Foreign policy is not a Hollywood action movie


But it seems Putin thinks it is. Read this exceedingly strange story about the recent twists and turns of American/Russian interactions, and how Steven Seagal, the wooden star of bad martial arts movies, became Putin’s darling.

Then, after Putin’s presidential place-warmer Dmitry Medvedev made way for him to rule again in 2012, their conversations grew even colder. The Lough Erne meeting was their worst yet. Putin rebuffed Obama’s attempts to make him drop his support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and said he would continue arms supplies to the regime, despite a death toll already in the tens of thousands.

Suddenly, Putin proposed a bold new idea: make Steven Seagal an honorary consul of Russia in California and Arizona.

Seagal, the martial artist turned washed-up action hero, was just the man to pull U.S.–Russia relations back from the brink, Putin said, according to four current and former U.S. officials. An American patriot through and through, Seagal truly knew Russia too: He was in touch with both his Russian roots — his grandmother was from Vladivostok — and with senior figures in the Russian political and security apparatus. Seagal and Putin had met in Moscow a few months earlier; the two men enjoyed a lunch at Novo-Ogarevo, then visited a martial arts complex. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that the two men were longtime friends. That all made Seagal the ideal poster child for friendship between their nations, Putin told Obama, according to the U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about diplomatic matters.

Obama was flabbergasted. “Our reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” a U.S. official who was present at the Lough Erne meeting told BuzzFeed News.

That’s just the beginning. Keep reading for the diplomatic efforts of Dana Rohrabacher, corrupt chickenhawk from California, and Steve King, the politician always vying for the title of the dumbest man in Iowa.

I find it terrifying that this is how world affairs are managed, by a collection of bumblefucking narcissists.


  1. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    World affairs have ALWAYS been run by bumblefucking narcissistis.

    Why do you think we are where we are?

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. GREAT MEN ARE ALMOST ALWAYS BAD MEN.” (Lord Acton)

    Most people who use that quote forget the last sentence.

  2. says

    I will admit to having a soft spot for early Steven Seagal films. You can’t underestimate the impact he had on the way fight scenes are filmed. At a time that Jean Claude Van Damme was making ludicrously unrealistic kickboxing films, Seagal’s fights were compact, understated and based in real life martial arts practices.

    Too bad he caught the wingnut vibe somewhere along the way, dude used to be buddies with the Dalai Lama for petes sake.

  3. drst says

    “Our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality is an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or malexperienced dupes; our power wielded by cowards or weaklings; and our honour false in all its points. I am an enemy of the existing order for good reasons.” — George Bernard Shaw. 100+ years later and still true.

  4. erik333 says

    @2 Lou

    Being friends with Dalai Lama counts negative points on the wingnut scale? How do you figure that?

  5. says

    It amazes me that all it took for the right wing to embrace its former nemesis, the “evil empire” as it were, is a black president. What cheap, phony patriots.

  6. says

    I will admit to having a soft spot for early Steven Seagal films. You can’t underestimate the impact he had on the way fight scenes are filmed. At a time that Jean Claude Van Damme was making ludicrously unrealistic kickboxing films, Seagal’s fights were compact, understated and based in real life martial arts practices.

    I enjoyed some of his early films as a kid, when action movies tended to be better than they actually are.

  7. M'thew says


    Being friends with Dalai Lama counts negative points on the wingnut scale? How do you figure that?

    I understand Lou’s statement to mean that Steven Seagal first used to be buddies with the Dalai Lama (this being a good thing) and then caught the wingnut vibe, resulting in him now being buddies with Putin instead of the Dalai Lama (although, I don’t know how warm his relationship with the DL currently is). So the DL and the wingnut scale are opposites.

  8. says

    Okay. Is that a real photo? Or some kinda editorial Photoshop? Because I’m finding the odd similarity between Seagal’s look (I think it’s the hair, and the shirt, mostly) and certain standard issue Stalin portraits slightly eerie, under the circumstances.

    (/Mind, given the height difference–1.93 m Seagal, 5’4 Stalin–maybe more a Stalin statue.)

  9. rietpluim says

    @Robert Westbrook #5 – My thought exactly. There was a time when action heroes were fighting the commies.

  10. says

    @Robert Westbrook #5, rietpluim @10: Commies? What commies? All I’ve see in the Kremlin for about the last decade is fascist plutocrats, i.e. exactly the sort of character the Right loves to cozy up to.

  11. chigau (違う) says

    Eamon Knight #12
    Weren’t the Commies in the Kremlin actually fascist plutocrats?

  12. says

    chigau @13: No doubt, but they pretended to be the servants of The People and The Revolution (not being Russian, I have no idea how well this went over with The People). About 20 years back they stopped pretending. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, indeed. Literally.

  13. Who Cares says

    There is something just as crazy as the Seagal thing in that interview.
    The complaint that Russia isn’t allowed to support their proxy when the U.S. was doing the same to the groups opposing Assad. Placing the blame of the civilian deaths on Putin while if the U.S. hadn’t intervened in Syria those deaths wouldn’t have happened either.

  14. says

    Seagal was really good with the aikido. He is not such a good actor.

    Apparently Putin has mistaken Seagal’s role as a “Russian ex-diplomat*” in ‘Driven to Kill’ as documentary.

    (* Have you ever noticed how Seagal’s characters are all ex-something? Ex-CIA, ex-russian diplomat, ex-aikido shihan…)

  15. unclefrogy says

    the politicians both in the “free world” and the communist block have all along used the language of ideals, of freedom and rights, of social justice to distract the people. The leaders all effect the image peoples hero.
    While the “plutocrats” , the established order, the powerful have all along had more to say and more influence on what is actually done and who benefits the most are content to stay more off of the center stage but not far away where they can be “consulted” on important issues.
    uncle frogy

  16. zibble says

    Wow, I wouldn’t have thought Seagal could stoop lower than palling around with Sheriff Arpaio on fucking house raids, but here we go.

    Seriously, how can these people just embrace murderous fascists so easily?

  17. says

    I have to disagree.

    The U.S. has run its foreign policy like it was a movie for over a century. Our government and our media suppress some facts and exaggerate others (and sometimes make things up out of whole cloth) to produce a clean story which justifies whatever it is we were going to do anyway. Try to think of a major foreign policy decision of the last century in which elites didn’t do that, didn’t come up with a basically-false narrative to support policy decisions, and although you may possibly find an instance or two, you’ll have to look hard to do it. (Even in World War II, we had to demonize our opponents by making up extra things which they had not, in fact, done, while carefully avoiding mention of things we had done — which is why the official histories don’t mention that the Japanese gave us a declaration of war days before the Pearl Harbor attacks, for example, or that we knew the Japanese used that sort of attack and actually had praised them for it — when they used it on the Russians 35-odd years earlier.) From William Randolph Hearst making up Spanish atrocities to gin up the Spanish-American war to Yellowcake Uranium and Private Jessica Lynch, the narratives are edited and massaged, and we eat them up.

    Couple this with the fact that the real decision-makers in American policy are definitely right-wing (and if you stop paying attention to what Obama says and look at what he does, that includes him — he is basically a machine for implementing right-wing policy under a Democratic banner), and the right has a strong predilection for “strong” (i.e. violent and unthinking) leaders, preferably male, and this is simply a bit of outreach. The right embraced Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and so forth. Putin’s approach ignores the semi-rational froth represented by the official stance of the Democrats — who are uniformly either ineffectual or insincere — and says to the nitwits who actually run things “hey, we’re not so different, we both like to bust some heads, neither of us backs down from a bad decision, we like to use violence to settle our differences, we can do business”. Putin knows that the Democrats are, at best, a temporary roadblock in America’s push towards the right, and he is seeking to negotiate with the actual rulers.

    I suspect that Putin is a lot smarter than most Americans will even allow themselves to think, and I’m very certain, at this point, that Americans on the whole are a lot stupider than we like to think.

  18. kayden says

    Obama was flabbergasted. “Our reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’”

    Sadly, the answer is no. They’re not kidding. It’s kind of strange how Rightwingers are so fascinated by Putin.

  19. anteprepro says

    Next up, Chuck Norris, meme and wingnut article scrawler, becomes the Chinese ambassador to the United States.

  20. chigau (違う) says

    In Steven Seagal movies where he speaks Japanese (not badly for a 外国人),
    he talks like a girl.

  21. Pierce R. Butler says

    The Vicar… @ # 21: … the Japanese gave us a declaration of war days before the Pearl Harbor attacks…

    Ci-fucking-tation needed!

  22. chigau (違う) says

    Pierce R. Butler #26
    I’ve heard this one … somewhere … probably the Internets … something about it was in Japanese and delivered by … carrier pigeon … or something …
    I’m sure that The Vicar has a source.

  23. Zimmerle says

    Sadly, I think it’s almost worse that Putin probably knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s taking a page from the Plantagenets whose motto was essentially “we’re the spawn of the Devil.”

    By shocking people with brutality you keep them off their toes and make them think they had better give in rather than oppose you.

    Eventually, this house of cards will collapse for him, and he’ll probably pull the cord on his golden parachute and retire to Venezuela with vast sums of money.

  24. =8)-DX says

    Being friends with Dalai Lama counts negative points on the wingnut scale? How do you figure that?

    The Dalai Lama is a prime wingnut, toted around the world as a champion of peace and contemplation – but one of the great woo-promoting figures of the past few decades. I’m not saying it’s necessarily *bad* being friends with that person (as compared to really nasty people like popes Francis or Palpatine Benedict), but his public veneration is absurd and insulting and many of his public opinions while seemingly harmless, just as nonsensically-based as any other religious twerp.

    Dalai Lama:
    +5 wingnut points.
    +2 philanthropy points.
    +2 peacenick points.
    +3 woo-merchant points.
    +2 aristocracy points.

  25. rjw1 says

    Since Hollywood is continually rewriting history in America’s favor, how could anyone tell the difference?

    @2 Lou “Weegee” Doench,

    “Seagal’s fights were compact, understated and based in real life martial arts practices.”

    Agreed, during my relatively brief career as an aikido student, I saw many experts demonstrating their skills and Seagal’s films were by far the most realistic of all the genre.
    None of those interminable boring bouts we see in the kung fu movies.

    However, I’d say that Seagal’s acting actually deteriorated, while Schwarzenegger’s seemed to improve.