Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Enemy At The Top


Vladimir Putin's ascension to the Russian presidency for a third term was greeted with widespread public protest and charges of electoral fraud. Devon Black writes:

Putin had hoped to re-take the presidency with confidence and a strong mandate. Instead, the pressure was on him to solidify his tenuous political position.

Putin did so by stoking nationalist fervor, crafting a narrative of a Russia beset by enemies, inside and out. Putin told a story of traditional Russians fighting back against both physical and existential threats.

And, so, he moved into Crimea and he keeps pushing the envelope.

Lawrence Martin writes that Stephen Harper's vision of economic prosperity was founded on four pillars -- jobs, taxation, trade and pipelines. But, "other than taxes, where they have cuts to boast about, the pillars are starting to look wobbly."

So, faced with unhappy citizens, both men have turned to nationalism -- which is a decidedly double edged sword. Black writes:

Again and again, history has shown that when politicians try to turn the angrier form of nationalism into political advantage, they lose control. Most recently, Europe has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic violence — related in part to the conflict in Gaza, but also linked to the rise of far-right nationalist parties like France’s National Front.

We should be wary when our own politicians try to exploit certain flavours of nationalism for political gain. There’s nothing wrong with, for example, celebrating Canada’s athletic achievements, as Prime Minster Harper did when his Vancouver Olympics jacket became ubiquitous on the 2011 campaign trail. But Harper has taken to peppering his speeches and policy positions with militaristic bombast.

Putin and Harper are creating straw men in an attempt to divert attention away from themselves. If Russians and Canadians begin to realize that the real enemy is within -- worse still, that he sits at the top of the political pyramid -- both men will be finished.


Troy Thomas said...

I wouldn't even compare Harper to Putin. Putin is competent. And he's surrounded by competent statesmen.
If we're comparing Harper to Russian presidents, then I'd say Harper is closer to the late Boris Yeltsin.
He was inept. He gutted Russia's economy. He gave power and position to his vulture-like friends.
Russians were glad to be rid of him and his policies.
Just as Canadians will be glad to be rid of Harper and his policies.

Owen Gray said...

Point well taken, Troy. Perhaps Harper is more like Yeltsin than Putin.

Anonymous said...

Harper and Putin have very similar characteristics. They both lie, deceive, thieve, are corrupt, use underhanded politics, underhanded tactics and both of them cheat to win. Putin called Harper a fascist. Kettle meet Pot.

Most of us have been brought up, in the decent democratic Canada, that was once welcomed around the world.

Neither Harper nor Putin have a clue of, what honesty really is. Both of them are tyrants, sociopaths and only love themselves. They are both warped.

Harper was named as, the Americans useful idiot.

Owen Gray said...

And that's probably how Putin sees Harper, Anon.

Steve said...

Hi Owen, my opinion is one of those first impression Tony whatever s. Putin is a real patriot, Yeltsin was a republican fool who sold the country for a dime on the dollar. So Putin comes in fills his pockets but really try to make Russia a real country again and not a wasteland as described by Niome Klein.

The annexation of Crimea was the only outcome available given the over through of the Ukranie goverment.

Do I think Putin is snow white. Do I think he has not become a billionaire? Do I disagree with his anti gay religious mumbo jumbo? Yes!
But as a guy cleaning up a the historic mess of communism and Yeltsin he deserves some latitude.

Contrast him with GWB and Steve who where both handed platinum cards and proceed to drain them in the worst possible ways.

Owen Gray said...

I was struck by Troy's comparison of Harper to Putin, Steve. I can't allow Putin off the hook. He's ruthless and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.

In that way, he and Harper are similar. Harper's response to the deaths in Gaza illustrates that comparison.

But, as a manager, Harper is more Yeltsin than Putin.

mogs moglio said...

Troy & Owen,

I have not spoken out about Putin yet for fear of discrimination yet I admire the man for what he does so for Russia far more so than what Steve the peeve is doing to Canada.

Vlad is much more succinct than Steve has knowledge of. Vlad is actually planning [cones as a surprise to those that do not do their homework] to forgo the American petro-dollar, which is worthless paper crap and replace the world currency with a new gold backed currency based on the Chinese and Russians currency.

We will see, we will see, Vlad did not annex Crimea as made popular by Obama, Harper et al they in Crimea actually made use of the voting booth [polling stations] and overwhelmingly voted to return to their homeland rule of Russia. Steve can never claim that. He is the enemy of the majority of Canadians. I would never open my mouth to put my foot into it and compare Steve to Vladimir they are two differing beasts: Vlad is good for Russia Steve is bad for Canada.

Need I say more? Except thank-you Troy for speaking out.

mogs moglio said...

There since most do not do their own homework you have it Russia did not annex Crimea, Crimean's overwhelmingly voted to opt out of Ukraine and Harper can go to he**.

Owen Gray said...

I really disagree with you, Mogs, on this one. You can hold an election, but the game can be rigged. Mr. Harper has worked very hard to accomplish precisely that. And so has Putin -- in both Russia and Crimea.

George Bush proclaimed that he had stared into Putin's soul. Joe Biden probably got it right, however. He reportedly told Putin he wasn't sure if Vladimir had a soul.

mogs moglio said...

Well Owen we can agree to disagree that is what I like about a democracy left and right started in France where the elected that agreed with policy as it was written would sit on the right of house speaker [or king] and the dissenters would sit on the left. Need a link to that truth?

"The terms "left" and "right" appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president's right and supporters of the revolution to his left."

Need I say more? I am obviously to the left of King Stephen.

I my friend am a centrist and hope one fine spring morning the left and right will meet and we have no more wars no more poverty and good times are to be had by all.

Am I a recluse, yes I am I am PWD status in BC.

And yes Putin has a soul but our own lovely prime minister has no heart. He went to go see his private for practice doctor and said doc I have a problem with my ticker I think I am having a heart attack and his doc said after numerous tests only the surgeon general of Canada
can diagnose you after all you are the Prime---Minister. Surgeon General said "You are right Stephen you have no heart" I'd rather be soulless than heartless.

Owen I enjoy your blog and Alison over @ Creekside and I enjoy my news from The Tyee, do you know what a Tyee is? I do I lived on Van Isle before I was injured.

Anyways blessings.

A Tyee is a salmon over 30 pounds a fisherman catches.

Owen Gray said...

I enjoy your comments, Mogs. And I appreciate the update on Tyee. I read it all the time. But, I confess, I didn't know the source of the title.

You learn something new everyday.

mogs moglio said...

So to bring your readership up to par I have enjoyed the Tyee for many years and on the right as you scroll though the options you get #1 The Hook, popular opinion pieces #2 Most Popular #3 Most Emailed and #4 [news] Reported Elsewhere which truly keeps you up to date, I love my BC Tyee!

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure the editors appreciate your recommendation, Mogs.