Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Scott Horton has some timely and disturbing insights into the relationship between George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And some revealing comparisons.

About "Pooty-Poot," Horton writes:
He inherited a nation brimming with the promise of freedom, and did much to put that spirit back in the box. But he brought order to the treasury. And he established the indubitable dominance of the Kremlin over the “subjects of the Federation” which previously had driven a strong centrifugal force in Russia’s body politic. Putin aimed to clean-up the house of Russia so as to lay the foundations for its re-emergence on the international stage as a great power. He saw, brilliantly, the utility of energy policy as the essential foreign policy lever by which this could be achieved. Putin will be seen in the future as a cold fish, but also as a leader who did much to restore Russia to a position of prominence in the world.
About Bush, Horton says this:
Bush has conducted a six-year demolition derby for America. He inherited a paramount power in the world, enjoying unchallenged prestige and power. And after six years, he has brought American approval in the world to its historical nadir. His experiments in the Middle East have been catastrophic failures, leading to the likely rise of a new regional hegemon: Iran. The American military is a shambles, and his own former commander in Iraq, Ricardo Sanchez, now speaks openly of “defeat.” And America’s old claim of moral superiority, what has come of that? Bush has proudly embraced the values and techniques of the institutions with which Putin is associated– and indeed, it seems that he has approved a number of techniques which are coarser, cruder still than anything the NKVD or KGB used. America’s “soul” has been dragged into the gutter. Internally, Bush has challenged the Constitution and assumed a rule as dictatorship–like Putin, in the end he finds the law to be a nuisance.
In comparison?
Bush’s soul, it turns out, is remarkably like Putin’s. The difference between them is simple: competence. Putin is unquestionably competent. And the hallmark of team Bush is their gross incompetence in virtually everything they touch.
To sum up:
We’re cruising towards another Cold War, and Bush, instead of demonstrating intelligence and concern, appears utterly clueless. This is going to be dangerous. We’ve arrived at the point at which the James Bakers and Brent Scowcrofts are indispensable – but they’ve been banished from a court in which the jester sits as king.

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