Saturday, 26 July 2014

Putin is evil

Western leders, particularly those in Europe, should read what Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University and an expert on Russia, has to say about Vladimir Putin:

Many people -- in Ukraine, Europe, America and even Russia -- probably share Biden and Putin's estimation of the Russian president's spiritual condition. In saying Putin has no soul, it means he seems to lack both the capacity to feel emotions and to show empathy.
Russia's leader certainly has a long record of inhumanity. He was an agent of the Soviet secret police, a criminal institution with a record that goes back to the purges of Stalin, a record more bloody than that of the Nazi SS.
John Dunlop of Stanford's Hoover Institution wrote in "The Moscow Bombings" that there is strong evidence to suggest that Putin was in on the plot to bomb two apartment buildings in Moscow in September 1999, in which 300 Russian citizens were killed and several hundred others were wounded. He says the bombings were blamed on Chechen rebels as a pretext to invade Chechnya.
Putin has funded, promoted, supplied and aided and abetted the Russian and pro-Russian terrorists in eastern Ukraine. And by invading Crimea, he created the conditions of war, hatred and fanaticism that led to the destruction of 298 innocent lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on that day of infamy, July 17.
Is Putin evil? His actions certainly are, if by evil we understand behavior that willfully, consciously and purposely destroys human life. Perhaps we can call his actions undeniably evil and Putin himself "evil enough." Evil enough for what? Evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
If Putin is "evil enough," what are the implications for policy-makers?
First, they should openly state that they condemn Putin's behavior. Because silence implies approval, policy-makers must understand that their moral standing, like that of the countries they represent, is on the line. Evil is indivisible. If they refuse to condemn this instance, they effectively surrender the right to condemn any instance of evil.
Second, they should refuse to shake his hand, engage in chitchat, attend photo ops with him and in any way create the impression that they accept his behavior as a socially acceptable. German Chancellor Angela Merkel would not hobnob with a German neo-Nazi; President Barack Obama would not have drinks with the head of the Ku Klux Klan. By extension, neither of them should hobnob with Putin at World Cup soccer games.
Third, policy-makers should avoid doing anything that aids and abets Putin's proclivities. Since those proclivities largely rest on his ability to employ armaments to cause death, any form of assistance to Putin's war machine or repressive apparatus is the moral equivalent of supplying barbed wire and bullets to Auschwitz.

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