Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tom Friedman Disputes Putin's Leadership Of Russia

David Brooks argued, correctly, that Trump has been a terrible leader of the US and the Western world.  He then contrasted Trump with Putin's leadership of Russia and its Eastern allies who are spreading autocracy in Europe.  Tom Friedman would agree with Brooks about the failures of Donald Trump, however, he is not willing to put the crown of successful leadership on Putin.  In the first place, he disagrees with Brooks about the Russian economy.  In particular, he argues that Russia has done little to promote human capital development and that Russia has discouraged entrepreneurs; the judicial system does not protect them from oligarchs who ignore their patents and assume control of their businesses.  Friedman believes that the Russian economy is dependent upon the oil and gas resources that will become less valuable as the rest of the world battles global warming,  He also claims that Putin's foreign policies have been harmful to Russia's economy because they have led to Western sanctions that reduce Russian access to foreign capital.

In a more general sense, Friedman accuses Putin of behaving a lot like Donald Trump.  Both of them try to portray themselves as strong leaders; both of them exploit the religious beliefs of their base, and they are in continuous campaign mode.  That is, self glorification is more important than anything else.

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