Sunday, May 27, 2018

Putin is Consistent but the West isn’t, Portnikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 27 – At the very moment that the international investigation of the downing of the Malaysian jetliner concluded that Moscow was behind that terrorist act, Western leaders and businessmen were in St. Petersburg to cozy up with Vladimir Putin and to try to make deals to enrich themselves, Vitaly Portnikov observes.

            Indeed, at his press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin was even asked about the report and of course as is his custom acted as if he knew nothing about the downing of the Malaysian plane, a statement that was enough for useful idiots in the West to argue that he wasn’t involved.

            But Portnikov says, “the obvious contradiction is not in the actions of Putin. Putin is consistent. He is cynical, cruel, and indifferent to human lives. Rather the West is by on the one hand condemning Putin and on the other trying to reach agreement with this inexorable man” (

            “The West can’t act without following procedures. Its jurists were forced to investigation the destruction of the jet and sooner or later they had to declare the names of the gulty in this crime and the threads led to Putin and his closest entourage.  Its politicians couldn’t close their eyes to the violation by the Putin regime of international law,” the Ukrainian commentator says.

            Moreover, they “mustn’t forget about Crimea or the Donbass or the crimes in Syria.” But “of course,” he continues, “there are businessmen who want simply to make money in Russia” and “there are voters who are interested only in their own wellbeing” and are only shaken out of their lethargy by pictures of “the latest child killed in Syria.”

            Given this environment, Portnikov says, “Western politicians all the same continue their attempts to reach agreement with Putin. With each passing day of his rule, the Russian president becomes ever more ‘toxic’ and far from an understanding of reality. But they all go [to Russia to see him], now Merkel, now Macron, now someone else.”

            “What are they hoping for?”  That Putin will want to be like “one of them”? But Putin considers himself the equal of the US president and looks down on all the rest.  But “nevertheless, this marching in circles continues.” However, it is important to call this by its proper name: “This isn’t politics; this is the imitation of activity.”

            Portnikov argues that “it will be possible to negotiate with Putin only after his country will be completely isolated from the world economy, after oligarchs from Abramovich to Fridman will be blocked from entering all Western countries and from using the services of all Western banks, including Swiss and Israeli, and Putin himself together with his closest comrades in arms will be condemned in absentia for destroying the Malaysian Boeing.”

            “Only then,” he says, “can Trump, Macron or Merkel expect that   he will call them with constructive proposals and even then not immediately.  For the time being, he will simply give his guests flowers, take them to the theater and wipe their feet” because they will do be doing him an invaluable service as far as the Kremlin leader is concerned.

            These Western leaders will be making their contribution to “the inadequate picture of the world” inside of Putin’s head that is the basis for his continuing aggression.

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