Staunton, July 19 – The failed Turkish coup and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s response to it have “done for Putin the very same thing the annexation of Crimea did for Lukashenka,” causing ever more people in the West to view the Kremlin leader as “of course evil and a dictator but [only] number two” -- and thus being more willing to work with him, Arkady Babchenko says.
This is part of a more general pattern, the Russian commentator suggests, in which “over the course of a single day a new chief universal evil appears on the world stage” and are distracted from remembering and acting on their conclusion about the earlier “number one evil”
That is not to say that Putin has been transformed into some kind of good and effective leader, Babchenko continues, but only that in this business of comparative evil, many in the West now view him as a lesser threat just as they two years ago came to view Lukashenka as that given that Erdogan “now is the fuehrer” of the day.
Such mood swings – and that seems a better term than analytic judgments – are becoming ever more common given the rush of events, the shortening of news cycles and attention spans, and the absence of either a widely accepted paradigm into which what is going on can be fitted or a strategy designed to cope with it.
Indeed, when anything horrific happens, almost the first question posed is not why did it happen and what should be done but rather where will a similar even occur next be it violence in American cities, coups and coup attempts in various countries, or fragmentation of international groupings or individual countries.
That is perhaps a natural response to what seems to be a kaleidoscopically changing world that is out of control, but Babchenko’s insight is a timely reminder that it has consequences and that because it has those consequences it may very well be in the interests of some to promote such swings through the orchestration of such events.