Prof. Stephen Cohen offers a rare, thoughtful and objective consideration of Vladimir Putin – not as a demon or a messiah – but as human being. Delivered on the annual Nation cruise, December 2, 2017, introduced by Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel.
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I was just reading Saker’s analysis of the Russian election. I generally admire the guy but i don’t agree with him much here.
My principle issue with his is his diagnosis of Putin as a neoliberal, which seems extraordinarily botchy analysis for someone as astute as the Saker. I’ll re-post rhe comment I made over there (which is currently in moderation):
Putin a neo-liberal?
Putin has increased the role of the state in the economy, increased welfare and state-spending and decreased debt – this is almost the exact opposite trajectory a neoliberal (in te current sense of the word) would have taken.
Its hard to know what Putin’s personal views are because he has to balance so many opposing factions (something he is good at doing as Saker has pointed out in the past), but his government’s policies are best described as the “social welfare capitalism” that was the norm for a while in the UK and western Europe between 1950s and 1980.
In terms of current western government ideology it would be considered positively Leftist, and is actually slightly more “left” than the program being put forward by Corbyn’s Labour Party.
This is not to suggest Putin is a socialist (though he may be a closet one for all I know; he may be anything for all I know) but rather to emphasise how radically and rabidly rightist western governments have become in the last thirty years. Putin’s moderate socially responsible and truly capitalist system is now equated with Marxist ideas in some unhinged western minds.
But anyhow – no, Putin’s govt would be considered a long way from neoliberal by most of the current proponents of neoliberalism.
I just read it. My feeling is Saker should stick to military breakdowns, which he’s brilliant at. Politically he seems a bit clueless and wildly self-contradictory. In the past he’s said Putin needs to balance the extremes of his government as you point out, but now he’s diagnosing Putin’s personal beliefs based on actions!
I also agree that the Russian economics of the last 18 years have been anything but neoliberal. They have been consciously rolling back on neoliberalism as much as possible given the framework.
My own gut feeling about Putin is he could be a social democrat/soft-left socialist.
Also a bit puzzled by Saker saying Grudinin is the West’s man. Seems like Navalny is the West’s man because he has the potential to cause most trouble. Grudinin is just an apology candidate. A “Communist “ oligarch and a bit of an idiot.
This quote from President Putin after his meeting with Prime Minister Natanyahoo:
Putin said that memory of the Holocaust is “a warning against any attempt to jump on the idea of global domination, to announce, build or assert one’s grandeur based on racism, ethnic or any other supremacy. Russia categorically rejects any such attempt.”
Anoher excerpt from his speech: “Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, or any manifestations of xenophobia and ethnic strife bring Russia and Israel closer. We closely cooperate, including in countering attempts to falsify history, to revise the outcomes of World War II, to deny the Holocaust, or to belittle the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union to victory over Nazi Germany. Such attempts must be put down swiftly.”
This excerpt unfortunately ends where for me it gets interesting. Putin has indeed a very positive attitude toward the Jewish diaspora in Russia but I remain very much in the dark as to his attitude toward the ultra-Zionism that pervades not just Likudite Israel but the deep state of western hegemonic empire. Indeed it is the Zionists in the US and Europe who beat the anti-Russian war drums so feverishly and who clearly set the agenda on the personal vilification of Putin himself. Yesterday Netanyahu, perhaps the most vile and bloodthirsty individual alive on the planet today, met with Putin and has done so regularly. I find these meetings hard to contextualise and make sense of. Perhaps Putin works on the maxim of keeping his enemies close and that his protections for Jewish communities prevent the creation of unnecessary further entities working to unseat him. Whatever his reasons he walks a tightrope that Netanyahu would love to cut.
That should be broadcast on Prime Time US TV, coast to coast, to teach Americans how to speak respectfully without becoming sycophantic or credulously hero-worshipping……a skill that should be deeply engrained in any nation purporting to be worthy of global leadership……..
Nice to find the old Yankee spirit of Mr.Deeds still alive and, in its gentle folksy way, still kicking. Agree 100% with every word. The amazing thing: This is news? This is “controversial”? A sign of how far the MSM have sunk. The vilification of Russian President by the MSM almost unprecedented; and is equalled only by its absolutely unprecedented vilification of US President Trump. What’s their game?
“The bird hath fouled its nest” — As You Like It
So sad that so many of “The Nation” writers fall into line repeating the corporate MSM fake news about Russiagate. The real Russiagate obviously was the US coup done by Victoria Nuland, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Oliver Stone’s latest movie “Ukraine On Fire” tells the story but you won’t see it in the corporate news.
When I discovered the alternative media many years ago, The Nation was one of the first alt websites I visited frequently. As well, I would buy the mag often. And The Nation was also one of the first orgs that I realized was not a people’s organization, but was mainly interested in getting their Democratic monster, whoever, in the White House. To say that Stephen is connected to The Nation is an understatement. He’s married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation.
For this reason, and for the reason that Stephen’s a member of the evil Council on Foreign Relations, I just have to be leery of Cohen’s offerings.
Stephen has sent a letter of resignation to the
I should think so. Why did he ever join?