Cold meetings at G-20

Hey gang, what’s up? World leaders meeting came to it’s logical end, so we can discuss that event. Seems that everything was as planned. Ukraine, sanctions, near East, China and koalas… And political rudeness. I know that Russian president isn’t in the stream of world love now, but rudeness is awkward – anyway. But we can’t decline that G-20 meeting was under his shadow. Just check your newspapers: Putin, Putin, rudeness, Putin and Obama, Putin and Merkel, Putin left G-20 before the end of the meeting, bla-bla-bla.

I have a couple of questions to all of you:

  1. What do you think about G-20 meeting? What can change in world after that?
  2. Do you think that political rudeness caused by lack of political will against strong Putin’s charisma and his ability to do as he want?

Welcome to the comments!

4 thoughts on “Cold meetings at G-20

  1. Great questions Evgeniy!

    1. I don’t think much of it, and while I hesitate to speak for the entire republic of the United states, I think it’s safe to say that not many people here think much of it either.

    It’s a good thing that world leaders get together for summits, of course, but in the US policy is made by legislators, not world leaders.

    2. I think the rudeness has more to do with the fact that Russia is not playing by the West’s rules. This does not mean the West’s rules are better than Putin’s alternative, of course (though I think they are, to an extent), but only that the cold reception Putin got from Western leaders has to do with the fact that they don’t view him as a tolerable autocrat (like they do Mr Xi).

    The West has a cultural inclination to view its elected politicians as sleazy, boring functionaries that are bound to follow a certain set of rules. Charisma is something we associate with demagogues and marginal factions.

    • Yes, Brandon, I agree with you. Seems that our president play with his own rules, which are not equal to Mr. Obama’s rules. I read in one of our newspapers phrase, that suits here best, I think: “We build democracy in whole world so please help us and play by our rules. Otherwise we will hit you with sanctions”. In Russia we have a joking quotation also: “There’s only two opinions in the world – 1. my. 2. incorrect.”

    • That is a funny joke, Evgeniy, and serves as a good reminder that I must pay Russia a long visit before I die. For some reason, I imagine myself as an old man (late 50s) when I visit Russia. My sister did missionary work for her church (not mine!) in the Vladivostok region a few years ago. She still talks about all of the babushkas who brought such joy into her life.

      I am glad you point out the blatant hypocrisy of the West regarding democracy. Hawks (on this blog and elsewhere) would do well to note that the military interventions of the West, in the post-socialist world, have done nothing but infuriate Russia. I think we could agree – but by no means do you have to – that “democracy” in the West is used by politicians in the same way that “brotherhood” is used by politicians in the Russian federation. It does not help our cause – mutual understanding and peace – that both concepts are ambiguous and at the same time desired by all (though it does help the cause of authoritarians everywhere).

      I stand by my argument that the West has produced a better set of rules for governance than Russia. I make this argument in light of knowing that these rules (and norms) are far from perfect. This imperfection is a strength, not a weakness. The failure of the West in regards to Russia is not that it has broken its own rules (it has, from time to time), but that it has failed to work hard enough to incorporate Russia (and the rest of the developing world) into its apparatus. It is this failure to incorporate Russia into the rule-making, rule-following apparatus of the West that has infuriated Russia.

      Am I “close to the mark”?

  2. Evgenyi: Since you asked (a while ago): I am not sure there is such a thing as rudeness in an international meeting as long as participants all keep their pants on. Such meetings typically don’t accomplish much that is concrete. They are mostly symbolic events. Symbolic events is where you get a chance to express your disapproval with minimum risk of killing people. Expressing away is fine, I think. It’s useful because statesmen are not always well informed about how their actions are perceived on the outside. Poor information between world leaders is dangerous. Clear information may not be enough to cause course correction but without good information, it’s quite unlikely to take place.

    I am guessing (guessing) that some of what you write involves an all-around dismissal of politics and moral equivalency between the parties. I don’t think such equivalency is valid, not even close. Your bad guy is much worse than our bad guy. The fact that Mr Putin is very popular makes it worse. Mr Obama fortunately lives in a society where it is still possible to loose political steam through one’s political decisions. The Obama brand is almost bankrupt; I like that.

    PS It seems to me that there is a tendency around this blog to treat you like an honored guest. I think that’s wrong. The only dignified policy is to treat you like a peer.

Please keep it civil

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