Vilifying Vlad

It looks like a significant part of the ‘liberal mainstream media’, in the US at least, has been recruited to present Vladimir Putin as a cross between Hitler, Stalin, Peter the Great and a James Bond villain. At least Jon Stewart is funny. Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, not so much:

Perhaps Cenk should look at the role of the US/EU in all this. The leaked conversation between Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt plus Nuland’s assertion that the US had spend $5bn over 20 years to buy influence in Ukraine shows that the US was pushing for regime change in Ukraine.

The past 20 years have seen an expansion of NATO deeper into Eastern Europe and the US taking down regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and supporting jihadists in Syria. Putin has cause to be worried about an alliance associate with regime change moving towards his doorstep and may have some ‘red lines’ of his own. Cenk should remember that the Kiev government is there as the result of a violent coup and does not have the legitimacy conferred by an election; under those circumstances it is difficult to condemn pro Russian separatists or a Russian president who says he has a duty to help them when that illegitimate government threatens to use force against them.

Unlike Stewart and Uygur, Bill O’Reilly is part of the ‘conservative mainstream media’ and his view of Putin as an arch villain is to be expected. Stephen Cohen challenges O’Reilley’s perspective in this clip:

Cohen argues that with the exception of Gorbachev, Putin has been the ‘least authoritarian’ of Russian leaders and had little choice but to respond as he did:

On The Rebel Atrocities in Syria

This video is, as it warns, extremely graphic and violent. It shows members of the rebel forces executing people by throwing them off buildings, by beheading and by shooting. It shows small children being indoctrinated into an ideology of terrorism. It argues that the rebels are persecuting minorities in Syria and using rape as a weapon.

Everything I have read and seen on alternative media or non-western media sources convinces me that the rebels are worse than the Syrian government and its army, yet the US/UK mainstream media and politicians continue to push the line that while elements in the rebel forces have committed atrocities the government forces have done far worse. This is a dangerous lie and an increasingly obvious one and it is for this reason that I’m sharing this graphic and emotive video.

While I cannot endorse the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army, I am suspicious of any propaganda against them and their President Assad. And whatever the merits or otherwise of the government forces the fact that they are fighting against the brutal rebels means that attacks against them such as the illegal and unprovoked strikes by Israel support the rebels in their atrocities. There is a lot of evidence that the West and their regional allies are facilitating the rebels and are therefore at least indirectly responsible for these atrocities.

Putin’s Message

Earlier today, on Facebook, I wrote the following:

It would appear that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is more qualified to be the world’s policeman than is the US or the UK who are more the world’s vigilantes. In his New York Times article addressed directly to the American people and by extension to us, Putin claims that “From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”
Cameron has claimed that, by vetoing military action in the Security Council, Russia has been ‘shirking its international responsibilities’. Not so, it is Britain, America and France who most threaten international law and Russia and China who protect it by refusing to turn the Security Council into a lynch mob. It is clear, across the alternative media, that Putin commands more respect than Obama or Cameron even if some still, theatrically, shake their virtual heads at the conclusion that the ‘Russian autocrat’ speaks more sense than their own leaders.
It was not Putin’s manoeuvre, primarily, that forestalled an immediate attack on Syria, it was the resistance of people in the UK and US who no longer bought the lies of the media and politicians and wrote in unprecedented numbers to their representatives in Parliament and Congress but Putin gave Obama a way to evade an embarrassing climbdown or a politically dangerous confrontation with his own people as well as a militarily insane intervention in Syria. In his New York Times article Putin is conciliatory, friendly but as a ‘critical friend’. I especially like his ending remarks:
“If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
The cynical among us will say that Putin’s appeal to ‘apple pie and motherhood’ and to ‘the Lord’ is well crafted for his audience. Nevertheless it is enormously refreshing to hear a world leader speak like this. Much more than Obama ever did, Putin has become representative of hope.

It’s been pointed out that Putin’s record on rights for gay people is not a ringing endorsement for the sincerity of his assertion that ‘God created us equal’.

I will admit to being somewhat taken with Putin .. some might say taken in by him. The anti-gay legislation and homophobia in Russia should be opposed but I have to ask how many countries has Putin invaded? Has he killed more people that Obama and Cameron? Russia has interests in the Middle East just as the US has. I can’t judge the man’s sincerity in saying what he does but I can go along with what he says on the issue of Syria and international law at least. The western media will do whatever it can to demonise Putin, he will deserve some of that but some will be western propaganda. I don’t excuse Putin’s anti-gay legislation when I give him fair credit for his international diplomacy any more that I excuse Cameron for bombing Libya and a lot more when I give him fair credit for supporting gay rights.


I found this video on Films for Action. It claims to be a perspective on the West by North Koreas. I think there is some dispute about that but it comes across as a good ‘outside the culture’ perspective.

Another ‘outside perspective’ is given by David Icke in his Oxford Union talk:

Both these films are long and say much the same thing but I found them worth watching. Icke is often dismissed because he sometimes talks about quite outre things but he does a good job in opening many people’s eyes to the ‘Matrix’.