By: Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist
One of the most striking things about the Colder War—as I explore in my new book of the same name—has been the contrast between the peevish tone of the West’s leaders compared to the more grown-up and statesmanlike approach that Putin is taking in international affairs.
Western leaders and their unquestioning media propagandists appear to believe that diplomatic relations are some kind of reward for good behavior. But it’s actually more important to establish a constructive dialogue with your enemies or rivals than your friends, because that’s where you need to find common ground. Indeed, it’s been the basis for diplomacy since time immemorial.
Reassuringly, despite having been the target of the Ukraine crisis rather than the instigator, Putin still sees the West as a potential partner, not an enemy. Nor does, he says, Russia have any interest in building an empire of its own. In theory, if Putin is sincere, there should be plenty of room for cooperation, especially in the fight against terrorism.
As Putin said in his speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi in October—whose theme was “The World Order: New Rules or a Game without Rules”—he hasn’t given up on working with the West on shared risks and common goals, provided it’s based on mutual respect and an agreement not to interfere in one another’s domestic affairs.
Putin has, of course, already shown that he can rise above the fray. By negotiating the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal under international supervision, he did Obama a big favor and got him off the hook in Syria. Continue reading "Where Have All the Statesmen Gone?"