Moon of Alabama – June 29, 2019
Today the Financial Times published a long and wide ranging interview with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
A full transcript is currently available through this link.
The talk is making some waves:
- Putin: Russian president says liberalism ‘obsolete’ – BBC
- Vladimir Putin says liberalism has ‘outlived its purpose’ – Irish Times
- Russia’s Vladimir Putin: Liberalism in Europe is ‘obsolete’ – NBC News
From the last link:
Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times Friday that the “liberal idea has become obsolete,” and referred to Germany’s decision to welcome more than one million refugees — many fleeing savage urban warfare in Syria — as a “cardinal mistake.”
It is only the last part of the very long interview, where Putin indeed speaks of the ‘obsolesce’ of the ‘liberal idea’, that seems to be of interest to the media. Most of the interview is in fact about other issues. The media also do not capture how his ‘obsolete’ argument is ingrained in the worldview Putin developed, and how it reflects in many of his answers.
Here are excerpts that show that the gist of Putin’s ‘obsolete’ argument is not against the ‘liberal idea’, but against what may be best called ‘international (neo-)liberalism’.
Putin explains why U.S. President Donald Trump was elected:
Has anyone ever given a thought to who actually benefited and what benefits were gained from globalisation, the development of which we have been observing and participating in over the past 25 years, since the 1990s?
China has made use of globalisation, in particular, to pull millions of Chinese out of poverty.
What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies — the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners — made use of these benefits. [..] The middle class in the US has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up.
The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump’s victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference.