action by him that could cause damage to Russian-American relations is unacceptable for us".  He called the maintaining of relations a “national objective”. Is Putin rootin’ for Barack, really?

But allowing doubt to hover over the Snowden affair means that it will become exploitable by Putin in a way that will allow him to point the finger at the USA for not upholding what they preach to others. It is pure manna from heaven, enough to feed the gods and the people.

Human-rights activists that met with Snowden stated that he actually did not believe that he had harmed the US, but that he as acting in their best interest. Perhaps that needs to be corrected. Snowden is not acting in the best interest of the US, but he is acting in the best interests of American citizens (and the rest of the world). That, unfortunately, is not America.

When questioned about the long-term plans of Snowden, Putin replied that “it is his fate and his choice”. Rather a strange choice of antithesis, since fate is supposed force, power that predetermines an event, an inevitable predestined outcome. Choice is a whole different plate of pelmeni (washed down with vodka). Snowden has no choice left, it would seem. Putin did send a coded warning in good-old KGB-style to human-rights activists, stating that they would face the consequences for their activities if they chose to criticize the US and that it would become “complicated”. Which means? Very KGB-ish. Always understatement, laid back and ready to pounce.

In the meantime, Edward Snowden has stated that he fears for his life. He has issued a statement saying that he will be tortured and executed by the USA if he is returned there. He filed a request for temporary asylum in Russia yesterday. Now it looks as if Russia has the juggling to do with Obama and the old-enemy. What will be more important, ideological history and old resentment or justice and defense of liberties? Don’t think it will take us too long to see where Putin’s heart lies.

The East is East, and the West is West, or at least it once was. Now, there’s no East and no West everybody is just sitting somewhere in the Land of the Middle, or the Middle Kingdom, the Central Kingdom. Understand what you will! Zhongguo!

Once Russia was Russia and the USA was the USA. Today things are not quite so certain. The USA might be Russia just as Russia has Americanized itself. Both have found a middle kingdom. That kingdom is populated by fear of being brought down and losing power for both sides. The ultimate goal is the elimination of anything that will make the stack of cards come crashing down. It only takes a gentle breeze to blow and they will. The fragility on which they have both built their kingdoms is ephemeral. Both must eliminate Snowden who is blowing, whistleblowing right now. Putin, just became Obama’s buddy.  Putin’s rootin’ for Barack! Yeah!

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