Since we all seem more interested in arguing about stuff over which we have little control instead of commenting on massively important tax code changes, I'll pick another fight.
This week's Economist has a series of articles about Russia's President/Dictator-to-be, Vladimir Putin. You can link to their opinion piece here. There are links to the other Economist articles on Putin buried within the opinion piece. Here is an interesting extended quotation from The Economist.
"That Mr Putin is more of an autocrat than a democrat has been clear ever since he became Russia's president in 2000. Yet after the chaos of the Yeltsin years, many hoped that he would at least bring order, a respect for property rights and the rule of lawand that, in time, these might permit the institutions of a liberal democracy to take root. Such hopes led many European leaders to reach out to Mr Putin, and refrain from criticism over matters as the war in Chechnya, human rights or press freedom....In truth, hopes that political pluralism might emerge in Russia were dashed even before Mr Putin's party swept to a two-thirds majority in Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, last December, and before Mr Putin himself was overwhelmingly re-elected in March. His snuffing out of all independent television and most independent newspapers, his hounding of wealthy businessmen (the oligarchs) who crossed him, and his rigging of elections all testified to the controlling instincts that one might expect in a former KGB officer. His connivance in the attempt to steal Ukraine's presidential election, his interference in Abkhazia, a Russian-sponsored part of Georgia, and in Moldova, and his support for the dictatorship in Belarus show that he applies these instincts not just in Russia but across the former Soviet Union, the break-up of which he has publicly regretted. Worse, his instinctive response to criticisms of Russian policy in its near-abroad has been to relapse into general hostility to the West. The West, in turn, has become frostier."
I think this pretty well sums up LTG's position on Putin. In earlier postings he defended Putin more or less exactly the way the Economist describes. At the same time, those of us who were critical of Putin were critical because of the military adventurism and oppression of political opposition and press freedoms that The Economist references.Comments? Discussion?