Putin's Back: Good or Bad For US-Russia Relations?

Frankly, the abuse heaped on this guy (by the Western media) makes me think Putin is OK.
I think he is basically a technocrat, who wants to modernize Russia.
So why not play ball with him? Russia is a major power-they have indicated that they are willing to work with the US, on issues of mutual concern.
Why not work with the guy instead of badmouthing him?

I think that’s a ridiculous way to come to an opinion.

I think he’s not shy about having critics or potential opponents thrown in jail and perhaps murdered, and there’s some evidence of fraud in the latest election. I’m not keen on guys who hang on to power for decades either. I don’t think the comparisons of his youth corps to the Hitler Youth are warranted, but it’s pretty creepy. What he’s done seems to have been good for the Russian economy, but I’m not seeing him as a technocrat.

Putin is a dictator, running Russia behind a weather-beaten facade of democracy. He operates more or less like a mafia don.

We’ve done business with dictators before, I guess, but Putin seems particularly unsavory to me.

I know, right? I kept saying the same thing about Kim Jong Il.

He’s weakened most of the democratic institutions in the country and used a corrupted judiciary, violence and murder to control the press. I’m not sure that’s particularly technocratic. And a free press is part of “modernization”.

That’s more or less what the US gov’t does. And probably should do, given that as bad as Putin is, he’s pretty clearly not going anywhere. But I don’t see any reason why the Western press has to pretend he’s a nice guy just because the State Dept. has to live with him.

Not to mention bin Laden, who was just a nice old man who liked to play with his grandkids and sometimes jam with Cat Stevens. Talk about not getting a fair shake.

Not to Godwinize, or anything, but the Western media heaps abuse on Hitler, too. Was he ok?

Well, he was a terrific dancer.

Yeah, not to mention bombing the crap out of Chechnya and installing a puppet pro-Moscow government, and ostensibly managing the military during a period of numerous human rights violations, murders, and disappearances, many of civilians. Let’s just say he’s not my fave.

Others have already addressed the other things you’ve said.

But why do you feel the United States is badmouthing Putin rather than working with him? The media is free to say whatever it wants to. But “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is prepared to work with Vladimir Putin as the clear winner of Russia’s presidential election.”

Okay, you start. What criticisms of Putin do you feel to be unfair?

The US absolutely does “play ball” with Russia, in a number of arenas. Maybe you could, I dunno, point to some examples instead of platitudes about how he’s “OK” and how we “don’t play ball” with them?

I’m not sure he’s “back” either - he hardly went away.

Basically, this has all been expected for the past 5 years anyway.

Exactly. He had a yes-man keeping the seat warm for him during the period he was constitutionally prohibited from holding the office. Huey Long used to pull the same stunt in Louisiana.

Why not acknowledge the Russian’s interest in Syria?
Of course, our brilliant maneuvers in Iraq show that we know what we are doing.
And the modernization of the Russian armed forces-this is not threatening the US in any way-but the media keeps harping on it.

Some harping. This is the very first time I’ve heard of it.

Again, some specific commentary would be nice. Yes, Russia supplies a staggering amount of arms to Syria. The US is also supplying arms to a number of countries. In fact, we are the leading arms supplier in the world. Twice what Russia provides in fact.
The Russian modernization of their military forces is a concern to us because they have attacked a US ally within the past 4 years. They have also threatened asymmetrical response to the US missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Not to mention the repeated assassination of Russian journalists, and the lack of free and fair elections.

So yes, this is all of interest to us.

Until you come back with some coherent examples or whatever, I don’t know what to tell you. Putin is not an “OK guy”. We “play ball” with Russia. What are your specific, cited concerns here?

There’s an ever-so-slight difference in our customer bases. Just thought it might be of some importance, y’know in order to stay on facts and not wild, but stupid, implication.

Russia tried monarchy. It was filled with corruption and incompetent leaders. It failed.

Russia called itself the Soviet Union and tried Communism. It was filled with corruption and incompetent leaders. It failed.

Russia tried democracy. It was filled with corruption and incompetent leaders. It looks like that’s over, too.

I don’t really see how Putin being dictator over Russia really changes anything, with the possible exception of him being far more predictable (reasonable, perhaps?) than many past Russian leaders. Putin’s still a roadblock to what the US wants to do, but what’s new about that?

Ah yes. Those bastions of democratic governance, Angola, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia, and Pakistan.

They’re not doing capitalism any favors over there either.

They’re running out of systems to screw up. I think they’re down to fascism and theocracy.