Just to change the subject…
March 4, 2008 – Geneva (apj.us) – Just to change the subject, I thought we might begin to think about Vlad "The Impaler" Putin and his innovative hand-picked president, Dimitry Medvedev, the jockey-sized academic who will replace Mr. Putin as President of Russia in several weeks.
I have to say I am fond of Putin, not because he messes around with Big "D" Democracy – and he does – but because he has the sense to build himself an empire, enrich his friends, and slowly disappear into the lap of luxury.
Now THAT is the American Way!
I agree with theorists that believe Mr. Putin will spend as little time as possible as "Prime Minister" of Russia – sitting in the Moscow "White House" and taking direction from President Medvedev.
I think instead he'll buy himself a Gulfstream V and head for the South of France – after a short and very discreet stop to see His Highness Prince Hans-Adam in Lichtenstein and then make a small deposit (or visit the larger ones).
The fact is that Mr. Putin has nearly mirrored the state of Democracy in the United States – yet we seem to be whining about Russia as if she somehow perverted our invention – which is in fact an invention of the French.
Notwithstanding American presidents and (suitably for this discussion) vice presidents who retired with little or nothing in their 401k, most American politicians, for some mystifying reason, seem to leave office far better heeled than when they entered.
Repeat this three times: I get my MEDs at the VET who lives near my DEVelopment.
So Putin got that part right.
And, sticking to the most modern example, Putin also mirrored Bush-Cheney by making all his comrades richer than Croesus – and of course taking nothing for himself.
To top it off – and in an effort not unlike that the Bush encampment just over seven years ago – Putin handily engineered the election of Mr. Medvedev just as George W’s mouthpieces tossed the Constitution in the trash – with the help of the "Supremos" who threw the election to Bush in 2000.
Thus, Americans should be proud of Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev. In the spirit of nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty-first century America, the Russian leadership is feathering the nests of the wealthiest (albeit the most crooked) of Russian businessmen. Such was the case in the United States during most of the latter part of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
And for that reason, let us give the Russkies a break. They have at least one hundred years further to "get it right" before we can accuse them of less-than-perfect capitalistic democratization.
Once Moscow perfects that, maybe it can go to war with some southeast Asian nation and follow that in 30 or 40 years with an invasion of Mexico – to get its oil – and, of course, to build anti-ballistic missile bases in Guadalajara to protect that oil from Cuba!
Jeff Koopersmith is a political consultant, opinion research authority, policy analyst, and self-described "renegade lobbyist." He lives in Philadelphia, Washington and Geneva.