Putin versus Obama Part I: Are they really so different?

Obama and Putin

Obama and Putin

Much of the rhetoric behind the push to create a new Cold War centers on Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The complicit media and the Obama Administration have pulled no punches in smearing President Putin and casting him as the most evil of tyrants and a political thug imprisoning opposition, seizing assets, enriching himself on the government’s dime, and intimidating reporters and political dissidents.  In fact, much of this is probably true; however, before we cast the first stone and judge Putin as evil incarnate and start World War III, perhaps some national retrospection of our own actions and character would be in order.  Let’s step back and evaluate America’s actions and consider whether or not we may have lost the moral high ground and then,…just perhaps, should rethink our policy, attitudes, and actions toward Russia.

I would argue that how Americans are instructed to view the crimes Putin and Russia have allegedly committed is very similar to how Russians are told to view the crimes the US, President Obama, and his administration have allegedly committed.  Show me a government or world leader that does not have corruption and I will prove you a liar.  Politicians as a whole are almost unanimously a despicable lot and whether they dress up their oppression and corruption or display it overtly makes little difference in practice to those that are subject to their rule.  This article is not designed to defend President Putin as much as it is to show just how blinded by our own hubris we have become.  Instead of hypocritical demagoguery and fanning the flames of war, perhaps America would be better served by first addressing our own demons right here at home and realizing how others view us.  I illustrate this by using many of the major accusations being thrown around against President Obama and his administration.  As such, before you send me loads of hate mail, let me be clear, I AM NOT ENDORSING ALL OF THESE ACCUSATIONS AS FACT, I am just using them to illustrate how a biased media in Russia portrays the US as equally contemptible.  Nonetheless, even with the knowledge that much of the rhetoric is exaggerated or made up to smear an opponent or create political support for a policy it is sad that many of the alleged crimes by both sides are indeed very real.

One of the most common accusations made against President Putin is that he suppresses and intimidates the media and whistleblowers.  We hear that he is cruelly oppressive of dissidents and does not tolerate free speech.  I don’t doubt that these charges have merit; however, do we not also have whistleblowers, dissidents, and reporters in jail or being charged with high crimes?  Famed Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist, James Risen, is still facing possible jail time for not disclosing his source that exposed unconstitutional and illegal actions on the part of the CIA.  Edward Snowden is living in exile and in fear of his life for exposing the grossly unconstitutional actions by the National Security Agency.  Even non-Americans like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are living in exile and fear for their lives.  Kim Dotcom, a pioneer in internet freedom and privacy was also targeted by the US government while home in New Zealand.  One may counter these points by citing Russian journalists were allegedly killed on Putin’s orders.  I doubt this would be a provable accusation, but I certainly agree that the imprisonment and execution of reporters is a calling card of tyrants and dictators and not compatible with a free republic.   Nonetheless, the accusations are no more substantiated than connecting the all too convenient deaths of the most outspoken reporters exposing the illegal US programs to the Obama Administration.  The deaths of men like Andrew Breitbart, Aaron Schwartz, and Michael Hastings were all a bit too convenient and at least quietly welcomed by the liberal establishment inside the US.  For those that would try to argue President Obama had no part in the suppression and intimidation of the media, they should review the FACT that our own “Justice” Department has been running a surveillance program that has continuously spied on reporters and journalists.  How that chilling violation of the First Amendment goes without challenge is a strong signal to anyone gauging the decay of our once free republic.

I have repeatedly heard that President Putin should also be considered evil and bad because he has crushed his political opposition.  Some would simply say that’s politics.  However, a more detailed response is in order for this short post.  If one turned the game board around and objectively looked at the state of politics in the US, one would conclude that President Obama and his Chicago political machine have without doubt abused their position of power to suppress any type of political challenge from the opposition Republican Party and within their own party.  Specifically, most of the serious Republican challengers to the presidency have been targeted, smeared, and or attacked with criminal charges and litigation.  General David Petraeus was seen as a real future presidential candidate until he was hidden at the CIA until the day after the election when it was leaked he was having an affair and unceremoniously fired.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was seen as a Republican golden child destined for a presidential run until trumped up charges were leveled against him, which sidelined his political career.  Former presidential candidate, Texas Governor, and outspoken critic of Obama’s policies, Rick Perry, was also recently politically maligned by clearly politically motivated and frivolous charges.  Most recently, former Virginia Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate, Bob McDonnell, was convicted on a slew of corruption charges that although he clearly violated, if equally applied to democratic politicians would see most elected officials in jail.  Obama has not just targeted opposition political enemies, but has also acted to destroy anyone inside of his own party that threatens his Chicago political mafia.  Specifically, it is well known that the Clintons and Obamas do not get along and that key Clinton supporters have been politically taken down.  The most well-known example is that of former US Representative Anthony Weiner.  Although, it is obvious he did some stupid things and made it all too easy for his political enemies, he is nonetheless known as a man destroyed by the Obama machine inside political circles.

Obama’s executive departments have become his arm of action to destroy opposition and political dissent.  In particular, the “Justice” Department has gone to great lengths to protect its cronies at the ballot box.  From the over the top refusal to bring charges against armed Black Panther terrorists intimidating voters outside of Philadelphia voting locations to the suing states over the ridiculous notion that requiring proof of identification to vote somehow constitutes a civil rights violation, the Justice Department has been complicit in high crimes of political suppression and abuse of power.  For example, no one with common sense and a sense of justice believes that there was over 100% voter turnout (obviously not even possible) in various urban precincts and they voted 100% for Obama (banana republic style), but the Justice Department has refused to look into the obvious crimes of voter fraud.  It also completely ignores the well-known election fraud committed by unions in most of the northern states where individuals are paid on the clock to vote over and over at various polling locations.  If not bad enough, it is now clear that on orders coming from the White House, the Internal Revenue Service was illegally used to target, intimidate, and suppress opposition political organizations.  However, the Justice Department has stone walled the investigation and refuses to actively investigate it.  So instead of investigating real crimes, the Justice Department is partaking of divisive, race baiting investigations into whether the Ferguson Police Department is doing its job even though any criminal investigation into a possible murder is squarely within the authority of the state.  Could the overt and blatant criminal corruption get any worse?  Certainly we have lost the moral high ground to Russia and need to hold ourselves accountable first.

Vladimir Putin is also accused of enriching himself via his office and seizing private businesses.  Again, this is mostly true.  Putin didn’t gain an estimated net worth of over 40 billion dollars by his paycheck as President that is for sure.  However, President Obama has also become a multimillionaire while in office.  Obama didn’t earn that money on his presidential salary so one should ask how he made it and question whether or not he too abused the office to enrich himself and his friends.  Certainly, one cannot run two multi-billion dollar presidential campaigns without massive donor support.  Who gave him the billions?  Are you so naïve that you think those billions came free and without strings?  Our president was bought and sold long before he ever set foot in the Oval Office.  Think otherwise?…Has his office not directed the seizure of businesses like General Motors?  Did the government not takeover of various banking institutions while simultaneously doling out trillions in tax dollars to other financial institutions?  Did those trillions ever make it back to “Main Street” as Obama promised?  Where oh where could that money have gone?  Has Obama not used the Department of Health and Human Services coupled with the IRS to force what amounts to a government takeover of healthcare while arbitrarily and unconstitutionally exempting his political allies from paying into the healthcare system?  What do you think that deal with the exempted unions worth?  Has Obama not used the IRS to seize your tax dollars so that he can then redistribute the funds to his big political donors in the form of bailouts like the United Auto Workers?  This amounts to government sanctioned money laundering does it not?  Does Obama not routinely partake in crony capitalism with companies like GE, Monsanto, and JP Morgan where he appoints their former CEO’s into high level political positions that knowingly creates huge conflicts of interest?  One should ask where are all of the checks and balances and government watch dog agencies to prevent this corruption?  Perhaps, the reason they do nothing and turn a blind eye is because the White House has put leaders in charge that were instructed to look the other way.  Maybe you are naïve and just believe these appointees are not creating regulations that favor their former mega corporations.  If so, it is time you wake up to reality.  Didn’t Obama’s Administration directly intervene to make sure that hundreds of millions of dollars were programmed to support fake businesses of political friends like in the case of the now bankrupt Solyndra?  Has Obama not undermined the average American worker by completely refusing to enforce our borders?  By allowing massive illegal immigration, he created a crisis and a massive national security threat that will ultimately have the economic effect of driving down the wages and living standards of both new and old immigrants to Americans.  However, Obama’s big business donors love it and the low wages it creates even though it utterly destroys the middle class.  This is the absolutely corrupt world President Obama has created while in office and it is no better or worse than the dirty deals being made between Russia’s oligarchs.

Finally, Putin is most directly accused of being responsible for the bloodshed and fighting in the Ukraine.  For his alleged support of rebels in the Ukraine, the US and Europe have slapped Russia with sanctions, labeled Russia an enemy nation, and brought tensions back to Cold War levels.  This issue strikes at the heart of the problem and is also where US hypocrisy is most glaring.  We can debate the point of Russia’s true involvement in the Ukrainian Civil War endlessly, but suffice to say it is the Ukrainian troops primarily killing Ukrainian people (many of ethnic Russian descent) in the eastern most corner of the country with or without Russian support.  The Ukrainian military is doing this without regard for innocent lives or collateral damage.  They are indiscriminately bombing entire villages, towns, and cities with rockets, bombs, artillery, and surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, which are incapable of distinguishing between women, children, and combatants.  These same acts of military brutality that are being committed by the Ukrainian military against its people brought the condemnation of the world down on Syrian President Assad.  However, the US hypocritically believes that in the case of Syria, “it” (the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Turkey) was justified in fomenting a civil war in a sovereign nation by using foreign terrorists that it armed and trained in neighboring countries while condemning Russia for supporting the Ukrainian rebels.  Somehow, the US believes that Russia is a pariah and should be sanctioned for its still yet to be proven actions, but we are just in our creation of ISIL and a terrorist state.  The differences are obviously stark and this is without even discussing US actions in Iraq and Libya.

The Ukrainian rebels, incorrectly and slanderously labeled terrorists by the West’s propaganda machine want self-determination and autonomy from a country that effectively dissolved after a US sponsored coup.  The country formerly known as the Ukraine had previously treated them as second and third class citizens.  These ethnic Russians, residing in an area not traditionally a part of the Ukraine, opted out of the post-coup Ukraine.  Instead of rejoining the newly reconstituted nation under a Western puppet ruler, they chose to be independent and go their own way.  Whether that was because they believed they could lead a better life or because Moscow somehow manipulated entire cities to stand, fight, and die for independence cannot be known at this time and is immaterial to this discussion.  What is important is that for asking to be independent of a government that did treat them poorly, they were branded terrorists and murdered with the approval of Washington.  For Russia stepping in to support the rebels, help them defend themselves, and negotiating an end to the killing, Russia was branded an enemy.  When Assad kills the true terrorists we created, Washington cries fowl and Assad becomes enemy number one whose country must be attacked.  However, when the Ukraine kills the “terrorists” (massacres civilians) it alleges Russia created, the US approves of the action and declares Russia the bad actor.  From a policy standpoint, you can’t have it both ways.  People have a right to self-determination and independence.  Disregarding that right undermines the foundational concept of a free people, which are governed only by the consent of the people and for the people’s best interests.  Outside of that condition, a state serves only the “the government’s” (more properly described as the elitists’) desire for ever greater power and control, which always comes at the expense of the people and negates the state’s sole purpose for existence.  Based on that, I am not sure how you could get a more hypocritical US Foreign Policy, but I am pretty certain President Obama will find a way.  From the Russia view point, it must look as though the US is killing people, assassinating leaders, and starting wars recklessly with no coherent strategy beyond blood lust for power and control.

As the US continues its eastern expansion of NATO (a military organization founded to destroy Russia/Soviet Union) contrary to the assurances we gave Russia at the end of the Cold War, it must seem apparent to Russia that the US is positioning itself to destroy Russia next.  For example, Russia is not stupid and was fully aware that ballistic missile defense installations the US wanted to place in Eastern Europe were designed to defeat Russia missiles and not imaginary long range Iranian missiles as the US claimed.  Russia is also fully aware that CIA covert actions inside of Ukraine led to the coup and toppling of the pro-Moscow government in Kiev.  In addition, NATO has been very active and attacked Afghanistan, Libya, and much of the Balkans where it still has an occupation force under arms.  Further, the US attempted to start a war with Russia’s ally, Syria, under the false pretenses of a stage chemical weapons attack.  The US has also set up bases and armed and trained militaries in contested countries surrounding Russia such as Georgia and Azerbaijan.  How any Russian leader could view US actions in a positive light and not feel threatened is beyond me.  In fact, President Putin has legitimate and tangible grounds to point a finger back at the US, NATO, and Western Europe and accuse us of being the aggressors.  As such, before we jump to blaming Putin for the mess in the Ukraine (remember, we fomented that coup) and ratchet tensions to the point of risking a nuclear war, perhaps we should reevaluate our own actions globally and ask…have we become the bad guy?


By Guiles Hendrik

September 6, 2014

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