We are for the underdog - The Daily Reckoning
The Daily Reckoning by Bill Bonner
On This Day - 23 July 2014
We are for the underdog A  A  A

London, England

"Russia is behind it. They were the ones who shot down that plane."

That was the line given to us by one of our fellow parishioners at the 8am service, in Maryland, on Sunday.

Oh my...he is losing his mind, we thought. How would he know who shot down a plane 5,000 miles away? Why would he care?

But throughout the US media...dinner time chat and after-church conversations, Russia's Vladimir Putin is condemned. Without trial. Without due process. The rush to judgment was so even the kangaroos hadn't gotten to the courthouse when the verdict was handed down.

In the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, here in London, we overhead a conversation:

"What do you think the international community should do," asked an earnest voice. The speaker, a middle-aged woman who seemed to care more about her ideas than her appearance, seemed to want to 'do something.'

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Her interlocutor took her simpleminded interrogation and threw it back at her, wrapped in so many good intentions it took her a while to figure out what was in it.

"We in the international community need to focus attention on these things. We need to develop a dialogue. We need to build faith in our institutions. Blah. Blah .. generate a consensus...work with aid agencies and NGOs...focus on civil society...blah...blah...

"Putin can't be allowed to get away with this!"

So universal is the opposition to the Russian head man...so fiercely is he set upon by the world improvers ...and so many fingers point in his direction, we feel a compulsion to come to his aid. We are for the underdog...the lost cause and the die hard, whether he's guilty or not.

Passing over the obvious objection - that is none of our business - we take up a defense of Russia, and of Vladimir Putin. We do so not in pursuit of justice (we've given up on that) but on the trail of mischief and provocation.

In the first place, Russia has a long history of misery - most of it self-inflicted. One of the episodes, not entirely self-inflicted (though greatly self-aggravated), was in WWII. The country lost 25 million people in a ghastly war. It only survived at all because it was able to pull back across the steppes...wearing out its enemy in mud, cold, and extended lines of communications. Distance...space...and time are Mother Russia's historic allies. So, it is perfectly understandable for Vladimir Putin to want to save at least the Eastern Ukraine, as a buffer against the next invasion from the West.

Meanwhile, despite the assurances given by George Bush I and other American presidents and secretaries of state, Russia's periphery states have been drawn towards NATO...Europe...and its potential enemies

According to press reports, the US meddled in the Ukraine, helping to unseat its democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, so that he might be replaced by someone more agreeable. Why shouldn't Putin meddle back?

In the second place, what is a commercial aircraft doing over an active war zone? Shooting it down was probably an accident. But it is the kind of accident that you'd expect: a bunch of trigger happy, often drunken, soldiers are on the ground. One of them is bound to push the button sooner or later. None of the people on the ground had an interest in shooting down the airliner...except those who wanted to pin it on Putin. But who knows? Everybody makes mistakes. And if it turns out that it really was Russian separatists...it is extremely unlikely that they were operating under orders from Moscow.

Finally, compared to the reckless and murderous way the US and its allies throw their weight around, Russia has been remarkably restrained and civilized.

  US Russia
People in jail (per 100,000) 716 475
Drone attacks 4,700 0
Number of wars since 1989 9 11

Give the guy a break. Whether in jailing people...or killing them...Mr. Putin is not the worst.

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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3 Responses to "We are for the underdog"


Jul 24, 2014

This could be a mistaken identity. What Russian separatist have to do with Malaysia? You can not blame Putin for this. In war Zone these are possible. All air crafts should have avoided Ukraine air space.


Paresh K. Jariwala

Jul 23, 2014

I totally agree with your article & conclusion.



Jul 23, 2014


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