Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Putin on Steroids?

Some commentators look at Putins behavior the last year as a show-off. His goal is to regain the Soviet Union power by portraying Russia as a strong and willful actor at the political scene. Unfortunately he uses the cold war rhetoric, and the strange notion that Russia runs all the former Soviet republics. This shows a particularly nasty lack of understanding the democratic realities. Which is no news for most of us. I am still trying to figure out if EU is ignoring him, or just wet their pants. But Russia is in no way possessing the power the Soviet Union could display, so it becomes more like the show small guys, fresh from the steroid gym put up. Flexing muscles, and acting generally silly. It seemed like Angela Merkel viewed it that way, facing Putin’s threats of targeting Europe with his nukes.

But is it “the steroid boy”, or a cunning political strategist we see? I am not sure, because there is another way of interpreting this aggressive behavior: By doing this Putin creates a strong negotiating platform for his successor: By being more “civilized” than Putin, he will be able to portray himself as a “reasonable” man willing to compromise and improve the relationship between east and west. But with a very important difference: A much stronger negotiating position due to the position Putin has created for him. For this to work he only needs to give..lets say 30% “rebate” on Putins outrageous foreign politics and by this move secured a much better bargaining position, and a excuse for the EU-countries to accept the invitation and avoid further insecurity of oil supplies. But maybe I overestimate Putin. After all he keeps Lavrov as his favorite pet, and in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is, after all, king.

I can understand that Putin is in hysteria over the missile-case . It didn’t do much good to the situation that Bush made a mockery out of it all: Vladimir.., I call him Vladimir. Don’t be afraid. Why don’t you cooperate with us on this matter of the rocket shield. I guess that gave Putin approximately the same bloodpressure he probably got when Saakarshvili called him Lilliputin in front of TV-kameras last year.

It will be a nice G8 meeting.