Putin: It’s a Really Big Shoe
Those of us “of a certain age” remember the old Ed Sullivan Show, with Ed’s signature line, “It’s a really big show”. In his idiosyncratic accent, it came out as “It’s a really big shoe”, and all the caricaturists, comedians, and satirists of the time had great fun with it. Putin‘s “a really big shoe”, and, on top of all that, this caricature refers to Nikita Khrushchyov, the last effective Soviet leader who wielded actual power. Remember Khrushchyov banging his shoe at the UN? It’s also redolent of TR‘s “Speak softly and carry a big stick“. It’s another multilayered Yolkin visual pun… with no words, yet!
An article in a leading American magazine, Foreign Policy, named President Vladimir Putin as the most powerful person in the world, with the top spot left empty. The author, Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group, explained why no one was ranked first, as “in a G-Zero world, everyone’s waiting for someone else to shoulder responsibility for the world’s toughest and most dangerous challenges”. He based the ranking on “a quick, informal survey around Eurasia Group on power and global politics”. Bremmer wrote, “The leaders you’ll see named further down this list are preoccupied with local and regional problems and don’t have the interest and leverage needed to take on a growing list of transnational problems”.
After the empty top spot, Putin came in second. Foreign Policy posted, “In Russia‘s personalised system, this is still the person who counts. He isn’t as popular as he used to be, and his country has no Soviet-scale clout or influence, but no one on the planet has consolidated more domestic and regional power than Putin”. US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, ranked third, following the Russian president, German Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel is fourth, and US President Barack Obama was in fifth place. In the next five places were European Central Bank head Mario Draghi (6), Chinese Communist Party Secretary General Xi Jinping (7), Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (8), International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde (also 8), and Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abd al-Aziz (10). This article was widely reported in the Russian media as saying that the Foreign Policy ranking names Putin as “the most influential person in the world”, although the article itself makes no such claim.
4 January 2013
If a person holds the top spot in a listing of world leaders, there’s no doubt that he’s “the most influential person in the world”. Do you want proof? The USA hasn’t intervened in Syria nor has it bombed Iran… as Russia has given both countries tacit guarantees. Putin’s even standing up to the oligarchs by scrapping the flat tax and introducing luxury taxes… as the USA refuses to. Yes, the greedsters can be smashed down… if one uses the police power and taxing power of the state. Russia under Putin is doing so… the USA is refusing to. Trust me, if the Koch brothers were in the slam for trying to buy the American election, the rest of the bourgeois cowards would fall into line, and rather smartly too. The Koch brothers deserve what Khodorkovsky got… and so does Willard Romney. All of the tax haven gazillionaires have to be brought to heel… and we can do it. However, shall we? That remains to be seen…