Reviewers and commenters eviscerated Two hours of Tucker Carlson interview with Vladimir Putin. Any journalistic pretensions Carlson may have had before the interview were destroyed. In Leninist terms, he was a “useful idiot” and a straight man for the Kremlin strongman.
Putin's 40-minute tour on why Ukraine was part of Russia was discharged from the West. His repeated justification for the invasion to reunite Ukraine and Russia, protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians, and destroy the taint of Nazism remained implausible. And he continued to blame the US and NATO for causing the current crisis with Moscow.
That said, put away the boiler plate and the rhetoric. What can be learned from watching Putin's two-hour controversy? Several dots appear.
First, while Putin insisted that Russia has always taken the high ground of diplomacy, tolerating all the mistakes and misjudgments of the West, FAILURE TO COMPLY ignoring Russia and its interests was undoubtedly the most troubling issue for him. The need and indeed the desire for respect and recognition were internal.
Ironically, while he Received to like George W. Bush and had good things to say about the former president, most of the provocations toward Russia fell under the Bush administration beyond just five NATO expansions after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
While Putin did not mention that of Bush 43 repeal of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the list was long. Deployment of the missile defense system called Aegis Shore in NATO Europe against what Putin rejected as a non-existent Iranian threat was actually a move against Moscow. That required a Russian military response that Putin said led to much more technology advanced than those of the West.
An unwritten one COMMENTARY by President Bush during 2008 The NATO summit in Bucharest that promised membership for Ukraine and Georgia provoked a nervous reaction from Putin. That year, Russia occupied part of Georgia Abkhazia. And, in 2014, after what Putin called the CIA coup d'état to remove Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, occupied Russia CRIMEA. The reaction in the West was passive.
From this interview, the important points are in the form of two questions and one recommendation. First, how many of Putin's colleagues in the Kremlin agree with the president in substance rather than supplication? Second, at some stage, Putin will leave office. Will his successor share these views?
The recommendation, however, is critical. By reason of ignorance, amnesia, or arrogance and her conviction is “necessary power”, the US fails to respect other nations and looks down on the lesser ones. Perhaps a reason for Donald Trump apparently got along with Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un first is that as a salesperson, treating the customer kindly has always been a consideration. Of course, in trying to reduce tensions with China, dignity and respect may be as or more important than specific diplomatic gestures.
Currently, it is not known who will follow Putin and when. However, the line of ONGOING since the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 may make some sense. Gone were Lenin, Stalin, the Khrushchev triumvirate, Bulganin and Malenkov, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko and, lastly, Gorbachev.
Lenin had been shot in the head in 1918, dying six years later. Some transition was necessary until Stalin could (and was later killed) Trotsky. A transition followed after Stalin's death. Brezhnev had been suffering for years and his successors also quickly died leaving a clear path for Mikhail Gorbachev.
Despite some news reports, Putin looks healthy and is 71 years old. While the law specifies a succession process, if he does not appoint a successor as Boris Yeltsin appointed in 2000, the next president is likely to rely on a transition group, perhaps similar to the one that succeeded Stalin. The difference is that according to the Constitution, elections are needed. Only then can the true offspring appear.
It is important whether or not the future leader has a worldview similar to Putin's. Stalin was probably much more ruthless than Lenin. Interestingly, Khrushchev was a reformer who tried to shift spending from defense to the public sector and failed. Brezhnev and his successors were bureaucrats. And in his zeal to modernize and reform the USSR, Gorbachev overthrew it.
The most likely bet is that after what could be three decades of Putin's rule, technocrats and bureaucrats may take over. This could allow for improved relations with the West.
The question is whether the West can wait that long. If the Ukraine War cannot be resolved sooner rather than later, the answer is a resounding no.
Harlan Ullman Ph.D. is a senior adviser at the Atlantic Council and the main author of the military doctrine of “shock and awe”. His 12th book, The Fifth Horseman and the Young Madman: How Mass Disruptive Attacks Became the Existential Threat to a Divided Nation and the World at Large, is available on Amazon. X/Twitter: @harlankullman.
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