Vladimir Putin interviewed on 60 Minutes


It seems that the hypocrisy of US presidents will never end because the media here gives them a free pass. Today at the United Nations, president Obama scolded Russia for its actions in Ukraine saying, “We cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated.”

The US, which has invaded other countries so many times that it is hard to keep count, is the last country that should be moralizing on this issue to other countries. But I have never heard a single US news reporter even challenge a president or other senior political figure when they make this kind of charge. Sometimes I feel it is useless for me to keep pointing this hypocrisy out because nothing changes. But at the same time to give up in disgust is to become part of the problem of maintaining silence.

Russian president Vladimir Putin was interviewed on 60 Minutes where he challenged some of the assumptions of the western media. Why is that we get to hear them in the mainstream media only when being raised by the autocratic and equally disingenuous leader of another country?

It is quite a fascinating exchange.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Comments

  1. StevoR says

    Vladimir Putin is an evil homophobic bullying dictator.

    Whatever the hypocrisies and faults of the West & the US of A may be, it doesn’t that fact nor does it make Russia’s annexation of Crimea, war and invasion in Ukraine and other such atrocities right.

  2. StevoR says

    Or make it wrong for Obama and others to criticise and point out when and what Russia and Putin do wrong and the threat they pose to others.

    Its not impossible for someone to be both hypocritical about and also correct in saying X.

  3. Lesbian Catnip says

    Moot point in my case. As a Canadian, I’m only slightly less horrified by America than I am by Russia. You know, in the way I might be afraid of a mother brown bear more than a venomous snake.

  4. Dunc says

    Vladimir Putin is an evil homophobic bullying dictator.

    Whatever the hypocrisies and faults of the West & the US of A may be, it doesn’t [change] that fact nor does it make Russia’s annexation of Crimea, war and invasion in Ukraine and other such atrocities right.

    Do you see anybody here arguing that it does?

    Its not impossible for someone to be both hypocritical about and also correct in saying X.

    Do you see anybody here arguing that it is?

    Notice that Mano described Putin as “autocratic and equally disingenuous”. Does that sound like someone saying, or even subtly implying either of the things you seem so eager to protest against? If not, then what purpose do your protestations actually serve?

    Notice also that your statements also work perfectly well in reverse: just because Putin is “an evil homophobic bullying dictator”, that does not mean that he is not correct in his accusations, nor does it lessen any of the atrocities committed by “the West & the US of A”.

  5. A Masked Avenger says

    What Lesbian Catnip said.

    I’ve noticed that interviews of foreign rulers like Putin, Ahmedinejad and the like, consistently make the US administration and congress look like the craven liars they are. Not because those people are less craven or more honest, but because they can freely speak truths that are unspeakable here. “You don’t like troops massing INSIDE Russia, NEAR the Ukrainian border? By that standard you have invaded and occupied Germany [not to mention Saudi Arabia and 159 other countries]…” YES! Quite so. Something Americans can’t say from any end of the political spectrum, because there’s so little air gap between Bush and Obama (and Hillary) that from three feet back they look like a presidential sandwich.

    Similarly when 60 Minutes interviewed Ahmedinejad. It made me more embarrassed than ever at President Bush–because lying, totalitarian, homophobic, Islamist sack of shit though he may be, his statements about American foreign policy were more honest and accurate than anything we’ve heard out of D.C. since Jimmy Carter left office, if even then.

    And I realize that’s because honesty happens to suit his agenda. There may be human rights activists in China applauding what Obama has to say–about China–because an honest appraisal of China’s flaws is as useful to Obama’s agenda as is utter dishonesty about American use of torture, drone warfare, bailouts for the über-rich, etc.

  6. says

    Lesbian Catnip (#4) –

    As a Canadian, I’m only slightly less horrified by America than I am by Russia. You know, in the way I might be afraid of a mother brown bear more than a venomous snake.

    Same here and agreed, though some might misunderstand your analogy because of history.

    The bear in your analogy is the US – large, aggressive, territorial and willing to attack without provocation. Russia is the snake in your analogy – only dangerous if approached, provoked and threatened, and will back off if left alone.

  7. says

    The bear in your analogy is the US – large, aggressive, territorial and willing to attack without provocation. Russia is the snake in your analogy – only dangerous if approached, provoked and threatened, and will back off if left alone.

    If you look at geopolitics, Russia is only a superpower when the rest of Europe and Asia are weak and fragmented. As we can see, Russia has been invaded many times and can be weakened relatively easily. The US is a totally different proposition. With strategic access to 2 oceans, and internal lines, it’s incredibly defensible and cannot be isolated economically (imagine embargoing the US. Then imagine embargoing Russia) The US is an inevitable empire and has out-militarized the globe in order to project its form of corporate imperialism. The US is, by far, the most dangerous power that has ever existed on Earth, and can probably only be toppled by itself. What we should be doing is hoping that it doesn’t metastasize into something really nasty – which it easily could. As it is, the entire planet is dotted with strategic US bases, and the US navy is able to project power wherever it’s needed, and it does so unhesitatingly.

    Putin came to power in Russia with a nationalistic message of making Russia great again, and he’s been doing what he can to cling to Russia’s status as a player, but the truth is what the US neocons say: the US can do whatever it wants and everyone else is left fighting for the scraps. US presidents have known this since the end of WWI and it was decisively hammered home at WWII.

    Putin is nobody. Russia is nothing. Russia is only a threat to nations weaker than Russia. Of course the same could be said about the US except everyone is weaker than the US.

  8. StevoR says

    @ ^ Marcus Ranum : Most nations are weaker than Russia ex-superpower that it is too. Although I guess you can argue about weaker in what / which ways.

    I’d also suggest that Russia is a lot more than “nothing” to a whole lot of people especially the Russians and Ukraineans and many others.

    @6. A Masked Avenger : Huh? The USA has occupied Saudi Arabia and 159 others countries? Y’know I’m gunna call for a fact check on that claim. Don’t think so!

    @5. Dunc :

    “Do you see anybody here arguing that it does?”

    Did I say I did? Nope. But to say Putin has credibility here and isn’t what he is would be wrong.

    “If not, then what purpose do your protestations actually serve?”

    A reminder of the stark reality and an argument against taking Putin’s words with other than a mountain of halite.

  9. Dunc says

    StevoR; You are engaging in the classic ad hominem fallacy: “Putin is a bad man, therefore we should not listen to what he has to say”.

  10. lorn says

    VP is an opportunist. He knows right from wrong in international relations but also when and where he can likely get away with shit.

    IMO the issue came to a head with the Crimea invasion, where Russia really doesn’t deserve any great blame. Crimea has been Russian for a very long time and in a well ordered and predictable world without flaky drunks in the habit of broadly generous , but entirely symbolic, gestures it would have remained indisputably Russian. Crimea was given to Ukraine, then a solidly loyal member of the USSR, as part of a drunken demonstration of eternal friendship with the sure knowledge that Ukraine would always be part of the USSR. Under nominal Ukrainian ownership Russia ran everything and Ukraine never made any move to improve or develop the area. The practical effect of Ukrainian ownership was that a few signs and maps were changed.

    Even under Ukrainian independence after the breakdown of the USSR Russia was unwilling to make waves. This changed when Ukraine started to make anti-Russian noises and they suggested that the Russian base in Crimea, Russia’s only major warm water port and singular direct access to the Mediterranean, was threatened. Russia responded by undertaking a largely bloodless invasion to regain the vital area mistakenly given away.

    All was well until the Western world made a stink about this issue. Once Russia realized that it wouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt, and would have to endure a whole lot of harsh rhetoric, but no real military response, it figured out that it could push farther.

    The proxy war in Ukraine has elevate Russia’s reputation and morale, gets it into the news, makes Russia look tough and unpredictable, and restores its standing as a player. Outside of the sanctions messing around in Ukraine has been all up-side as far a Putin is concerned. The shooting down of an airliner, a potential crisis point, has had little or no real down side for Russia … yet.

    Russia’s move to reinforce Syria, protecting its only Mediterranean base and being seen to maintain solidarity with its historic ally, has, so far, only been good for it. Of course who it bombs in Syria is going to be a tricky choice. In support of Assad it can bomb Hamas (associated with Iran, a potential client for arms sales), ISIS ( populated with a vengeful group of Georgian terrorists likely to make troubles on Russia’s southern border.), or the FSA (A smaller group of entirely local underfunded freedom fighters with few international connections and no major backers). The FSA is the ‘safe’ target. Recent initial reports are that most of the Russian air strikes have hit FSA positions. Figures.

    It’s like being the smallest man in the room when a bar fight breaks out. You have to expect to get punched.

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