Sunday, 28 September 2014

Vaclav Klaus and Henry Kissinger don't think we should demonise Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has invaded a sovereign state and doesn't intend to disgorge his ill-gotten gains. He is a compulsive liar and a thug but we live in a very thuggish world. He is not Brezhnev, luckily for everyone, invading Czechoslovakia or Afghanistan. As I try to make up my mind about what to think, here are two eminent men quoted this weekend on the subject of the Russian leader. I admire very much Dr Kissinger. I have more mixed feelings about Mr Klaus.

Vaclav Klaus, the Eurosceptic former Czech Prime Minister and President puts a word in for Vladimir Putin in an interview in the latest Spectator.

I spent most of my life in a communist Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination. But I differentiate between the Soviet Union and Russia. Those who are not able to understand the difference are simply not looking with open eyes. I always argue with my American and British friends that although the political system in Russia is different from the system in our countries and we wouldn’t be happy to live in such a system, to compare the current Russia with Leonid Brezhnev’s Soviet Union is stupid. The US/EU propaganda against Russia is really ridiculous and I can’t accept it.

Henry Kissinger in an interview in the Independent to plug his book also does not think we should demonise Mr Putin

It's easy to demonise Putin. Of course he's not easy, but one has seen that type of Russian leader before – and he's not a Hitler. One shouldn't discuss it in terms of one Russian leader. The question is how does one visualise the long-term relationship of Russia to the West at a moment when Asia is transforming itself and Islam is in permanent upheaval?

I warmly agree when he paraphrases Goethe:

If I had to choose between justice and disorder, on the one hand, and injustice and order, on the other, I would always choose the latter.

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