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:

Media Disinformation and Political Discourtesy


Disturbing. The Daily Mail runs a story with headlines that imply the ‘pro-Russian’ activists in East Ukraine are anti-Semitic on the basis of a few leaflets but in the story itself we are told that the person who purportedly signed the ‘order’ flatly denies doing this. The denial is much more credible than assertions that the documents are authentic and yet on the basis of this obvious set up John Kerry condemns the East Ukranian activists. The article is worth reading as a fascinating example of how allegation and invective have taken the place of evidence and analysis in mainstream media reporting and among high level politicians in the west. To elucidate, more than seems decent among rational folk, people who are given to issuing fascistic orders, in writing, are not given to repudiating them the next day.

Also very disturbing in the article is Obama’s comment the day after reaching agreement with the Russians to work together to defuse tensions in East Ukraine: “Late last night, President Barack Obama said he was sceptical about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United States and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments. ‘My hope is that we actually do see follow-through over the next several days, but I don’t think, given past performance, that we can count on that,’ President Obama said at an impromptu news conference at the White House a few hours after the end of the meeting in Geneva. ‘We have to be prepared to potentially respond to what continue to be efforts of interference by the Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine.” Under which definition or understanding of diplomacy or common courtesy do you reach an agreement with anyone and then make public aspersions on their reliability.



Impressive speech. Amazing to hear a politician speak so frankly. Putin is talking at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. He starts by warning that he is not going to be mouthing empty pleasantries and he is true to his word, he basically tells the US that he understands that their goal is world domination, he wants them to hear that he condemns it as dangerous and immoral and that he will take a stand against that goal. Russia is lucky to have found such a leader.