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Putin’s words against Turkey take leadership to new low

Putin’s speech was testament to the diminishing style of leadership this world is enduring

Mohamed Chebarro

Published: Updated:

Watching and hearing Russian President Vladimir Putin speak is an amusing but sad experience.

The leader of the world’s second or third superpower, on paper at least, continues to take the concept of leadership to new lows – whether it’s what he says or does.

From posing as a Judo black belt, then topless on horseback, to emerging from a mini submarine, or stroking a leopard in a cage, many of his images have been designed to create shock and awe. Those pictures have ridiculed the leader rather than elevated him as a political figure, at least in the eyes of many around the world.

What a president and his image advisors do to promote him nationally is that nation's own business, but those image consultants must know that the world is a mini village where national quickly becomes international.

Putin’s speech was testament to the diminishing style of leadership this world is enduring

Mohamed Chebarro

What Putin does at home is usually followed worldwide. A few days ago he held a press conference which lasted in excess of three hours and the president descended to a new low in his use of language and anti-Turkey rants.

Turkey downed a Russian aircraft that allegedly entered its airspace in November. But this Russian incursion into Turkish airspace was not the only incident of its kind since Russia’s aerial campaign to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s dying regime in Syria began, with planes repeatedly entering the airspace since September.

Russian envoys were repeatedly summoned by Ankara to no avail, as the Kremlin wanted to send a clear message that Moscow had become a key player in the fight against ISIS and other terror groups in Syria.

The Turks have made it no secret that they see the Russian air campaign, with its declared sole objective to target ISIS, as targeting moderate Free Syrian Army opposed to Assad 40 years rule of Syria instead, as well as civilians caught up in bombs and missiles raining over their ruined towns and villages. Russia seems to be targeting Turkmen forces near Latakia and areas in northwestern Syria close to Turkey's border.

Defending Assad, supporting Trump

President Putin continued his anti-Turkey tired and his near-demonizing of its leaders, serving as a bully rather than a leader. He was talking to 1,400 invited journalists in attendance. In addition to fiercely attacking Turkey its leaders and indirectly its people, he described the downing of the Russian SU-24 as a ploy by the Turks to suck up to the Americans and he blamed the Turkish act as an effort to "lick the Americans," stopping short of describing what he meant.

Putin in the same presser defended President Assad despite his many crimes against humanity listed by many human rights organizations for atrocities committed by his forces against Syrian civilians.

Putin also used part of his 3 hours 10 minutes rant to congratulate Donald Trump, who recently caused outrage among American Muslims when he called for a ban against Muslim visitors to the U.S. But Putin did not stop there. He even defended Sepp Blatter of FIFA who is currently facing corruption charges, perhaps to show solidarity with the man who granted Russia the privilege to host the 2018 World Cup.

In this press conference, Putin also came close to admitting some Russian soldiers are president Putin operating in eastern Ukraine, a claim Moscow repeatedly denied for the past two years.

In short, Putin’s speech was testament to the diminishing style of leadership this world is enduring.

With President Obama’s non-leadership on Syria, Yemen and Palestine, Russia's leader is filling the void with interventionism and bold policies that drive further discord and pave the way for a mafia-style leadership that would stop at nothing to achieve its aims, even if it means degrading and using non-diplomatic language while addressing foes.

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Mohamed Chebarro is currently an Al Arabiya TV News program Editor. He is also an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.