The Jubilee

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So who is Vladimir Putin?

Posted by Alex Krainer on May 15, 2014

The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. George Orwell

Ukraine remains the topic of most discussions on global economy, and Russian president Vladimir Putin is an inevitable part of that subject. Although he is almost universally demonized by western leaders and media, more impartial observers increasingly concede that his administration’s conduct seems more rational and more constructive than that of his western counterparts. But even then, most people pad their comments with a kind of disclaimer:

  • I don’t like Putin, but…
  • Putin s a thug, but…
  • Whatever you may think of Putin, …

I find that curious, so at some point I started asking people in such conversations to tell me why, specifically, they didn’t like Putin or thought that he was a thug? As I suspected, most people did not really have more than a vague answer reflecting the familiar mud slung daily by our mainstream media…

Somehow we all know that he used to be a KGB agent, that his regime is adversarial to freedom and democracy, that he’s a homophobe, that he has $9 or $17, or $40, or $70 billion stashed away somewhere outside Russia, etc. A more sinister version has it that he is the new Hitler and that he wants to remake the former Soviet empire. This largely uncritical acceptance, even among intellectual circles, that Putin is essentially a thuggish figure – made me curious about who this man really is. Recently I came across an article about him written by Sharon Tennison – an American who has worked in Russia (and USSR) for 30 years as a developer of programs to open up relations between Russia and the USA. Tennison has had personal experiences with Putin and has over the years known a “numerous American officials and US businessmen who have had years of experience working with him…” “None,” she writes, “would describe him as ‘brual,’ or ‘thuggish,’ or other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.” Here are a few excerpts from her article [1]:

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St.Petersburg during the 1990s. … For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the two countries …  A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made. My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit.  He inquired about my reason for coming in.  After scanning the proposal I provided he began asking intelligent questions.  After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question. I became aware that this interviewer was different from other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners with hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for the Americans’ requests… This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor.  After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not.  A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all.  He simply and kindly showed us to the door.  Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the US or something valuable!”  I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight––it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

December 31, 1999: With no warning, at the turn of the year, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin.  On hearing the news, I thought surely not the Putin I remembered––he could never lead Russia. … “This is a disaster for Russia, I’ve spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent––he will never be able to relate to Russia’s masses.”  Further, I lamented:  “For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen:  1) The arrogant young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia’s 89 regions”.  It was clear to me that the man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia’s overriding twin challenges.

February 2000:  Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia’s oligarchs on edge.  In February a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer: “What should be the relationship with the so-called oligarchs?  The same as anyone else.  The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop.”  This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West’s capitalists nervous. … 

Four months later Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs and gave them his deal:  They could keep their illegally-gained wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they would not be nationalized ….  IF taxes were paid on their revenues and if they personally stayed out of politics. This was the first of Putin’s “elegant solutions” to the near impossible challenges facing the new Russia.  But the deal also put Putin in crosshairs with US media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The latter became highly political, didn’t pay taxes, and prior to being apprehended and jailed was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. …

March 2000: I arrived in St.Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit.  My first question was, “Lena what do you think about your new president?”  She laughed and retorted, “…I went to school with him!”  She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education).  He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted.  I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said,  “Sharon in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural … to choose this career.  My next question was,  “What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?”   Putting on her psychologist hat, she pondered and replied,  “If left to his normal behaviors, he will watch them for a while to be sure what is going on, then he will throw up some flares to let them know that he is watching. If they don’t respond, he will address them personally, then if the behaviors don’t change–– some will be in prison in a couple of  years.”  I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to show up in real time. 

Throughout the 2000’s:  St.Petersburg’s many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the PEP business training program was working … Last, each was asked,  “So what do you think of your new president?”  None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia’s bureaucrats.  Most answered similarly,  “Putin registered my business a few years ago”.  Next question, “So, how much did it cost you?”  To a person they replied, “Putin didn’t charge anything”.  One said,  “We went to Putin’s desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were getting ‘rich on their seats.'”  

Year 2001: Jack Gosnell [former US Consul General] explained his relationship with Putin when the latter was deputy mayor of St.Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries.  Jack related that Putin was always straight up, courteous and helpful. When Putin’s wife, Ludmila, was in a severe auto accident, Jack took the liberty (before informing Putin) to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland.  When Jack told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by the generous offer,  but ended saying that he couldn’t accept this favor, that Ludmila would have to recover in a Russian hospital. She did––although medical care in Russia was abominably bad in the 1990s.

A senior CSIS officer I was friends with in the 2000s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990s. He reported that he had no dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved dour reputation from U.S. media.  …Another former U.S. official who will go unidentified, also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of  bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.

I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin: At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered:  “When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why?  Without hesitating the answer came back:  “‘The knives were drawn’ when it was announced that Putin would be the next president.”  I questioned WHY?  The answer: “I could never find out why––maybe because he was KGB.”  I offered that Bush #I, was head of the CIA.  The reply was,  “That would have made no difference, he was our guy.” 

The second was a former State Department official with whom I recently shared a radio interview on Russia.  Afterward when we were chatting,  I remarked, “You might be interested to know that  I’ve collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say they had no negative experiences with Putin and there was no evidence of taking bribes”.  He firmly replied, “No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin.” 

From 2001 up to today, I’ve watched the negative U.S. media mounting against Putin …. even accusations of assassinations, poisonings, and comparing him to Hitler. No one yet has come up with any concrete evidence for these allegations. During this time,  I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food.  Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing.  Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

My 2013/14 Trips to Russia:  In addition to St.Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm.  We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China). Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow.  We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets.  Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations looks like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared. It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

I must confess, Tennison’s article surprised me a bit: Putin stood up to schoolyard bullies; Putin went to the KGB for similar reasons why many young Americans joined the US Army after September 11 attacks; Putin takes no bribes; Putin was curteous and helpful as a public official; Putin turned down privileged treatment for his wife after her car accident… If this came from Russian sources, I would probably dismiss it as political PR. But Tennison is an American and a relatively anonymous American at that. Her article wasn’t circulated widely or cited by Voice of Russia or RT, so it seems genuine. That begs the question: what if Putin is actually a decent man who simply wants to run Russia for the benefit of the Russian people as best as he can? I sincerely wish that Tennison’s version reflects the true Putin – such a man would be less likely to invade Europe and escalate the present conflict over Ukraine to a new World War. At any rate, making him into a brutal thug in the eyes of the western public wouldn’t be the first bill of goods we’d been sold by the leaders of the free world. As Lord Nordcliffe put it in the run-up to World War I, “To create an atmosphere for war, you have to introduce in the populace the hatred of ‘the other’.” If such hatred must be based on lies, we would do well to reject it.

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23 Responses to “So who is Vladimir Putin?”

  1. […] So who is Vladimir Putin? […]

  2. Biswajit said

    Well for a start someone who wants to de-dollarise the world. I think this is enough for now. may be u can check out better. By the way who are You? AngloZio paid Troller?

    • Alex Krainer said

      Hi, thanks for your comment. I think if I gave you impression that I could be an AngloZio paid troller (none of the above), it’s because you must have read my post in a cursory way. THe gist of my article is that perhaps Putin is a decent man in contrast to the demonization done in the west.

      • peter said

        Indeed– the word is patriot, a breed totally lacking in the USA political establishment— mind you, with the exception of Israel patriots; there are lots of those

    • Rose-Marie Mukarutabana said

      Dear Biswajit,
      President Putin has been working towards a multipolar world with a multiple reserve currencies, but he’s also been cajoling the EU into considering “a perfectly realistic task to establish a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”
      (http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=3125)
      This “Lisbon-to-Vladivostok” common space would lessen their currently total, and frankly, shameful subservience to the US. But the very idea strikes them as too subversive to even contemplate: the empire will strike hard!!! But the idea is part of Russia’s official foreign policy so Mr Putin and colleagues will keep trying to persuade the recalcitrant lot.
      (see para 55: http://www.mid.ru/BDOMP/Brp_4.nsf/arh/76389FEC168189ED44257B2E0039B16D?OpenDocument)

  3. thnx. shared it on my facebook page

  4. Emmanuel david said

    Am a Nigerian and have been following Putin for quite sometime now, I have study him and found out is a simple and straightforward man, who wants the best for his people and peace of the world. he is fighting for a multi- polar world were every country has its right to self determination not been ruled by other country policies. and the Western media has demonized him for his good fight.

  5. Guest said

    makes a “pretty tale” and the fact that you quote ” … American and a relatively anonymous American at that” makes little difference. Over the years Americans true face is insane barbarity & arrogant ignorance – American history. (notice that @Biswajit shows crass kitschy arrogance with his accusation perhaps he would do well to read the articles of ex-Indian (name sounds Indian) ambassador K.Gajendra Singh before pointing fingers at others)

    We go by our experience – Putin has acted no different to the west regarding Iran. You say multi-polarism is Putin but he hasn’t done anything towards that he still believes in that hideous racists UNSC. As a KGB service member he should have known the US/UKTurkish hand in the horrific crime of the mass murder of Syrian children in Ghouta but he joined the naTo war machine in blaming the Syrian government before getting facts. Russia made it possible for naTo terrorism in our Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, …. as a member of UNSC and as for Palestine!
    where shall we begin?

    He plays “real politik” at the expanse of others.

    Sure he has dry humour but that does not ease our pain and does nothing to our 24/7/365 (you mention 911) west/naTo terrorism TEARS

    • Alex Krainer said

      Hi Guest,
      I’m trying to offer a different point of view and hope that the truth will emerge through exchange of information. I’m aware of the stories you mention. I was also surprised that Libya was let go so easily by Russia and China. But as von Bismarck remarked, “politics is the art of the possible, the attainable.” The ugly game played by the western elites is very large and I expect that its opponents must be very judicious about which battles they choose to fight. Sadly, interest, and not justice is the deciding factor.

    • Rose-Marie Mukarutabana said

      Dear “Guest”,
      Your frustration is understandable: we’ll all frustrated. But Putin is the president of Russia, not of the world, and his first duty is to his country, so he plays real politik, of course. I suppose he tries to play fairly, without harming any other country (and surely he has harmed none) and he’ll do what he can to help other countries, but certainly not at the expense of his people’s security. What, for instance, should he have done to save those Syrian kids? Declare war on the culprits? To what effect, and with what consequences?
      And such restraint and prudence does not make him a bad man: only a good leader for Russia. If, for instance, he had sent his armies to fight off those Kiev forces to prevent a thousand+ deaths and so much destruction, what do you think NATO would have done? Use that as an excuse to attack Russia, of course! What then?
      As for the Security Council and the UN in general, do you see any viable alternative to them? It’s either try to protect and revive these global institutions, or else join NATO: a Russia-NATO war is not a viable means of ensuring world peace.
      To see what he really thinks about those global issues, and how he puts his points across to the US et al, see his Munich speech: http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/8498. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH0eHekt84g. You find that he has acted very differently from the West as regards Iran – and to their great annoyance. Idem Syria: but he can do so much, and go so far.
      As for the multipolar world: he’s making concrete progress along these lines! Think of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the BRICS and their “New Development Bank” – and US$100B Reserve Fund, the oil, gas and other trade deals with China and others in rubles and yuan: this is the path to a multiple reserve currency world!
      The two countries may be going about it too slowly for our liking, but we must believe that they have good reasons for such caution: right now, the US has been reacting with insults and provocations and proxy wars and sanctions and bombs in the Middle East, but a poorly calculated move would see ICBM – and not mere bombs – target Russia and/or China, for I do not see the US just watching the fall of the dollar with arms crossed. What then, friend?

  6. Mark said

    I worked in the archive at an international advertising agency for many years. I spent most of my days reading through marketing strategies and advertising/marketing/media journals from around the world. In the early 90’s the latest buzz in adworld was “globalisation”. No, they weren’t referring to the NWO. Globalisation in the ad industry spoke in terms of corporate identity becoming consistent at every brand/consumer interface around the world. There was talk of big brands aligning with one global agency to achieve this. However there were also predictions that in a few years time all media outlets across TV, radio, print, outdoor and internet would be owned by a handful of companies. Today 90% of global media is owned by 6 companies, and they all speak with one voice.

    In 1994 i never thought of media companies as “news media”. They were just another platform to promote goods and services. It was only after 911 when I had my light-bulb moment. The bullshit these people were peddling was so obvious. It was as if the news scripts were written by the state department. And ever since then I know immediately when they are lying. Actually, to be honest. I initially bought into the Obama mania. So yeah…they managed to fool me again.

    The lightbulb moment was life changing event because from that moment all my favorite movies and the hero’s i admired were suddenly deduced to nothing but propaganda. James Bond taking on the bad USSR was a load of shit.

    I enjoyed your article. I’ve admired Putin for a long time. The demonizing campaign was done to Ahmadinejad, Gadaffi, Mugabe and countless others. I wish people would actually read the transcripts of what these men actually have to say at UN General Assembly meets.

    All the best

    • peter said

      Demonising Mugabe (unfair?!) Probably the sources for all that demonising were all the whites kicked off their farms, the mining industriy nationalisations (forced sale of 51% of each company), the murdered opposition members, observers of the botched economy and hyperinflation. Of course if he delivers nice speeches we can forget all that.

  7. Lisa said

    I found it shocking the way American media portrayed the Russian people and Pres. Putin during the opening of the Olympics this year. I thought to myself this is the opposite of what the Olympics are supposed to be about. It was clearly a propaganda machine designed to put the American people against Pres. Putin and Russia. It’s like they were bringing the cold world back into this timeline on purpose. And it hasn’t stopped, I don’t even have cable TV and I can’t get away from it. My first thought was why? It was ridiculous how much time they spent on the bathroom incident. It really showed the maturity of the American media, comparable to bullying kids in the schoolyard. Thank you for this well-written article. I wish people would think for themselves instead of letting media dictate reality. And for those people who are guaranteed to slam me with insults for writing this, or call me unpatriotic, it’s not true I love my country. I but I don’t love how media, lies to us every single day and tells us what our values are, what is true and what is not true. But as always, if you really want the truth follow the money, follow the power, and the motives will be there as clear as the nose on your face.

    • Alex Krainer said

      Thank you Lisa; indeed, I think it’s with their un-nuanced exaggerations that they end up losing credibility. Being patriotic doesn’t mean that you have to hate whom they tell you to hate on cue.

    • Rose-Marie Mukarutabana said

      Dear Lisa,
      The vilification and demonisation is indeed horrible. The Sochi games were absolutely wonderful – “the best Winter Games on planet earth”, said an enthusiastic commentator. Pres. Putin had put all this heart into them, and his aim was:
      (1) to cheer the Russians up (he says they’d not recovered from their distress/depression from the violence in the Caucasus – on top of everything else),
      (2) to make them feel proud at a job well done (“We can organise world-class events!”), and also
      (3) to enjoy the games themselves (Russia got the most gold medals and was best overall);
      (4) to encourage them to love sports and become a fit nation; and generally,
      (5) to make them proud of who they are, of their culture, by showing them “a Russian Russia, the Russia of Natasha Rostova riding a Sikorsky ‘copter”, as I. Shamir wrote, commenting on the opening ceremony, with that little girl spelling out all the great names, and all the rest of the magnificent festival of Russian culture and science and other achievements – at the service of sports. (http://www.israelshamir.net/English/AGroom.htm)
      But the enemies of beauty chose that time to attack – and not just by the propaganda, dear Lisa: by the Ukraine regime change and ensuing proxy war (Bravo, Ms Nuland! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-kbw00aqqc “Ukraine, la manipulation américaine” – subtitles in English)
      The toilet incident was a lie, the vileness of which speaks volumes about the depth of grossness the Western media has sunk to. Shame, shame!
      Alex, “un-nuanced exaggerations” is the understatement of the entire 21st century. You think calling Putin “a goon thugh” (CNN’s favorite) and “a new Hitler” just requires nuancing?

  8. Martin said

    “Her article wasn’t circulated widely or cited by Voice of Russia or RT, so it seems genuine.”
    Here you are suggesting that the only thing one has to do to discredit the article, is to publish it on RT or VoR. ‘Somehow we all know that’ anything published on RT and VoR is a lie?

    • Alex Krainer said

      Ya, that’s not what I intended to say – I quite like RT and find it more credible than most western mainstream media. I just found the character of Putin that emerged from Tennison’s article to be distinctly more positive than I expected from a politician. That’s all.

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  10. Thanks so much for this post, Alexis. It’s good to be introduced to this side of an extraordinary man, whom many of us admire and love.
    And yes, “the character of Putin that emerged from Tennison’s article to be distinctly more positive than I expected from a politician”: it is rare indeed, and hard to believe for us who are so accustomed to mediocrity in leaders. And it says a great deal about our low expectations that the dreadful behaviour of the leaders of “Euratlantis” (this is just one example) shocks no one any more.
    This explains the now world-wide admiration for President Putin – including many voices in the West. The post from Emmanuel from Nigeria, and now mine (from Rwanda) show that we in Africa have been watching closely, and not all of us are fooled by the Western media.
    Well, you’ll still find that the majority of people absorb the media hype unconsciously, but unlike those you mention in your introduction, they say, rather, “I like Putin, though he was KGB”. But when it is explained that intelligence is a necessary state function, and therefore basically noble, and that although it may still be difficult for most people to love spy – other than James Bond – he is still doing an indispensable job, then they begin to think for themselves. But we’ll all so constantly and relentlessly bombarded with fallacies from the Western media that we have no time to think for ourselves.
    Russia should be thankful for VV’s youthful desire to help his country and save it from those of evil designs, a desire which is proven to have been as sincere deep-seated by his efforts to protect the weak from the playground and street bullies.
    Now, we all, and not just the Russians, hope that he will give a sound thrashing to these global bullies: we see no one else able or even willing to do.
    And you, sir, are helping in the fight against those who, wanting “to create an atmosphere for war,” have been working overtime “to introduce in the populace the hatred of ‘the other’.” Making the poor, deluded American and European masses hat4 a man who deserves love and admiration is in itself a crime against humanity. It damages their psyche, and this is more serious than wounding their bodies.
    Keep up the good work (I came to this page by following a link on an rt link). A man of whom it can be said that there was “never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness,” who lifted back to its feet a country that was flat on its belly” (see the graph on the “Vladimir Putin” Wikipedia page), is a noble soul indeed, and it is an honour to serve him.
    We serve him first of all by serving the truth – by thinking truth ourselves; by ascertaining the truth and holding it firmly in our mind, without being swayed by the negativities wherever they may originate.
    We serve Putin and the world itself also by countering the hate media as much as we can. Thirdly, we help him and all people of goodwill – those not yet enslaved by the hate propaganda – by sending out positive thoughts and good vibes.
    Many of us realize that the world is already in danger, and that this danger will increase greatly and constantly for the foreseeable future, probably resulting in a WWIII – unless the men and women of goodwill are able to create enough positive energy to counter the hate and fear-mongering and warmongering, and more people escape from thrall, and realise they’ve been fooled, as Mark did. (Mark, don’t blame Putin for what he failed to prevent: how much can one man do against so many powerful countries so determined to wreck havoc everywhere? There is a limit to how far he can endanger his own country, which is his primary responsibility. And see what hot soup even the “little” he did – e.g., Syria – has got him in. Rather, let’s ask ourselves why nobody else is trying to counter the US/UE. And why we ourselves are not doing as much as we could to help him.)
    Apologies for a long msge.
    RMM

    • Alex Krainer said

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Indeed, I feel that if we can make a good use of the platforms that the internet provides us, the truth will emerge and hopefully spread and overwhelm the propaganda. The truth may set us free. The lies will enslave us. Our struggle seems obvious…

  11. Rose-Marie Mukarutabana said

    Talking of Western mainstream media. I’ve been listening to/re-reading Martin Luther King’s speech against the Vietnam war. Wonderful piece, still so relevant. Dr King has this to say about the press in the 1960s: “There’s something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, Be non-violent toward Jim Clark [an Alabama segregationist sheriff] but will curse and damn you when you say, “Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There’s something wrong with that press!” (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16183.htm)
    Dr King also warned his country about their arrogance and “exceptionalism”:
    “We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. … And don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force, to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, “You’re too arrogant! And if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I’ll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name.” (Video: “Martin Luther King, ‘Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam – Full Speech.wmv’”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyE4eo_leX8)
    Interestingly, Mr. Putin also had occasion to sound a similar warning, in his 12/9/2013 article in the NYT, in which he disagrees with Pres. Obama’s inauguration statement about America’s policies being “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.”
    “It is extremely dangerous, Mr. Putin warns, 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.” (“A Plea for Caution from Russia” by Vladimir Putin – http://www.voltairenet.org/article180206.html)
    But as the saying goes, “no deafer ear than one that refuses to listen.” Today, before our very eyes, the US is again reasserting its “God-given” right to do whatever it sees fit to ensure that its supremacy continues unchallenged…

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