Thursday, March 6, 2014

Putin and Hillary

Bob Gates' book, Duty, has been largely quoted out of context and misinterpreted by the press. It must be frustrating and you wonder if they read it or just "speed read" it.. If you are an ultraconservative, you will not like his good relationship and approval of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He didn't like everything they did, (he was liberal in the criticism of HIS OWN ERRORS!), he didn't like the Obama White House staff, but generally he acknowledged good things, pointed out the errors.

Same with President Bush. The liberals will not like his portrayal of an honest, efficient and capable man. Nor will they approve of his high regard for Condi Rice.

Gates can't catch a break when it comes to Veeps, though. The press appropriately picked up on his assessment of Joe Biden, "...wrong on every foreign policy issue for four decades." He was not at all a fan of the positions of Dick Cheney and points out what a hard-liner he was, but also points out that Cheney was virtually always over ruled by President Bush.

I had breakfast with Dick Cheney long before he was Vice President and I thought that, in person, he was the Messiah. If he had told me that it was time to move to South America and drink some Kool Aid, I would probably have done so. Mesmerizing, the most powerful, almost hypnotic person I have ever encountered in person.

If a Republican running for office had compared Putin to Hitler at a critical time in a touchy crisis, their campaign would have been finished. The press would never let up. But with Hillary? Just fine. Not a problem. Remember Romney's comment (again, in a closed room) that there were 49% of the people who would not vote for him?

We have to admit, her assessment is pretty spot on--Hitler did blow smoke up Chamberlain's skirt. A lot. And we have a similar situation, as Putin is more like a Mafia don than a modern Western head of state. And Putin seems to have Obama pretty well sized up, sort of like Hitler and Chamberlain. I am remembering one of Churchill's biting observations about Chamberlain. "I was following an empty car, it stopped and Neville Chamberlain got out."

The timing of Hillary's comment was awful. Still, when listening to the news, there is no mention of the underlying issues, the mistreatment of "historical minorities" in EU countries. Crimea is 58% ethnic Russian. The rest of the eastern part of Ukraine, less than 20%, but still a pretty big "minority."

Caution: the "minorities" in the US are not like the minorities in central Europe. In many of those instances, the minorities are the productive few.

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