Monday, September 10, 2012

Big Deals Made At ECONOMIC SUMMIT In Russia

Titling their news summary, For Putin, a Flight of Fancy at a Summit Meeting‘s CloseThe New York Times described President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, limping and in pain this weekend, but as the annual Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting wrapped on Sunday, in Vladivostok, the Russian leader showed trademark swagger by hitting back at political opponents who mocked his latest stunt, flying a motorized glider to help lead endangered cranes from Siberia migrating south.
Oh yeah? I bet if Michelle Obama flew that glider we couldn’t hear enough about how significant a journey that was for renewing the public’s involvement in what nature means, now that we’re so inundated by machines.
So the President of Russia has a photo-op helping nature. Fabulous, next he’ll grow a garden in the Kremlin, himself, or at least help during The Photo-Op. As with litter on beaches, or crap blowing in the wind through our parking lots, people have to even be coerced into cooperating with what’s good for them. So this means President Putin is signed up for whatever it takes to get and keep the earth’s atmosphere clean?
Hardly? As The Times states – Seizing on a question at his closing news conference, that may or may not have been planted by aides, Mr. Putin signaled that he was not bothered by jokes and ridicule, including assertions that some cranes, like some Russian voters, opted not to follow him. “Only the weak ones,” Mr. Putin said, after urging the audience to applaud the question, which was asked by a reporter from the tabloid, Komsomolskaya Pravda. “The weak ones didn’t follow me.”
Mr. Putin also made clear his little interest in working with the United States to encourage a political transition in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s government continues to cling to power with a violent crackdown on the rebels there.
There it is, isn’t it, Vladimir? No one has bid enough to compensate for Russia’s cooperation. And true, as the Russia’s President has spoken, it’s hard to guess which crew will end up ruling the neighborhood. All President Putin knows for sure is he’s not moving in.
The Times continues, painting President Putin’s picture of the crane episode as a parable about how his tight control and strong leadership keep Russia from descending into chaos.
The New York Times quotes President Putin, thus, “To be frank with you, not all of the cranes flew, and the leader, the pilot, has to be blamed because he was too fast in gaining speed and altitude and they were just lagging behind; they couldn’t catch up. But that is not the whole of the truth: simply during certain circumstances, when there is strong wind and bad weather, the pilot has to lift very speedily or otherwise the flying machine vehicle could overturn and capsize.”
The Times’ DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and STEVEN LEE MYERS maintain – It was a thinly veiled description of his view of himself as Russia’s paramount leader, and it echoed a speech he delivered to lawmakers just days before parliamentary elections in December, in which he urged them to unite behind him “so that the boat really does not turn over.”
Big deal. The Press can tabulate rhetoric. Swaggering President Putin is just playing. How could it matter that The Times can state – Accounts of widespread fraud in those elections led to big protests in Moscow last winter, when tens of thousands took to the streets, often chanting “Russia without Putin!” Because Mr. Putin still went on to easily win election to a third term as president, and, on Sunday, essentially mocked his mockers of his bird adventure, deriding them as out of the mainstream as odd ducks, perhaps, or dodos. “What else can be said? There are certain birds that don’t fly in flocks. They prefer to have their nests separately. But this is a different sort of problem. Even if they are not members of the flock they are members of our population, and they have to be treated very carefully to the extent possible.”
Pawns kept in their place? You’re kidding? Right, President Putin? Maybe? Because public relations is just a toy. Boisterous, public, political theater. A ceremonial backdrop to The Real World point of what Vladivostok was all about.
Even The Times concludes – The jabs at the opposition were bookended by more serious declarations of success about the, held for the first time in Russia, summit meeting. Mr. Putin used the event to underscore his country’s eagerness to sharply increase business and trade ties with the Far East. “We believe we have reached all the goals set for the APEC leaders’ week in Vladivostok,” he declared.
And – In a joint declaration, the leaders of the 21 members of the economic conference, which includes nations from the Asian Pacific and several North and South American countries that border the ocean, applauded efforts to address economic damage in Europe.
In the declaration, the leaders also said they would continue to promote free trade and combat protectionism, particularly in food exports. They announced a new agreement to reduce tariffs on a list of goods identified as beneficial to the environment, and they pledged to combat corruption and protect endangered wildlife.
Platitudes. Yet business moves forward, nonetheless. Numerous important deals were reached, including an accord signed by Japan and Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas monopoly. A station that will help increase Russian energy exports to Japan, which is in need of alternatives to its largely shuttered nuclear power industry.
The Times prints – Mr. Putin’s swagger could be seen in relations with the United States, too. Only days before the meeting, injecting himself into the American presidential campaign calling President Obama honest and rebuking Mitt Romney. But when it came to Syria and Iran, he rebuffed the Obama administration and its highest representative here, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Clinton met privately with Mr. Putin and sat next to him for 90 minutes at the closing dinner on Saturday night, chatting about wildlife and the Winter Olympics that Russia will host in 2014. But the two failed to bridge the gaps that divided them.
Really? Apart from reporters she grilled him on Olympic wildlife, or more probably spent the dinner exchanging goo-goo eyes with everyone attending they wanted to maintain influence with. For appearances sake, they could have talked about the Vail, Colorado ski season, so the entire room knew who remained the most powerful. As Mrs. Clinton said in Vladivostok before returning to the United States, “We haven’t seen eye to eye with Russia on Syria. That may continue.”
His move, President Putin’s power to decide, is what he’s not giving up.
According to The Times, Russia, along with China, has vetoed three United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Syria. But Mrs. Clinton had hoped Russia would show more flexibility as the violence has worsened. Instead, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, publicly rebuked her on Syria, as well as on Iran.
“Our American partners have a prevailing tendency to threaten and increase pressure, adopt ever more sanctions against Syria and against Iran,” Mr. Lavrov said. “Russia is fundamentally against this, since for resolving problems you have to engage the countries you are having issues with and not isolate them.” While President Putin, in his news conference, called his discussions with Mrs. Clinton “useful” and said they concerned “primarily economic ties and certain political issues. We touched on hot spots in the Middle East, in Asia. It was a constructive, very businesslike conversation.” But, he added, “no special decisions” were made.
In his summary on Sunday, Mr. Putin expressed condolences to the Chinese, enduring a tragic earthquake, as well as to Ms. Gillard, the Australian prime minister, whose father died unexpectedly.
Mr. Putin also strongly defended the huge expenditures in Vladivostok that were undertaken in preparation for the economic summit meeting. Including money for three new bridges and an entire new campus for Far East Federal University. Two luxury hotels, a theater for opera and ballet and an aquarium are under construction.
Sometimes enterprise is government, right, Vladimir? Certainly economic compromises are made, but, between whom?
The Times prints that Mr. Putin said, “We will certainly continue developing and improving the living conditions in the Far East,” arguing the goal is to “tap the new opportunities that integration and partnership with our Asia-Pacific neighbors opens up.”
And this is what a third elected term is for President Putin? The highest public official in your country micro-manages international business?
The Times said Russia’s president was swaggering. So, without directly saying so, implied how now is the time to let the power trip go. No? What really requires the Russian President’s attention is how far, and well, trickle-down economics permeates your country. Address what is of real consequence, Vladimir. Your legacy is not just how much money Russia made, but what all your fellow Russians are left with today, and tomorrow.

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