Putin and Obama: a comparative irony of the “dove” and the “hawk”

But Russia sometimes can play a positive role in world politics, in spite of the fact that I want to stress again in internal policy our president and our prime minister are realizing not the best variant, definitely not the best variant of economic and social policy. — Aleksandr Buzgalin, Professor of Political Economic, Moscow State University

Its bedazzling that the person that was largely portrayed as the “bad guy” turns out to be the “good one” who stopped in undeniable sense the possible eruption of World War III.

How could we explain the irony of a former KGB director who successfully denied before the international community a so-called Nobel Prize winner from militarily striking Syria?

Not only did the Russian President shame and smash before the bar of the global public opinion the American President, on the question of the impropriety and inappropriateness of bombing Syria; the former has also shown in a clear and comprehensive manner what the world has already known long time ago and that is the irrefutable fact that America is not what it says it is to the planet.

What President Putin did a couple of days ago was really amazing!

Indeed, “millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.””

I am wondering now who is the true hawk and the genuine dove? Who between these two individuals are for peace and for war and naked aggression?

I am not a fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, I firmly consider him as an authoritarian leader bordering on being a tyrant.

We all know the state of human rights violations and disrespect for political expression in the former Soviet Union.

Admittedly, it is very hard to believe President Putin as a virtuous man and a man of good will especially the way he dealt with Chechens (and other minorities) with an iron fist; not to mention, most importantly his Macheviallian method of choking all kinds of freedoms and civil liberties in Russia.

Specifically, I will not forgive him for his inhumanity with regard to the case of Pussy Riot rock band (See my article, In Defense of Artistic Freedom and the Freedom of Expression: Political Dissent in Russia through art and music, Etniko Bandido Infoshop, July 30, 2012).

Nonetheless, to quote from the interview of Aleksandr Buzgalin, Professor of Political Economic, Moscow State University, “What’s Putin’s Interest in Syria?”, The Real News Network, September 13th:

“I want to say that I want to talk about interests of Russian people and not about interests of Putin and his colleagues about Russian authorities, because really we have very often big contradictions between these two actors of our social and political life.

“But now I think Putin made something positive. It’s not typical for his internal policy, but for foreign policy this time it’s more or less a progressive step. Why he did it, of course, it’s better to ask Mr. Putin, not me. I am not president of Russia still. But my command will be following. I think Russia is trying to show that our country is one of the important geopolitical actors, players, and we really want to have our presentation in central, this key region of world conflicts and to play our own role. This is, I think, real geopolitical interests of our authorities.

“Also, there are some important reasons, much more important reasons. This is first of all peace and absence of war, absence of killings and killings of thousands and thousands of people, which already started and which can become terrible catastrophe if United States will use modern weapons and Russia will participate in this conflict from another side. It’s really terrible threat which can be compared with Vietnam War, or even more dangerous because Israel is nearby. And this is also very important agent, actor of these conflicts.

“So from my point of view, Russian now is realizing its geopolitical interests. But these interests are more or less adequate, or better to say more adequate for peace in the region than geopolitical interests of the elite of the United States and President Obama.

“And I completely agree with United States citizens, majority of citizens, as I understood, who don’t want to have a war in this region. And this is interest of our people.
“Why Obama did not express interests of majority of Americans and Putin this time expressed interests of not only Russians but I think majority of other people in the world? This is an interesting question. But Russia sometimes can play a positive role in world politics, in spite of the fact that I want to stress again in internal policy our president and our prime minister are realizing not the best variant, definitely not the best variant of economic and social policy.”

Indeed, I am critical of President Putin and Russia’s ultimate motive in resolving this issue of paramount universal importance yet, having said that, I would like to state for purposes of the record that on the specific issue of handling Syria, there is no shadow of doubt that I am on his side!

I commend President Putin in his efforts to derail the American plan of bombing Syria. I also subscribe to his stern criticism of America’s ideology of exceptionalism, militarism and unilateralism.

As President Putin said directly to the American people in his op-ed published by the New York Times, “A Plea for Caution From Russia: What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria”, September 11th:

“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.”

On the other hand, though critical, I welcomed the election of President Obama. I joined the American and the majority of the international community in his assumption of power in the US five years ago.

I am one of those millions of people who believe that this president will return America to its old path, yet, year by year (he is already on his second and last term) I am getting pissed off and utterly disappointed with him.

Sad but true, but the so-called “change” that he consistently and persuasively proclaimed that we can believe in — turns out to be even worst than their war freak Dubya!

This president has grimly made the so-called American Dream into the worst American Nightmare ever!

This guy, has no difference from his predecessor. Indisputably, Obama is much dangerous and more warmonger than Bush Jr.

Hence, late 2011, I completely junked this bastard fellow!

He kept on saying that the US must intervene with Syria to defend international law, yet they will do so without the sanction of the United Nations and again, disrespecting and bypassing its Security Council.

The question here is: what are the moral ascendency and the legal right of the US to do so, if they are the number one violator of the said international law?

How could they enforce or implement the said law, when they are not respecting it and does not abide by its force?

I do not know whether Obama still remember his pledge to end the wars that he inherited from Dubya! They have yet to settle the on-going war in Iraq and Afghanistan plus the continuous drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, and now, they are so agitated and so bloody eager to intervene on Syria.

It defies the law of logic to say the least.

Does the US know the dire repercussions and the deadly consequences of their latest intended military adventure?

I concur with President Putin’s analysis that:

“The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

Indeed, if the US proceeded with their folly and madness, the consequences are blatantly grim. The Syrian attack will lead to a regional war and said war might lead to another world war to the prejudice of humanity as a whole.

The People of the World must stand up as One; in preventing at all cost the eruption of this war!

War is against the interest of Humanity; hence we all must declare war on war!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Department of Humanities and Philosophy
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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