I suppose that in twenty or thirty years time, there will be books and conferences devoted to the question of the origins of the current obsessive and hysterical hatred of Vladimir Putin by western ruling elites. Psychologists, psychoanalysts, sociologists and others will all have their own opinion, I’m sure. But let me start the debate off, as it were, with a simple suggestion. They are envious of him.
It’s easy enough to understand why. First, Putin is a former intelligence officer, a member of an elite paramilitary cadre, skilled in the black arts, who can probably still kill you with a blow from the side of his hand if he wants to. It’s like having a retired James Bond as your President.
And among his western counterparts there are … what? Obama was a former University lecturer. Hollande was a civil servant and political party manager. And Cameron…. can anybody remember Cameron having done anything at all before he became a politician? Which of all of these figures would you choose to accompany you down a dark alley at night? No wonder they are all envious of Putin.
In addition, of course, Putin is a strong leader while they are weak ones. (“Weak” is perhaps too strong a term for the current generation of political spokesmen for the forces of finance passing themselves off as western national leaders. “Spineless cowards” might be a fairer description). But here’s Putin, telling oligarchs where to get off, and threatening them with dire consequences if they don’t cooperate. And they do cooperate. Can’t you imagine how much western politicians would like to do that. No wonder they are envious. No wonder they hate him.