It seems that US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have somehow decided to break their records one after another!
After holding talks with the US President in Washington a couple of years ago, the Russian Strongman had attended a press conference jointly with his host. In the presence of American journalists, President Putin asked his US counterpart: “Do these people often insult you?” President Trump did not give any reply on that day, but smiled at his guest. The Russian President returned the smile as well!
Trump with Putin
Two years have passed since then… and the two leaders have made unparliamentary comments many a times! Especially, the US President’s behaviour does not surprise the world, anymore. He set another milestone during his recent meeting with President Putin on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan! At the beginning of a joint press conference, President Trump looked at his Russian counterpart, and said: “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.” Putin had laughed and replied: “We also have. It’s the same.” And, they shared a chuckle…
This duet of bad humour is not only indecent in nature, but also the cause of deep concern! The US President has (verbally) abused the media persons on a number of occasions, describing them as enemies of the Nation! He, again, has a tendency to describe any sort of information as ‘Fake News’, if it goes against him! However, these types of jokes, which he shared with the Russian President in public, have a special dimension. In Putin’s Russia, the (free) media not only face the State’s ire, but also become a victim of Dictatorship. More than 50 journalists have been killed in Russia in the past 25 years! Russia has secured its place at the bottom in the list of Global Press Freedom! The Statue of Liberty may well have covered its face when President Trump commiserated with a leader, like Putin, about journalists, proceeding to tell the latter: “Get rid of them!”
Of course, there is nothing new in it. In 2016, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte had threatened to ‘annihilate‘ some journalists who were reluctant to accept his diktat. The Filipino president also described journalists as ‘spies’ who had campaigned for Human Rights. Perhaps, President Trump smiled when President Duterte was firing salvos to journalists! Indeed, the Smile of Power is terrific.
However, we have to admit that President Trump is not so lucky (like President Putin), as he has to bear the responsibility of American Democracy. The modern Russian ‘Tsar’ does not have that problem… he is an ‘authoritarian’ ruler… a ‘Dictator‘! That is why he told the local media in Osaka: “The Liberal idea has outlived its purpose, and come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.” President Trump might have a regret in his mind… why cannot I sound like Putin?
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