Speak softly and carry a small stick

I think that Obama as president of the biggest democracy in the world has to speak about that and he did in his speech today. I think it was absolutely clear for everbody. I don’t think that Putin will be very excited after his speech…[When he discussed] rule of law, free speech and free elections, it is absolutely clear to Putin and Medvedev and everyone in Moscow what he is talking about.

Yes, it was quite cautious, I agree. But I think this is the good way. If you come to another country like a boss, like a teacher: “Guys, you did terrible here, now I explain to you how to do, how to run the country, how to move forward because I am a great American president and I know how to proceed,” I think that such a strategy is not good.

But if you say very frankly and friendly: “Guys, remember, the authoritarian style is the wrong way. Not just for the state but for you,” it looks more promising.

That is Boris Nemtsov, former deputy PM of Russian turned anti-Putin campaigner, interviewed by Josh Keating at FP.

One thought on “Speak softly and carry a small stick

  1. As an American I don't think Obama would lay claim to being president of the "biggest"… that would be India. But "most powerful" democracy… "oldest" democracy(by some counts)… "most largely continuous improvement over long period of time in a pretty big country by world standards" democracy (my measure) … that'd be alright, and puts us more in league with Blattmanland (er, Canada)…