A Proposal for Putin
The last several months Americans and engaged citizens around the world have played witness to Russian President Vladimir Putin making diplomatic mincemeat of the United States federal government. At every turn Putin has convincingly demonstrated our government's weakness, lack of resolve, and utter incompetence.
The question we would pose for Putin is as follows: Why put Russia and her allies at odds with the United States? This is especially important to ponder when considering that far more can be gained through collaboration. While confrontation and discord are zero-sum games - one nation taking from another through negotiation or force - synergy and collaboration are not. Unlike the former, the latter can show a whole to be more than the sum of its parts.
For more than the past half-century our people have been almost continually plagued by a state of confrontation between our two nations; lasting roughly from the 1950s until the fall of the Berlin Wall. This antagonizing has done both economies far more harm than good; having sparked unnecessary spending and expanded borrowing for both our countries. Our disputes have strained our respective allies as well; we have divided the world.
This confrontation also caused the collapse of an entire political system and created the impetus for new Eurasian market economies. The best periods for both our respective economies was right after the end of our Cold War; a time that permitted us both to refocus our productive efforts and (incidentally) made many of your friends into billionaires.
And yet, now we're backsliding towards the precarious state we had, in just the past 20 years, finally overcome. And why? For oil? Money? Power?
The United States government isn't playing that game anymore; it's boring. Our government has moved past the power jockeying that categorized our respective foreign policies of the era after the Second World War. We are focusing now on more high-minded goals - or at least we're trying. Our efforts would be furthered greatly if you would join us. In the new game we're playing, we could win if only we could get on the same team. Our government today has little interest in playing a game already won by their predecessors.
But make no mistake: If this old game of power diplomacy is the game you insist on playing, we will play it with you. There will be shifts in our government, and we will backslide right along with you. You will see a shift in tone coming from our side of the globe; we will elect leaders specifically to play the old game. They will play it well, and they will win. Our only hope is that they don't go too far in doing so.
And so our appeal is this: Don't push us - please. Our domestic economy is still trying to get back on track from the 2008 debacle. We've overextended ourselves during the past 40 years and are trying to sort out or finances. We've been trying to spur investment, even by way of promoting our investment visa programs. More recently, we've just left Afghanistan with our tail firmly between our legs. Many Americans are looking for an antagonist - anyone to blame but ourselves. Please, don't let our leaders thrust you in that role.