54 doctorate in law, and international law. I think that they put him in because of his intelligence connections and because of his reputation to handle this problem, which he has done. We may not like the way he has handled it in some cases, but what he has done – as you have pointed out – is observed the measure of Russian law, and in the course of his government, has expand- ed those laws, but has done so in a most un-communist way. He’s gone to the Duma and he has passed legislation through the Duma and so on. He’s not ruling by decree contrary to the way the Western press portrays him. The other thing that he has done that Russians like is stood up for their national culture. We all remember the Pussy Riot where a rock group went in during an Orthodox liturgy and committed sacrilege. “Off to jail you go.” The Western press howled in indignation with that, and I congratulated him. Number one, that is not behavior that anybody should condone. The only reason the Western press condoned it is because they are essentially anti-Christian as far as I’m concerned. Putin stood up for the Russian national cul- ture, and this has become – without getting into detail – the hallmark of his administra- tion. I think that it reflects a deep analysis that the Russians are undertaking when the Gorbachev era was coming to an end. This has certainly continued under Putin and some of his academic advisors. I think they took a detailed analysis of the failures of the system and came to the conclusion that, sooner or later, this entire thing will have to be scrapped, whether it’s the communist party of the Soviet Union that does the scrapping or whomever. It needs to be scrapped. Central to their analysis was this system that they were under was fundamentally inhuman, and that is why it wasn’t working. Also, it was not at all reflective of the indige- nous shape of Russian culture and tradition. So what you see Putin doing – and this is very interesting– is not only speaking to that when he makes his public speeches, but is also taking back and offering cultural cri- tiques of the West: the pedophilia scandals, vaccines, GMOs, non-nutritious food, and the full gamut. Fitts: What is interesting is as he does it, without saying it, he is saying, “Your culture is inhuman and we will not tolerate an inhuman culture.” Farrell: That is what he is saying, and he is also speaking for those people in the West who say the same thing. So he is playing a very, very clever ‘soft power’ kind of cultural geopolitics by pointing out the hypocrisies and systemic inadequacies in the West. Fitts: What is interesting is if he keeps it up, if the Russians can maintain this, within two generations they will have a fertile population and we will have an infertile population. Farrell: It’s interesting that one of the things that he did is he has given tax breaks to Russians having children, and over here we are slaughtering them. So, yes, that is a clear signal that they have taken an analysis of the communist system and all of its de- tailed aspects and are rejecting it and trying to move back something that is rooted in Russian institutions and culture. This does not mean that they are going to restore the czars tomorrow or what have you. As far as I’m concerned, and I’ve always maintained this, if they get rid of Putin, they may think that they are getting rid of the problem, but I can assure you that this is not the case. Putin is reflective; he’s not an individual. Fitts: He is reflective of a power structure. Farrell: He is reflective of a power structure that has done a prolonged analysis of the situation – both internally and externally – and these are the conclusions that they have arrived at. I’m absolutely insistent on that. What I have always said, and I believe it, is that Russia is the first post- post-Modern state. It has looked at all of the isms of mod- ernism, communism, fascism, progressivism, so-called liberalism, and said, “No, none of those are working. We’re going to launch on our own and do our own thing and try to root it somehow in our culture and in its institutions.” Whether that experiment in the long term will work or not, I don’t know, but I think you’re absolutely right. They have targeted the inhumanity of what has emerged as Western culture, which really isn’t. They have targeted the inhumanity of it, and they’ve noticed the systemic hypocrisies in it and have said, “We’re not going down that road either,” because it’s just a soft form of what we’ve just been through. Yes, he is a very unusual man and Russia is a country to watch. Fitts: They have recently said that they weren’t taking dollars at several of the ports, and they have agreed to be trading oil with gold in yuan. They are setting up many other payment mechanisms. Farrell: Don’t forget that two years ago they incorporated Japan’s credit system into their system so they can use the Japanese system that is in so many places in the Pacific. They have made a number of very, very key moves. Most recently they’ve offered tech- nical assistance to Japan for the Fukushima mess. Fitts: It’s peculiar because that received very little attention, but is a major development. Farrell: Oh, it’s massively huge. The joint development that Abe and Putin have signed for the Kuril Islands is another very big agreement. That is a geopolitical earth- quake, whether we realize it or the empire at the Pentagon realizes it or not. That is a large geopolitical move. Fitts: Even though Russia is in the BIS system, they are part of the trading relation- ships with North Korea that make it possi- ble for North Korea to stay out. We have a new round of sanctions trying to pressure Russia, China, and everyone to stop helping North Korea. It’s very much in Putin’s interest for North Korea to stay out. Farrell: Absolutely. The last thing that Rus- sia needs is a large number of North Korean refugees pouring into Eastern Siberia. It’s the same thing for the Chinese. The last thing that they want is numerous refugees pouring into Manchuria. From North Korea’s standpoint – in playing devil’s advocate here – if I were looking at dealing with the United States and the way it’s behaved over the last 70 years, I would want a nuclear deterrent, too, quite frankly. VI. News Trends & Stories with Dr. Joseph Farrell