The New York Times International Weekly had a double dose of anti-Putin propaganda on view for us hicks in the sticks yesterday. Right there on page 14, two of America's most esteemed thinkers offer up the straight skinny on Bad Vlad.
Roger Cohen explains something he seems pleased to have just made up; "counterrevolutionary Putinism." This is the result of Mr. Putin having "decided to define his power in conflict with the West." This is extra scary because Putin is obviously "irrational and quixotic." Luckily for the prospects of peace on earth, Putin can be deterred...
All it will take is an increase of military spending in the West and the "permanent and significant deployment of heavy weapons in the region..."
Hmm... NATO already outstrips the Russian Federation in military spending by a factor of ten; does Mr. Cohen seriously believe spending more will change anything?
Thomas Friedman is also perplexed about what's gone wrong with our once-cosy relationship with Russia.
Where did it all go sour? At least Friedman has the decency to suggest an answer to his own rhetorical question; "we fired the first shot when we expanded NATO..."
Unfortunately, Friedman's prescription is every bit as frightening as Cohen's.
"... the most important source of stability in the world today is the health of the United States economy."
18 trillion dollars in accumulated debt, over 90 million Americans shut out of the job market, and Mr Friedman sees a healthy economy?
Almost enough to make a person despair over the state of public discourse in America, isn't it?