February 13, 2024

Tucker and Putin

“Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that aired on Thursday that Russia will fight for its interests ‘to the end’ but has no interest in expanding its war in Ukraine to other countries such as Poland and Latvia… Putin made the comments in a more than two-hour interview with conservative talk-show host Tucker Carlson that was conducted in Moscow [last] Tuesday.” Reuters

“Carlson’s monologue [distributed with the interview], in which he lambasted Western media and claimed it wasn’t making an effort to hear Putin’s side of the story, has sparked backlash from American and Russian journalists.” Politico

Both sides are critical of Putin’s comments:

“From alleging that the collapse of Russia’s effort to quickly capture Kyiv at the start of the war was an act of benevolence designed to facilitate negotiations to his claim that the West agreed that Russia’s post–Cold War ‘borders should be along the borders of the former Union’s Republic,’ it’s hard to know where Putin’s duplicity ends and his delusion begins

“But Carlson insisted at the outset of his interview that the Russian president’s views are sincerely held, and the onetime KGB intelligence officer’s rhetoric was so shot through with Bolshevist agitprop that the former Fox host may be right… Putin believes all this. This is how he was raised, in an empire that stretched from the Yalu to the Elbe. He clearly views his nation’s subsequently truncated borders as a problem to be fixed — and he has made plain for all to see how he intends to fix it.”
Noah Rothman, National Review

“In the history-lecture portion of the interview, when Putin got to 1939, he said, ‘Poland cooperated with Germany, but then it refused to comply with Hitler’s demands. . . . By not ceding the Danzig Corridor to Hitler, Poles forced him, they overplayed their hand and they forced Hitler to start the Second World War by attacking Poland.’ (This is my translation.) The idea that the victim of the attack serves as its instigator by forcing the hand of the aggressor is central to all of Putin’s explanations for Russia’s war in Ukraine

“It’s telling, too, that Putin took the time to accuse Poland of both allying with Nazi Germany and inciting Hitler’s aggression. As he has done with Ukraine in the past, he is positioning Poland as an heir to Nazism. He mentioned Poland more than thirty times in his conversation with Tucker. If I were Poland, I’d be scared.”
Masha Gessen, New Yorker

Other opinions below.

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From the Right

From the Left

A libertarian's take

“It's not the job of journalists to speak only with popular figures who give their audiences warm and fuzzy feelings. They're supposed to gather news about everybody, including terrible people who are responsible for war, tyranny, and murder. And there's a real value in understanding the motives and goals of people who play an important role on the world stage

“Besides, if Tucker Carlson is sympathetic to a foreign dictator, or authoritarian in his beliefs, or just plain politically repulsive, he wouldn't exactly be breaking new ground among journalists. The excellent 2019 film Mr. Jones documented Gareth Jones's uphill struggle to reveal the truth of the Holodomor, the deliberate famine inflicted on the Ukrainian people by Joseph Stalin's communist regime. Among the obstacles to reporting the story were pro-Soviet journalists such as Walter Duranty of The New York Times, who won a Pulitzer Prize for propagandizing on behalf of Stalin.”
J.D. Tuccille, Reason

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