In St. Petersburg, Putin offers a deza masterclass
Added 04-12-19 09:23:02am EST - “Vladimir Putin is a dedicated enemy of the United States and the U.S.-led international order. But while the proof of Putin's enmity towards America is abundant and clear, Putin is an excellent PR man when he wants to be.” - Washingtonexaminer.com
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Vladimir Putin is a dedicated enemy of the United States and the U.S.-led international order. But while the proof of Putin's enmity towards America is abundant and clear, Putin is an excellent PR man when he wants to be.
Note, for example, his performance at the International Arctic Forum in his home city of St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
First, Putin played the tough guy. As thousands in the audience watched and the cameras rolled, Putin saw that his economic development minister, Maxim Oreshkin, was using his phone while Putin was speaking. Big mistake. Putin asked Oreshkin how much Russia had invested in import substitution in 2018. Oreskhin didn't know the answer. Putin then publicly humiliated him. This is was the red meat for state TV: the macho man offering decidedly Russian black humor.
This alternate strategy was encapsulated when Putin was asked whether he wants President Trump to be reelected. Putin took a moment to consider his answer and then responded. U.S. policy towards Russia is often negative, Putin explained, but there are areas of compromise even on issues of disagreement such as Syria. Then Putin cleverly shifted the conversation to an area where international opinion is most unfavorable to the U.S.: President Trump's refusal to support the Paris climate accord. Putin presented himself as the earnest intermediary here. "The U.S. emits a lot of greenhouse gases we have to understand that so we have to find a solution. We have to somehow engage with the U.S. in a dialogue."
The diplomatic nice talk offered, Putin then returned to the original election question. It wasn't for Russia to decide, he said. "This is not the sphere where such categories as 'I want,' 'I don't want' apply. We respect the choice of the American people and whoever is elected we will work with him or her."
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