Friday, December 01, 2006

He seems fit enough. Have him report to me in Istanbul in 24 hours.

The apparent assassination of dissident Alexander Litvinenko by radiation poisoning at first left me to briefly wonder whether Vladimir Putin and his government really realize the cold war is over. The whole episode has a James Bond/ poison-tipped boot aspect to it that would've been right at home forty years ago.

Upon further reflection it appears the threat Litvinenko posed to Moscow was more political than security related. Putin worried what Livinenko's outspoken criticism would mean to his and his deputies electoral fortunes.

Ultimately if Putin ordered Litvinenko's assassination then he actually is crudely following Western political models. He just hasn't completely grasped the concept that in our political system it's the reputation of our political opponents that we send hit squads after not the political opponents themselves. I believe we refer to this as "swiftboating." Once he comes to terms with this concept he'll save himself a ton of time, effort and embarrassment in the future.

3 comments:

Paul Wellstone said...

A sabotaged plane is fairly poisonous...

Aaron said...

I think the perfect candidate to teach Putin about American-style political warfare would be Karl Rove. Personally, I'd like to see him sent to the Gulag but I'd settle for Moscow.

Dean Wormer said...

Rove could use a little forced labor, that for sure.

He's looking a little thick around the middle.