Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time: Dictators are cool!

Time Magazine has declared Vladimir Putin as the 2007 Person of the Year. The argument is that Putin has shown great leadership in bringing stability to Russia.

I'd argue by retreating from liberty and rule of law, he's done more long-term to undermine the Russian state and its stability. Truly great leadership would have been to bring stability to Russia without authoritarianism.

Time claims that the the Person of the Year award "is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world—for better or for worse". Certainly, one would hope so, given that Stalin (twice!), Hitler, and Ayatollah Khomeini have all been named Person of the Year. (Past Winners)

Nonetheless, I think most people think of this title as an award or honor and despite Time's protests people will continue to think that way. I certainly was surprised to see Putin picked until I read the article and saw the history of the title. I still disagree with the choice of Putin, even by their standards. The runners-up were: Al Gore, JK Rowling, General David Petraeus, and Hu Jintao (President of China). I'd probably go with Investors Business Daily and chose Petraeus. By most accounts, he's doing a tremendous job in Iraq, bringing some order out of the chaos and fighting the enemies of the entire free world. Now that is leadership that will have a profound effect on America and the World.

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