Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Man of the Year


I'm not entirely surprised at Time's choice for man of the year, Vladimir Putin. Putin's managed to play two opposite ends of the identity coin as he's both hero and villain depending on who you talk to. The accompanying article (aptly titled Choosing Order Before Freedom) does a good job of breaking down Putin's rise to what is essentially the first Czar since Nicholas II and highlights both the positive aspects of his rule (stability) and the darker, more corrupt facets (oppression.) Interesting read and interesting choice though I'd have gone with runner-up General David Petraeus.

5 comments:

Dan tdaxp said...

From a context of world-impact it's close (between Putin and Petraeus), but I'd go with Putin.

Putin is managing the trick of turning Europe pro-American, because Russia is close and America is far away... and Putin makes Europe remember it!

Putin has been a disaster so far for Russia's geopolitical influence (alienating Yeltsin-era friends in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, some of whom wrap themselves up in colored revolutions, others keep their autocratic clothes, and all despise Vladimir), but Kosovo will be the first time a loss of influence becomes a direct increase of control of another great power...

subadei said...

I'm a bit torn on ole Vlad. In one respect I hold a sort of Hobbesian view in that consolidating power has been effective in bringing Russia back to some degree of economic and political stability (no doubt the basis for the adulation he gets in Russia.)
Of course the idealist sees the blatant violations of principles that are the hallmarks of a modern democracy and wonders why no apparent transition to more transparent, less corrupt governance now that Russia has rebounded is being made.

Is Putin the power hungry autocrat he's villanized to be or is he acting out of what he sees as necessity for an economy largely based on fuel commodities?

Dan tdaxp said...

Is Putin the power hungry autocrat he's villanized to be or is he acting out of what he sees as necessity for an economy largely based on fuel commodities?

I don't think those are mutually exclusive.

subadei said...

In Putin's case, I agree. Which is why some of the rhetoric from sources that I otherwise hold in high regard seems rather shallow. Certain elements of Putin's rein (the Nashi for example) lend one to make comparison's but overall the equation to Hitler is ridiculous.

Dan tdaxp said...

Putin's shown an ability to silence domestic opposition while overseeing a general decline of Russian power on all fronts. He recalls no Russian leader so much as Brezhnev.