Friday, January 02, 2015

Putin and Mahinda: Strong leaders, their policies and our fate

Some analysts, including the irrepressible Dayan Jayatilleka have a fascination with strong leaders. Strongmen, they believe will lead to strong nations. Vladimir Putin mesmerises such people, a man who they claim has taught the West a lesson in defiance and developed his country.

Mahinda is compared favourably with Putin and people are urged that if this model is followed it will surely lead us to greatness. The comparison between Putin and Mahinda is apt. Both share similar sentiments and follow similar policies.

But is this good for Sri Lanka?

After collapsing in the 1990's Russia's economy recovered from around 2000 onwards. Putin happened to be in charge and claimed the credit. The truth is that the economy recovered only due to high oil prices.

Historically this has been the case with the Soviet Union and Russia - the economy has largely been dependent on oil and natural resources. The Soviet Union collapsed after a period of sustained low oil prices in the 1980's.

After some decline in oil prices Putin's Russia faces a similar situation today. KAL's cartoon from The Economist sums it up.

Sanctions from the West have exacerbated the crisis in Russia - but are not it's primary cause. Russia's sclerotic economy is sustained largely by natural resources. Even if it is argued that sanctions are the cause of the current crisis it only serves to underline the folly of Putin's policy (like Mahinda's) of anatagonising the West. If Russia's economy with all the natural resources at its disposal is tottering what would our fate be?

Sure, we can all be proud of having a strong leader like Putin but Russia's fate will be ours.

Is that what we really want?

Some further reading herehere and here.

1 comment:

sbarrkum said...

You should probably also read
Youll find this article on Putin quite interesting,

It ends with
Indeed, the world has been turned upside down, with Russia now defending Christianity, while the American and Western political and media elites viciously attack it. As Patrick Buchanan now rightly asks: “On whose side is God NOW on?”