Swans Commentary » swans.com February 28, 2005  



Vladimir Putin Writes To George W. Bush


"Translated" by Charles Marowitz




(Swans - February 28, 2005)   Dear George W.

It is always pleasing to see you no matter what the occasion (so long as it isn't at "the ranch" where I am afraid the steaks are somewhat too bloody for my taste and the smell of the stables a bit overpowering), but I must confess, it was difficult for me during your recent visit to Bratislava.

Being a Premier welcoming a foreign Head of State, I was obliged to be both cordial and civil, whereas your remarks about "democracy" made it difficult to be either. I am a patient man and usually rather reserved, but I fear I betrayed signs of intense discomfort during your little lecture. My complexion, usually sallow and pale, became the color of borsht when you went into your hectoring tone about "protection of minorities, a free press and a viable political opposition."

Had I not been restrained by protocol, I would have pointed out that, from its inception, your country has been noted for having ferociously abolished minorities. You massacred your Indian tribes then took their lands, plucked millions of slaves from Africa and put them into forced-labor camps called "plantations" and plundered fertile territory on your continent that originally belonged to Mexicans. Since then you have brutally subjugated ethnic minorities and, on frequent occasions, instigated race riots which were fiercely put down with tear gas, water hoses and man-eating dogs.

That was all ancient history, you may say, but let us look at current history. You have sanctioned cruel torture of innocent civilians from many lands in your garrisons at Guantánamo Bay and in Iraq, never discriminating between "combatants" and "civilians." Like the Wild West desperados of old (whom you clearly seem to admire), you have bombed civilians -- women and children -- in Kosovo and elsewhere and deceived a nation into waging war, not against the enemy which attacked it, but one which better suits your larger purposes in an oil-rich region of the middle East. To allow your government a freer hand in this carnage, you have attempted to muzzle your so-called "free press" and secretly paid journalists to promote your administration's policies. To strengthen the grip of your own party, you have brazenly redrawn the districts of certain states and, I am told (although this is only hearsay) rigged certain elections in your own favor. And all of this is happening in a land where every day, there is some new scandal involving theft, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds by monolithic corporations whose representatives can be found in your cabinet and amongst your dearest friends and acquaintances.

Is this the kind of Democracy you intend to impose on the peoples of the mid-East and is this the kind of Democracy you would export to other parts of the world? A "democracy" which has bitterly divided your own country and caused millions of Americans to oppose both your policies and your ideology? Is this the "democracy" enshrined in the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Paine?

You will say this is the pot calling the kettle black, but at least in my country, I make no bones about my dictatorial methods. I simply announce I will do away with certain elections and appoint political leaders that suit my agenda. At least I am being honest. I do not pretend we have an opposition. We just get on with the business of governing and eliminate troublemakers -- be they political dissidents or successful capitalists -- as we must. We are fashioning our new "democracy," you must remember, with the relics of Communist apparatchiks -- which is a little like building a house using only cowpats. Not the best of materials, I grant you, but all we have.

The fact is we truly are brothers under the skin, as I'm sure you will agree. That being the case, it doesn't behoove you to embarrass me at international gatherings. Since we share so many of the same political impulses and expansionist aims, I am sure we will get over this little spat. But, in the spirit of our continuing friendship, I felt the need to draw your attention to this relatively unimportant breach of manners.

Do send my warmest regards to Laura and the girls and thank Condoleezza for the crocheted sweater bearing the image of Trotsky with the ice pick in his head. It has become one of my most treasured possessions.



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This Edition's Internal Links

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Published February 28, 2005