Could Putin Make America Great Again?
America also wants to be great again. So much so desperation drove them first to try a Black man, who wasn't really black. Then an Orange man, with an orange for brain.
What if Putin were President of the US of A?
Let us suppose that America had elected a Russian American named Vladimir Putin instead of the Kenyan American Barak Obama back in 2008.
By comparison with Putin, Obama's record was not exactly stellar.
Now Russians have a bad rep'. Undeserved of course. But so do Black people, which is why we have the police to shoot them and put them in prison (if they survive). Black people are very visible which makes it easier to make them invisible. Granted: Barak was not an American black but a Kenyan Black with a white mother.
Still, we Americans like to show how diverse we are, how tolerant, how anyone can be President, as long as they have money or wealthy backers. And politics is not reality -- it's a reality show. We want something different everytime. Hillary lost because she was a re-run. What could be more entertaining than a Russian-American as President?
Russia-Gate was a blockbuster. The fact that there is no evidence, was immaterial. Show biz'.
What might disqualify Putin is simply competence -- and integrity.
Putin climbed to the top of the pile to become President of Russia as the country disintegrated. He had worked for the KGB -- quit during the abortive coup of 1991 -- and later headed the FSB. Later, Yeltsin offered him position of Prime Minister -- which he almost refused.
Here's what he told Oliver Stone in those amazing interviews -- the most intimate, complete and honest interview of a world leader in this century or the last.
Can you imagine any Western leader talking so candidly, with such honesty? Trump is pretty candid. But:
- he doesn't think, he emotes.
- he can't compose sentences longer than 14 words
- he quickly forgets what he just said
Obama at least used a teleprompter which allowed him to speak in complete sentences ....
Back to Putin....
He took the PM job and successfully put down the Chechen Rebellion (which had been fostered, it is rumoured, by the CIA, as part of a program of reducing Russia to several easily exploitable statelets.)
Putin's strategy in Chechyna was remarkable for its strategic pragmatism, offering the Chechen's a measure of autonomy, as long as they stayed part of Russia.
This Russian Putin is a pragmatist, a strategist -- above all-- a patriot.
We would hope for an American Putin like that. He would also hope that he was into a working class family as his Russian counterpart was. Maybe steel workers or something of that kind. His father would have been in the US military, possibly Korea.
Our American Putin would have gone to college and a law school -- and then joined our KGB -- the CIA but have quit working as a spook-- distressed at the direction the country was taking at the time of the failed coup of 1991. The Russian Putin has said that he understands Edward Snowden --but that Snowden should have just quit and made a difference in another way -- as, of course, Putin himself did.
The American Putin would have entered politics. As a Republican? No.
The Russian Putin is usually seen as a Conservative . He is conservative --but not right wing in the same sense that an American might be. There is a difference between conservative, which is a political sensibility and "right wing", which is a mental disorder. Putin also leads a conservative country and accordingly must represent the views of his people.
Putin is too clear-headed, too rational, too pragmatic --most of all too proletarian -- to be the kind of neoliberal or neoconservative politician you find in the West. In fact, his policies are generally far more progressive than the mainstream DNC.
So, an American Putin would have been a democrat --simply because the USA is a duopoly and there would not have been any other road to power. As in Russia --he would have had to work his way up through the system -- pragmatically. In this respect, the CIA would have been excellent training.
In the beginning, this Putin would have hewed to the Center -- not just because he was a child of Middle America -- but because he could have gotten nowhere without doing this.
Entering politics, Putin would have campaigned ---offering "Change", just as Barak did --while reassuring the power brokers in his party that business would continue as usual. He would have learned to smile a lot more -- and keep his answers short and scripted -- at least, in the beginning.
Now, this "what-if" assumes that Barak Obama did not run, and that Vlad would have had to face down the Hillary.
Hillary is a Faux Feminist, definitely ballsier than Rambo. Vlad is possibly more of a real feminist than Hillary. Unlike Hillary, he seems to actually like women.
Yeah, yeah, he is muscular and does judo. He also likes kittens and puppies and animals and kids. He likes pretty girls. He keeps his family out of the media spotlight rather using them as props for his career. As you can see from the long quote above in his interview with Stone, he has a very human touch.
Yet, this man of enormous integrity -- certainly compared with any American president -- or Secretary of State -- is demonized as a thug, dictator, monster, murderer.
When news broke of Gaddafi's demise, Hillary Clinton was caught on a hot mic prior to an interview with CBS News. Then-Secretary of State Clinton pumped her fists and exclaimed "We came. We saw. He died"Putin's response was different. Keep in mind that Putin has not been a Gaddafi supporter.
Putin is remarkably human.
Hillary? Who makes a joke of someone anally raped and murdered with a knife?
Of course, he is extraordinarily sensitive to the public mind, but that is part of his integrity -- he sees clearly that he is the most visible representative not just of a party-- or even a country --but of a culture and its values.
Putin has a certain humility. In the US, this is largely misunderstood.
Russia is a new democracy. And the society is evolving, with people creating social values. Those values might seem retrogressive to Americans -- and they would be -- except that Russia is not going backwards -- to where America was 40 years ago, it is just moving cautiously forward.
So Putin is not anti-gay. Nor are Russians actually. Just conservative. Nor is Putin probably against the Simpsons or SouthPark -- but Russians worry about young children watching it. In either case, these are not Putin's decisions to make. Contrary to popular belief, he seeks to preserve and develop the democratic process -- albeit in an orderly fashion.
In any case, if Putin were American he would have supported the best aspects of American culture as they have evolved -- including feminism, a woman's right to choose, black rights, transparency in government - -- all the things that Obama said he valued -- but didn't really care about.
His problem would have been how to give the country pride in these things as distinctly American.
2008 and the great crash would have been Putin's Big Opportunity. Great leaders -- such as FDR -- use crisis to to take control and really enact change that people would normally balk at it.
2008 would have allowed Putin to wave the flag as it had not been waved since WWII.
Of course, he would have to face off the oligarchy, the military and the "Deep State" -- and his own party-- which we lump together as the Establishment.
My guess is that he would follow the same strategy that he used in Chechnya. Measured. Tactical. Ruthless where necessary. He would play divide and conquer. He would take prisoners -- and hostages-- when they were useful. And he wave the flag with one hand and the Cross with the other. He would demand reform and the rule of law at the highest levels, which might mean show trials for some. But if you opposed such reform and the rule of law -- then you would be unpatriotic -- and un-Christian.
He would be accused of being a fascist, of course. But he would have acted quickly to break up the big banks and other trusts and getting the economy back on line. The money would have come from withdrawal from the Middle East, withdrawal of forces and bases worldwide and rationalized defense spending --freeing up billions for infrastructure programs.
Yes, Change you can believe in. And "America Great Again" - but not as an empire. That can never be.
The American empire worked at the end of WWII, with most of the world in ruins. But today in this multipolar world, empires of this kind are obsolete.
To restore American greatness, Putin would have to simultaneously break both the Democratic and Republican parties. Unlike Trump --who seems to have managed to discredit both more or less accidentally -- and leaving chaos -- Putin would have to destroy the duopoly by design, aiming at a multiparty democracy and greater dialog in the public domain.
Such changes would require reforms in education and also reforms of the media.
Press freedom is routinely criticized in Russia. Yet, there is more public discussion of issues -- from more points of view than in the US, where just a few companies own 90% of the media.
The regulars on these talk shows are a mix of Russians and foreigners, pro-Kremlin and anti-Kremlin voices. There inevitably is at least one American who can be counted on to purvey the Washington Narrative. A reliable regular in this category has been Michael Bohm, who was for a long-time op-ed manager at The Moscow Times and now is said to be teaching journalism in Moscow. On the 11th Michael’s place was kept warm by another upstanding Neocon, the bureau chief of The New York Post. Then there is an Israeli regular who delivers the Netanyahu perspective on events. And you can be sure to see a Pole or Ukrainian who will spice up any discussion of Maidan and the regime in Kiev.
From among Russians, the talk show hosts bring in one or more representatives of opposition parties. On the 11th it happened to be a personality from the Yabloko Party (Liberals). But at other times there will be the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, the founder of the right nationalist LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, or the leader of the social democratic party, Just Russia, Sergei Mironov. They all get their time on air in these shows.As in Russia, the American Putin would go directly to the people with marathon digital town meetings, answering questions from anybody off the cuff.
|Direct Line With Vladmir Putin|
Putin would talk directly to the people as FDR did in his "fireside chats". In Russia he has four hour telecasts where anyhone can phone in to ask a question.
Of course, these sessions have been accused of being staged. Yet.....
...this year’s live telecast included a new feature — text messaged questions from the public, some quite critical, that popped up on screen during the program.
“Putin, do you really think that the people believe in this circus with fake questions?”
“Three presidential terms is enough!”
“All Russia thinks that you sat too long on your throne,” read another.What American politician would invite such criticism.? What American politician would dare to answer questions off the cuff for four hours?
The Media might howl -- but the same anti-trust, anti-monopoly laws used to break up the banks could also be used to break up media conglomerates. In some form or another, the Fairness Doctrine would be back..
In dealing with the economic crisis, Putin would seek to reform social economic policy. In Russia:
His administration holds major strategic companies under government ownership. And if necessary, appoints government bureaucrats to privately owned big corporations' boards. Moreover, Russian industry/business follows the direction government outlines - government recently decided and advocated that Russia should turn its face towards east (New Silk Road) and everyone is following suit. Things like these are unimaginable in US. Its the corporations which make policy in US. Not government.
Putin administration does not scuttle social security, leave aside planning to eat it up on stock market like how GOP had been advocating. In latest Q/A, questions from public came regarding something like increasing social security payments to people with cancer (something like this exists), and he spoke in favor. Many GOP head honchos are declaring people who take welfare as leeches. Someone like Putin at the head of GOP would cause a heart attack epidemic among the head honchos.
Corporations in Russia pay their taxes. There are laws to encourage offshored wealth to come back and also laws to punish those who don't bring that wealth. US is yet 'discussing' whether corporations should pay their taxes. In this, Putin even stands to the left of Democrat Party.
Russian labor law is light years ahead of US. It strongly favors the employee/worker, whereas in US workers generally get the butt end of the stick. Russian labor law even incorporates recent Eu recommendation of Work Councils, which is not even adopted yet in Eu. Russian courts are obliged to decide in favor of employee in employee vs employer lawsuits. Even if the laws' enforcement may lack, mere existence of many items in Russian labor law trample what rights workers in US have.Russian Labor laws
While an employee’s guarantees and protections enshrined in the Code are limited, they are mandatory, strictly enforced, and favor the employee. The legislation prohibits discrimination on any basis, ensures unemployment benefits, provides the unemployed with assistance in finding work, specifies minimum work safety and, in contrast to the US, minimum vacation and leisure time requirements, ensures prompt and accurate payment of wages, and standardizes career advancement
Putin administration does not tolerate corporations and the rich engaging in politics. "Do your business properly, pay your taxes, and stay away from politics" was what Putin told the oligarchs who put him into power the day after his election, to their shock. In contrast to what is constantly drummed about oligarchs in Russia, major oligarchs seem to magically follow what Government says - instead of government following what they say. In US its the opposite. This can't fly with GOP's corporate backers.
Putin declared that he "liked Socialist and Communist ideals during USSR, and he liked them still", just ~2-3 days after he criticized Lenin in a speech in which he told Lenin's various policies put a bomb under USSR due to letting Republics secede from the union. The ensuing public reaction to this, due to being perceived as being against socialism/communism, immediately prompted Putin to declare his favorable attitude towards socialist and communist ideals. Merely this, would clog the veins in many GOP head honchos' and voters' brains, if not immediately paralyze them.
Putin's Russian approval rating has soared as high as 80%. He has shown an ability to use crises to his advantage. So, Western sanctions have provided him with the opportunity to take further control of the economy, diversifying industry and agriculture. In fact, Russia is now -- internally -- one of the world's most diverse and self-sufficient economies, less and less dependent on fossil fuels as a source of revenue.
That would have been the case in the US of A also.
Putin is a populist like Trump -- but ever so much smarter. An actual patriot -- not a fake one. A proud man with the humility conferred by intelligence and decency
He would understand that America's future is not to rule the world.
The country is big enough all by itself and its energies are best devoted to building itself.
Above all, Putin understands that great leaders do not change the public mind so much as serve as focal points for its best values and greatest goals.