The ‘Interview’ that shook the West

If this interview snowballs into something big enough that shakes some inertia off the American voters, well, this is an ‘election interference’ that the American establishment created themselves.

| Updated: 12 February, 2024 5:36 pm IST
TNI Illustration by Eknath Narale

Hours after the Tucker Carlson interview of Vladimir Putin went on air, Hillary Clinton rushed to some random mainstream media channel to vent. In a manner that reminded me of the Bollywood stars’ display of cheap elitism every time their movie flopped (quite a regular affair these days), she called Tucker a ‘puppy dog’ and a ‘useful idiot’. She had not a single point of rebuttal as far as the interview, or Putin’s responses to the questions put across were concerned. She just shined in what has become the trademark of the woke leftists when presented with facts: name-calling and resorting to personal attacks. She could have taken Putin on his remarks about Russian ‘tolerance’ – something that the erstwhile Soviet Stans would disagree with, especially concerning the liberty to practice their religions – but I have serious doubts about whether she has the mental faculties to take an interest in anything other than being an agent for the global elites.

To fence sitters like us (Ukraine is a Russia-West issue after all), this interview probably ranks among the top five (or even top three) interviews of political leaders that have ever been conducted. The only interview that comes a distant close to the Tucker-Putin interview could be the one that French President Emmanuel Macron gave to The Economist magazine a couple of years back. It would take a lot of space to unpack the entire two-hour-long chat; however, the broad contours of this event (yes; with close to 200 million views in 2-3 days, an event is what it is) can be summarized for the benefit of those that have not managed to find the time so far.

An Irreverent Tucker?

Tucker Carlson appears impatient, casual at times, and shallow with his trials to probe, during the interview. At least that’s what a section of the netizen thinks. I think this was Tucker’s script. To characterize the American behaviour: smug, self-righteous, and ignorant about history. It worked wonderfully well; because this cemented the basic difference between the two hemispheres during the interview. While the East – represented by Vladimir Putin – prefers to remain rooted in the complex layers of history and civilization, the West is not just ignorant, but impudent too: one of the many reasons why they would never understand the East, or be accepted by the people there.

That aside, I think Tucker also played a little to his audience back home. Establishment pressure to ban him, ban his travels, ban his entry to the EU aside, the general American (there are a large number of them there still) needed to believe that Tucker stood his ground and refused to be subdued by the leader of America’s deadliest ‘adversary’.

What did Putin achieve?

Many things! His half-hour off-the-cuff history and chronology lesson to Tucker is bound to make millions question the legitimacy of Ukraine, aside from a painful acceptance of the fact that no Western leader can boast of such a deep understanding of history and geopolitics. He elaborately pointed out the recklessness of the USA in prolonging the war at the cost of taxpayers, to benefit a handful of military contractors. He called out the EU for what it is: incompetent and spineless. He subtly pointed out how the American establishment ran their affairs at the cost of permanently damaging their economy. He gave the world a basic rundown of what comprises the Russian Identity. He threw an open challenge to the entire Western leadership to present a coherent rebuttal, and he knows that there would be none. He called out the UK and Boris Johnson for their clear and present strategy of ‘divide and rule’ – something that persists from the colonial era and is now being perpetrated on mainland Europe. He explained why it is impractical these days to want to take over an entire nation; so why Western media-peddled-lie that ‘Russia has territorial ambitions over Europe’ is an absolute non-starter.

But most of all, he presented himself and Russia as the only party in the Ukraine conflict that is ready for and with a solution, while the others only look at means to perpetuate the war.

The Western meltdown

The West had successfully blocked and banned all the news and views emerging from Russia ever since the conflict began. Channels like RT or media houses like Sputnik or Strategic Culture have all been banned. Except for Telegram, all the other popular social media channels and search engines like Google, Facebook, or YouTube have religiously toed the Western line, managing to successfully cut off the Russian side of the Ukraine story. Even in countries like India, RT has remained off the TV till today. Now, suddenly an Elon Musk-backed Tucker Carlson post of an interview on X threatens to undo all that hard work!

The West is also uncomfortable for another reason, and rightly so. A few years ago, the media-academia bureaucracy had sold a story of ‘Russian collusion’, and ‘Russian interference’ in American elections. That played well to make sure that Trump got booted out and Joe Biden came to power. Now with the Putin Interview (there is also a rumour that Tucker has managed another interview with Edward Snowden, and that too would be released shortly), it has suddenly dawned on them that the story that they sold back then could be playing out for real in 2024. They banned the Russia-linked media which at best ferried news in forgettable bits and pieces only to be checkmated with a content-heavy, unforgettable, comprehensive, and in-depth talk in an election year, from arguably the most formidable foe that they have created.

If this interview snowballs into something big enough that shakes some inertia off the American voters, well, this is an ‘election interference’ that the American establishment created themselves. Remember that famous Jean De La Fontaine quote “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it”…?

Arindam Mukherjee is a geopolitical analyst. He tweets @ heartland_ari

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