There is no escaping it. If we can scrape away all the hypocrisy and cant about the man, there is only one candidate worthy of the next Nobel Prize. This is not being suggested because he has done something for a lasting world peace. Rather he has helped our nation avoid two stupid wars, one possibly nuclear.
Viewing international relations from the perspective of an American may be a narrow way of looking at things, but at this point, who cares? We have had almost a decade and a half of failure on the world stage. Let’s be self-centered for once.
Oddly enough, the man who is doing so much for us isn’t even American. Weirder still, he is looked upon as the nation’s enemy by those in the higher reaches of the foreign policy establishment and prestige press.
Yet Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is the man to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. Now, understand that he has not helped our country out of the goodness of his heart. After all, he is the Russian president, not the American.
Case 1: He kept us out of Nuclear War.
In arranging a ceasefire in the Ukraine, he short-circuited the Euro-American push east. It is now all but certain that NATO membership will not happen. In this, he showed he had a greater interest in stopping the Atlantic Alliance than the allies had in getting their way.
Our desire for a Ukrainian takeover was a farce anyway. Democracy is sacred until an elected leader disagrees and then our chosen villain must be rioted out. Maybe it was not a zeal for good government that led to the deposition of the previous Ukrainian president. Instead, we guess that our passion for the Ukraine might have had something to do with hydrocarbons. You don’t think our vice president’s son, Hunter, was made board member of Ukraine’s largest private gas company because of familial genius.
No matter the cause, Vlad had no choice but to push back. After all, we could leave Europe and take all our troops home and nobody over there has the capacity to follow us. Putin does not have that luxury. To go away, he would have to move Russia. There is little record of anyone successfully transporting a landmass over a distance, let alone one covering several time zones. The Russkies are stuck where they are and a superpower deciding to get close would concentrate the mind.
He didn’t flinch when sanctions were announced. Then again, who really does? He supported the rebels where he could and despite all the hand holding of the junta by the US and EU his proxies so defeated the Ukies that finally after all the promises to crush the rebels failed, they agreed to a cease-fire with alacrity.
Now there is no more reason for a war to get out of hand and become nuclear. Kind of disappointing to our betters, but if the cease-fire holds, we lumpen citizens won’t be fried in a nuclear exchange. Good on you, Vlad.
Case 2: He kept us out of the Syrian War.
The Russian president seems to have made a career of pulling our chestnuts out of the fire for us. You remember the Syrian Chemical Weapons Caper. Now, whether or not the regime used them or the rebels, someone had to pay. The administration had decided it was the Assad government and were intending not just sanctions, but some of that good old extreme prejudice.
It wasn’t a really good idea, but what with the imaginary red lines that Assad was not really crossing, Obama was going to have to do something,
In the nick of time, Putin got Syria to agree to give up the chemical weapons. This guy can pull rabbits out of the hat like nobody’s business.
The question becomes, why would he want a Nobel? Many good folk have been awarded it. Jimmy Carter got it for a lifetime of campaigning to get it. It does have some not so bright stars. As songwriter Tom Lehrer put it, “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.” And, of course our incumbent chief executive got it for, well, something.
As his work has benefited our nation, maybe it would do to give him the Presidential Medal of freedom. Granted it is given out like Kleenex, but we should show some gratitude. He will be part of the illustrious company that served freedom such as Estee Lauder who made American womanhood smell nice or Sam Walton who helped suck the life out of American downtowns.
Then there is Warren Buffett. President Obama personally placed the bauble around his neck. Whatever the Sage of Omaha did for the cause of freedom is not known. Has made more money than any other investor, however.
There is a problem with that pick. Ol’ Warren is financing Burger King’s decamping to the Great White North. The President has called companies that depart "corporate deserters." Maybe Putin would consider the medal an insult.
Sorry Vlad, Best we can do is thanks. It’s not much.
Ungrateful as we are, it appears we may need him again. Our president announced we must destroy ISIL, or is it ISIS or IS. They killed American reporters. Horrible stuff, but do we go into other countries when a private citizen is killed while on the job?
Anyway, his plan does not reek of sanity. The idea of relying on the vanishingly tiny coterie "moderates" is not well thought out. Unfortunately, people in government rarely have the courage to do nothing.
Someone has to get us out of this. Paging Doctor Putin, Doctor Putin to the emergency room.
Richard Morchoe is a columnist, book reviewer and article writer for a regional monthly magazine in Western Central Massachusetts. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.