Strange Bedfellows – Vladimir Putin and the American Right

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

Sometimes, politics and policy require uncomfortable alliances. Perhaps the best example from recent history is the close cooperation between the western allies and the Soviet Union in the war against Hitler. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill certainly knew that their Soviet partner, Josef Stalin, was no real friend. He was always poised to stab in the back anyone who let down his guard. The alliance was necessary, however, because without the millions of Soviet soldiers fighting the Nazis, Hitler’s Germany would have been vastly more deadly to the British and Americans defending against it.

Today, another Stalin-esque dictator leads Russia. His name is Vladimir Putin, and it seems obvious that his intention is to restore the empire that once was the Soviet Union. For years, he has carefully put in place the elements of his plan: securing a naval port in Syria, and playing the US off against Iran, while parading the Obama administration about by the nose. Just as Hitler persuaded Chamberlain that Germany’s seizing of territory was in the interest of “peace in our time,” so also Putin has seized Crimea while Obama looks on in confusion and helplessness, trying in vain to find where Hillary put that “reset button.”

In the midst of all this, Putin seems to have become somewhat of a folk hero on the American right, the strangest of strange bedfellows.

He has done so in the way that Jesse James and other infamous outlaws gained secret admiration by members of the public. No decent person in his right mind would admire a thief and cold blooded killer. Nor, indeed, was it the criminality that people admired. In order to make a hero of Jesse James, a false image of him was crafted in dime novels. He became seen as a courageous victim of the evil railroad empires and fighting back in the tradition of Robin Hood. Once that image took hold, and the murders of innocent people overlooked, then the false image of Jesse James became an icon of American culture.

Likewise, Putin is a cold blooded killer, one who rose to the top from a cadre of KGB agents known for their ruthlessness and cunning. It is not these characteristics, however, that the American right has come to admire. In order to make him more admirable, Putin needs a villain, a “railroad empire” that is victimizing innocent Americans.

Along comes Barack Obama, violator of the Constitution, liar of the year, and betrayer of Benghazi, among other wickedness. Unlike Putin, who has not invaded Nevada, Obama is an up close and personal villain. His crimes threaten us all. We could well lose our freedoms because of him and his ilk.

Americans hate a villain, but if there is one thing we hate worse, it is cowardice. It is in this regard that Putin seems strangely preferable to Obama. This cowardly American is always whining that his problems are Bush’s fault. He is always promising to “get to the bottom of” a series of scandals, after which he makes lame excuses or implausible denials, mainly because the foundation of these scandals lie in his own corruption and incompetence. He is constantly warning America’s enemies that “there will be consequences,” when such threats are obviously meaningless, and indeed, the consequences never occur. The global laughter is barely concealed; not even our allies trust this empty shirt.

Putin, by contrast, is quiet. As Teddy Roosevelt might have described him, he speaks softly but carries a big stick. The image of Putin is that of a man who does not make threats, but does carry them out. We have not heard him blame his predecessors for his difficulties. We have not heard him make vain promises to resolve scandals. We have not heard him bluster and threaten, but only seen him act boldly and with resolve.

No, Putin is not a hero, not by any means. Indeed, our disdain for Obama is that he incorporates all of Putin’s flaws with none of his strengths. Obama is a Putin wannabe, but one who can never “make the trains run on time,” one whose policies continually make matters worse, while he denies this obvious fact.

Obama is why American militiamen confronted the armed thugs from the Bureau of Land Management, when the government tried to enforce an unjust law against rancher Cliven Bundy.

Message to Putin:  We applaud the way you rub Obama’s nose in his own messes, not because we admire you, but because you illuminate the fact that Obama is a dire failure who needs to be opposed and replaced with a conservative, pro-American leader. Obama will not prevent you from invading Ukraine, but if you ever decide to invade Nevada, we will introduce you to the Second Amendment.

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