Lollipop Kid Becomes Street Thug . . . and Man of the Year
December 21, 2007
To tell the truth, I had originally planned to write this article about two weeks from now, conducting a “year in review” with the other members of the YeZh staff. But the decision of Time Magazine to declare Vladimir Putin its “Man of the Year” compelled me to do it earlier. Because this decision in a surprising way explains why so many people (including the staff of Time Magazine) consider Putin’s foreign policy to be a success. As they put it: “Time's Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world - for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership - bold, earth-changing leadership. Putin is not a boy scout. … [but] he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought
If this is true, then one should acknowledge that this status is a direct result of a completely ruinous foreign policy. In previous years the symbol of
The main foreign policy events of the year - the effective withdrawal of Russia from the Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) treaty; the conflict surrounding Washington’s intention to base some elements of its anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in Poland and the Czech Republic; the constant threats to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile treaty - have been directly related to efforts to demonstrate Russia’s readiness for military confrontation with the West. The paradox is that none of this has any connection with defending country or ensuring its security. Russian demands have had no logic whatsoever. Russian demands have lacked even formal logic. Take for example the withdrawal from the CFE treaty.
The new defining characteristic of Russian foreign policy has become how its exponents do not even try to make plausible arguments. The head of the Russian General Staff Yuri Baluevskiy claimed that the launch of American ABM missiles from
Still, even deploying the phraseology of the cold war, the Kremlin does nothing that the West could construe as a genuine threat. No one is talking about any sort of return to actual military confrontation.
But might one say in all seriousness that
And so, the little boy with the lollipop got himself a dagger. He has not yet, thank God, gotten himself into a fight. But he flashes the knife everywhere and anywhere. That’s all there is to
The thing is that all of them – the president of
In this sense the designation of Putin as “Man of the Year” is a clear indication of how he, and worse