Garry Kasparov: How Putin's poker game makes fools of the West

On Syria, as so often, he's running rings round Obama and Cameron

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

In chess you see everything. Every piece of information you need is available on the board, so what is being tested during a game is your ability to process all that information. In politics things are different: we never have all the information. People often compare politics to chess, but in fact politics is more like a game of cards, poker perhaps, in which winning means relying on guts, instincts and strength.

Which is why, in the terrible international game being played over Syria, Vladimir Putin is currently the master. Although — as I will explain — his winning streak may not last, at least for the time being he has outplayed all his opponents, largely because President Obama and other western leaders have left the game wide open for him. Putin is now so confident that he is busy drawing up plans for a new ‘post-Assad’ Syria. He is sure he can retain his influence, whoever is in charge.

The West’s inadequate and vacillating response to the Syria crisis has made some people draw parallels with Munich in 1938 — and for once the comparison actually rings true. Even while Cameron and Hollande have been desperately trying not to look like Chamberlain and Daladier, they looked exactly like them. Meanwhile President Obama showed he could not keep his own promises. The consequences of his failure to enforce his own ‘red line’ on the use of chemical weapons will come back to haunt him long after this current impasse is over.

Of course, in any international dispute, a dictator always has an upper hand over democrats. That is why Hitler outmanoeuvred Chamberlain. During peacetime, democratic leaders are always underdogs because they have to pay attention to public opinion and parliaments — the House of Commons in the UK, or the Senate in America. Not to mention facing the free press. A dictator, on the other hand — a Hitler, Stalin, Putin or Mao — does not need to care about any of this. They are far more mobile in reacting to situations and crises. They do not care whether they lie and it does not matter if they are caught lying. They can U-turn on policy, and be as inconsistent as they like.

But it wasn’t just that Putin played his hand well. Both Obama and Cameron played a genuinely inept game. The Conservative party was disorganised and Obama’s argument about legal technicalities proved unconvincing. If you want people to authorise and approve of military action, you have to sound both convincing and capable. Persuading the American public to intervene in Europe in the 1940s was a tough sell for FDR. But he succeeded in selling it, winning the election and winning the vote in the House. That was leadership.

But the disaster of President Obama’s presidency is not just his lack of leadership but the fact that he shows such weakness. It is not only Putin who is watching and taking note of this. There are other players in this new Great Game waiting in the wings — the Iranians in particular, who will arrange their nuclear progress in accordance with the weakness they see.

Putin is like a mafia boss. He is ruthless and does not bother about public opinion. He knows what he needs, knows how to get it and is used to displaying strength, so the only way to oppose him is to show strength back. But the strength shown by the great Cold War leaders — Reagan and Thatcher — is absent in the West at present.

Since the end of the Cold War, the world has also seen a complete lack of strategy from America. The policy of the Cold War was well planned and the mechanism well oiled. Presidents knew about their enemies and a clear line existed between the free world and the rest. But in 1991 all the lines turned a bit gluey and since then there has been no comprehensive policy. Beginning one war after another without a clear idea how they would relate to, or contribute to, global stability severely degraded America’s global credibility. And though Obama came up with big promises, he had no clue about strategy. When the Arab Spring offered the opportunity to show leadership and demonstrate a strategy, or even just to take a side, he failed to meet the challenge.

I do understand the reservations about the Arab Spring and especially the Islamic elements within the revolutions that toppled several regimes. But as somebody who was born in a communist country, I believe that overthrowing dictatorships is a positive step even if it has negative results in the short term. America could have seized the opportunity the Arab Spring offered to immediately display itself as a friend of freedom. Instead it went back and forth, back and forth. For more than two years America failed to come up with any plan, or any vision at all, for its role in the Arab world.

Adolf Hitler with Neville Chamberlain, during Chamberlain's visit to Munich (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Adolf Hitler with Neville Chamberlain, during Chamberlain’s visit to Munich (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Syria has highlighted this. Two years ago the opposition may have had some elements of al-Qa’eda, but in general it was the legitimate democratic opposition that was not leaning towards Islamic radicals. But the longer the war has continued, the worse the picture has become. Today perhaps half of the rebels are al-Qa’eda. A year from now it will probably be all of them. At some point, the free world led by America has to take a stand. The failure to take a stand not only loses friends — it creates enemies.

Shipping weapons to the Syrian opposition would not have solved all these problems, obviously, but what concerns many of us is that on a wider scale America and the West have failed to come up with a long-term plan that could demonstrate vision and opportunity for people in a part of the world which needs to see the value of being allied with liberal democracies as opposed to the Putins of this world.

With such tyrants on top, there will be many people who will lose confidence in the idea that history is moving against the dictators. Yet I remain an optimist. I believe that history is on the side of freedom. I don’t know whether I am wrong or not, but my experience of studying history is that although we may go through very bad periods, eventually freedom is the natural demand of the whole human race. New technologies and devices can help us get to each other throughout the world. This will benefit individuals while creating insurmountable problems for dictators. Putin may be winning the game for now, but time is not on his side.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Garry Kasparov is a former world chess champion and a Russian political activist.

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Show comments
  • Bankotsu

    “Since the end of the Cold War, the world has also seen a complete lack of strategy from America.”

    The above statement by Kasporov shows that he is completely and totally naive about U.S. foreign policy since end of cold war. U.S. has quite a clear policy since 1945 and since 1991 – maintaining and expanding U.S. primacy. He is also naive in thinking that U.S. wars are aimless and not based on strategy of U.S. primacy.

    Kasporov needs to educate himself on U.S foreign policy.

    Peter Gowan interview on U.S. foreign policy since 1945


  • Bankotsu

    When it comes to chess, Kasporov knows a thing or two. But when it comes to the field of international politics, people can see that he is a novice and ignorant and naive to the extreme.

    War in the Contest for a New World Order


    • Alex Popov

      Kasparov is a true hero of freedom and democracy, professor Obama should learn something from him, dictator Ras(Putin) should never be trusted

      • allymax bruce

        President Obama has SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVED these brilliant things this year;

        1),negotiated Iran to set-down its ‘nuclear -making’ ambitions.
        2),annulled war in Syria, & confiscating Syria’s chemical weapons.
        3),re-vitalised International Relations with Russia, China, P5+1&UN.
        4),held his flagship ACA policy from being destroyed by Congress.
        5),won his end-of-term ‘budget’ against hostile Congress.
        6),in process of (5),lay-waste to Republican credibility in Congress!
        7),his good work has won precious support for The Democratic Party.

        Now, President Obama has done all this in one year; and I called all of it correctly on this Spectator forum. Either, I’m a genius, and President Obama is supremely clever, or President Obama is the genius, & I’m supremely clever. Either way, it’s been a great year for us both!

        • Alex Popov

          What about the invasion of Crimea under his watch..is this also another Obama accomplishment of the cooperation with his buddy Putin?

          • allymax bruce

            Ahh, Alex, you ‘really’ want to know, don’t you!
            I’ll tell you what; I’ll tell you that the EU were ‘too keen’ getting themselves into a situation they never thought-out properly. The rest is International Relations; of which, President Obama is brilliant at. I would say both Presidents are reasonably happy with the situation. allymax.

  • zanzamander

    Kasporov needs to remind himself that this US, since the lesson of 9/11 has changed from the US of old. The new US is now sailing its boat in the Islamic sea.

    • Chris

      An FDR would have nuked every major Muslim population center until they behaved.

      If Obama was president in the second world war, he would have allowed unfettered immigration from Nazi germany and Japan.

      • Tom Tom

        No he would not. FDR was dead before the Us had atomic weapons and it was FDR who met with Ibn Saud and pledged US support for Saudi Arabia if it dropped Britain in 1943 as he returned from Yalta.

        FDR deported Jews back to Germany and interned Japanese Americans and denied them Citizenship and expropriated their property putting them into camps.

  • Treebrain

    “…but what concerns many of us is that on a wider scale America and the West have failed to come up with a long-term plan that could demonstrate vision and opportunity for people in a part of the world which needs to see the value of being allied with liberal democracies as opposed to the Putins of this world.”

    Utter rubbish, Obama has wisely not allowed himself to be forced into military action of behalf or rebels composed of Sunni extremists, foreign mercenaries, jihadis and al-qaeda affiliates in Syria.

    He saw what happened in Libya when the West used force to support rebels and oust a secular dictator and replace him with Muslim extremists allied to al-Qaeda.

    As for ‘vision, it was Obama who arranged the secret discussions with Iran, excluding both saudi Arabia and Israel, that led to the thawing of realties between the US and Iran and the Geneva deal that lays the ground for a permanent resolution of the question of a nuclear Iran.

  • John Mackie

    Kasparov should stick to chess. A board game in which nobody gets hurt.

  • Tom Tom

    This is fatuous. Britain and the US have spent EUR 200 million funding terrorists in Syria in addition to what Saudi and Qatar have been pumping in. Kasparov sounds stupid. FDR became involved in a war in Europe because Adolf Hitler declared war on the USA on 11 Dec 1941 4 days after his ally Japan attacked at Pearl Harbour. The US could not run away any longer.


    Kasparov makes Putin look a titan with the training of the First Directorate showing its superiority to Western political dilletantes. Lavrov is the best Foreign Minister in the world currently. The West hauls out Munich 1938 without comprehension. It was France and USSR that had treaties with Czechoslovakia NOT Britain; it was Daladier who did not want to honour his treaty. Chamberlain was an honest broker from the Lausanne Treaty nations. If France does not want to fight must Britain honour French treaties ?

    • rtj1211

      Err…Britain went to war after challenging Hitler not to invade Poland, which he duly did. Britain did nothing to protect Czechoslovakia. Nothing.

      • Tom Tom

        Kasparov mentioned Munich butsince you mention Warsaw, let’s reflect on
        the Fascist Sancja regime which seized Tesin from Czechoslovakia in
        1938; and how Colonel Beck lied to Chamberlain to get a Guarantee in
        March 1038 after Hitler occupied Prague and waved it in Berlin like a
        talisman that the British stood behind him as Germany had stood behind
        Austria-Hungary in 1914

        • Stanislav Romanov

          Pretty that remember a fact sir.Brave polish’s together Adolf Hitler occupy 1938 Czech’s.Next 1968 return occupy together with Soviet.Pole nature it lie.Problem world politics -all liar names establishment Russia and Poland.Be very solidarity together liar and to bark to oneself.

    • Alex Popov

      Kasparov is a true hero of freedom and democracy, professor Obama should learn something from him, dictator Ras(Putin) should never be trusted.

      • Tom Tom

        Who trusts Putin to do anything but look after Russia’s interests ? Who trusts Obama or Cameron to look after their national interests ?

  • Tom Tom

    Kasparov is a strange character; he was born Weinstein in Baku and yet is affiliated to the Center for Security Policy in Washington run by Frank Gaffney who worked with Richard Perle.

    Any regard I might have had for Kasparov evaporates on further investigation, he is simply a shill for Washington Neo-Cons.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Take your dog whistle somewhere else.

      • Tom Tom

        You go back to Richard Perle – he has caused a lot of problems

    • Kennybhoy

      “… he is simply a shill…”

      And who do you shill for Maister T?

  • rtj1211

    So let me get this straight: Putin is a danger to the world whose sole adventure militarily, to date, would appear to be in a small country bordering Russia. The USA and the West have been gallivanting into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc etc etc but are ‘liberal democracies’. Really?

    Putin is admired within Russia because he stood up to the oligarchs. He believes that Russian mineral wealth should benefit Russia not 20 Russians who would leave at the drop of a hat. Dear me.

    He believes in developing customs Unions in traditional regions of Russian influence. You don’t say? USA can have NAFTA but Russia can’t build it’s own customs Union?? A bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you say??

    Putin was in the KGB. Well do bears shit in the woods?? Who do you think George HW Bush was, before he was President eh?? THE HEAD OF THE BLEEDING CIA!! Oh, so it’s OK for Americans who ran drug dealers as ‘assets’ in Central America (and who knows where else too?) to rule to the world, but Russia can only be led by Jesus H Christ. Really??

    Putin doesn’t kiss the ass of every American President like the UK Prime Minister does. So?? There’s nothing in the Russian Constitution which says he has to, is there?

    Putin’s no angel, never was and never will be.

    But I don’t think he’d go down in history as a greater danger to the world than plenty of US Presidents, you know.

    • Chris

      I love Putin, he’s great.

      Russia would defend against “genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance” which he said allows “good and evil” to be equal.


      • vvputout

        Putin is the capo di tutti capi, i.e. the big boss in a mafia regime.

    • Cleisthenes

      Yes, the US (and many other countries) are liberal democracies, and Russia is not. This has nothing to do with foreign interventions and everything to do with the functioning of domestic institutions.

      Western leaders are far from perfect, but they are constrained in a way Putin has not been for quite some time. You may criticize Western leaders’ policies, but they do not assassinate journalists who disagree with them, as Putin has (e.g. Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politovskaya). Nor do they prosecute their political enemies on trumped-up charges (e.g. Mikhail Khordokovsky, Boris Berezhovsky).

      Kasparov may not be right about everything, and he may well be a better chess-player than politician. But he is clearly on the right side here. Those who love Russia and its culture should be especially wary of Putin. His tactics may be impressive in the short-term, but his overall strategy is sure to leave his country isolated, backwards, and disliked.

      • tolpuddle1

        The West is even more isolated and disliked – but it’s not backward; it’s so far forward into personal, social and economic collapse that what the West says or does is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

        • The_greyhound

          The West is only isolated from the savages of Africa and the slave labour camps of the Orient. No one cares what they think, and no one should.

          The triumph of Western capitalism and Western values is complete.

          • tolpuddle1

            When people tell me they’ve triumphed completely, I know they’re doomed.
            Western capitalism is going under, along with the societies underlying it.
            Western values – money and self-interest are the only ones, when you get down to it.

      • Tom Tom

        The US is NOT a “liberal democracy”. It is supposed to be a Constitutional Republic.

      • Tom Tom

        Berezhovsky was a crook and gangster – go watch the Russian film “Tycoon” to get a flavour of his rise to riches. He bought Yeltsin’s daughter and liquidated rivals. Khordokovsky was another of Berezhovsky’s network looting assets privatised under Yeltsin. I wonder how people here would react if a few well-connected cronies around Cameron ended up owning all the natural resources and assets of a bankrupt nation…….ah, I forgot, that has happened here and the British are happy to have Goldman Sachs and Singapore own Royal Mail and carry the pensions deficit on taxpayer backs.

        • Curnonsky

          Putin’s greed and corruption outstrips Berezovzky and Khodorkovsky by miles – he is motivated by little more than an insatiable hunger for other people’s money and a revanchist urge to recover the Soviet Union’s former realm.

          And I doubt Cameron has had his critics and rivals jailed, murdered and robbed with quite the same zeal as Putin.

          Painting him as some sort of ruthless but capable patriot is absurd: he is a mediocre thug who has risen to the top by his useful service to his ex-KGB cronies.

          • GMT

            Putin might not be the most honest man on the planet, but he is doing something for the country and the people. Unlike for decades, if not centuries before, the standards of living of so many people in Russia have risen, people can travel abroad, study in Western Universities, have a more dignified life. Putin cannot be blamed for all the problems in Russia, considering what he inherited from his predecessors. Have patience and give him time. Corruption, for once, has been a big problem in Russia long before Putin.

      • Simon_in_London

        “Nor do they prosecute their political enemies on trumped-up charges (e.g. Mikhail Khordokovsky, Boris Berezhovsky)” – I seem to recall Nick Griffin being prosecuted? And in recent years many ordinary Brits have been subject to prosecution on political ‘speech crime’ grounds. The ordinary Russian has more free speech than the ordinary Englishman these days.

      • GMT

        Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky were oligarchs who came to their riches not through hard work, but using the vulnerable economic situation in the country to their advantage, i.e. to say through quite dishonest means. They are crooks, end of story.

    • Charlie

      Here is the big difference IDIOT. America enables countries to engage in elections that are free and open. When Putin was in the KGB there where no free and open elections. Americans have fought for that around the world. Communist countries have fought to close borders and imprison their own citizens. Are you really that stupid.

  • LG63

    Yes, he was that naive for quite a while now, standing up alongside ex-ministers and oligarchs, shallow nationalists, glamorous celebs and ultra-liberals of all sorts during recent street protests in Russia. Now when it’s all over – he’s got some time to chill out and earn some quid writing articles…

  • Chris

    With regard to Syria, Iraq, and all other muslim nation. They do not do freedom. They follow a religion that tells them how to act, eat, talk, and dress. Freedom is incompatible with Islam. The only way to control or pacify them is through a show of strength (dictatorship).
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but a failure to grasp these simple facts is a searing indictment of modern politics.

    • Tom Tom

      Syria is SECULAR. Iraq was SECULAR. The Baathists were founded by a Christian and were SECULAR. The West has destroyed the Secular regimes in the Middle East to boost Fundamentalism from Saudi Arabia and Qatar

    • Simon_in_London

      It’s more the cousin marriage than the religion that prevents civil society & rule of law. Most Syrians are not religious fanatics, though of course we’re supporting the ones who are.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Be interesting to know what Vladi got in exchange for not exposing Obama as a liar over those Syrian chemical weapons. And UK as the supplier was also in the frame.

  • NotYouNotSure

    As a fellow chess player, I have the highest respects for Kasparov, but this neocon line of thinking has led to big blunders in recent times and really needs to be buried once and for all. Making every next issue as if its Munich 1938 is dishonest and frankly insulting.

    Putin prime driver is to keep Russia from falling apart, he is no Stalin.

    • danram

      He is no Stalin only because he doesn’t have the means to be. He is cut from the same cloth as Stalin, make no mistake. He would like nothing more than to return to the “good old days” of the Soviet Union.

      You and others need to open your eyes.

      • NotYouNotSure

        I repeat, not everything is Munich 1938, when will you neocons realise that your game is up, less and less people are buying your scaremongering anymore. Putin openly speaks out for Christians being persecuted, not sure how you can equate that what to Stalin advocated.

  • edlancey

    “America could have seized the opportunity the Arab Spring offered to immediately display itself as a friend of freedom.”

    Mr Kasparov uses the word “freedom” throughout this article but never defines it, and seems to have no concept of what it is, other than if it annoys Putin it must be good.

    • danram

      Well, how about this …

      * Freedom of speech

      * Freedom of the press

      * Freedom of peaceable assembly to petition for a redress of grievances

      All of these are freedoms that have now been severely curtailed in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

      • Tom Tom

        Spain is banning protests, in Britain they require permits. The Guardian smashes up its computers when Spooks tell them to.

        • MekNes

          In U.S it forbidden unless it approved by U.S government and media. Difference of opinion can get you to lose your job, death threats and so on.

      • MekNes

        I wish the U.S had some of those qualities.

  • Mickey Kovars

    The threat posed by Iran hardly seems comparable to that of Nazi Germany in 1938 — the West is stronger now, and the adversary is weaker. The Iranians probably will get the bomb because no one — not even the Israelis — will be able to stop them if they want to go the whole way. But given the array of power on both sides, there is no way Iran will start a nuclear war and risk annihilation.

    • Tom Tom

      Nazi Germany in 1938 had a smaller Army than France and fewer tanks. it only became a power AFTER getting French Renault factories and British kit left at Dunkirk. It invaded USSR using Renault trucks and British field guns

      • NotYouNotSure

        That is still not an argument, because unless you can show which neighbours armament factories Iran will take over and then conquer the world – comparing it to Germany is laughable.

  • danram

    This article is right on the money. I imagine that Putin and his cronies have had many late-night belly laughs together in between shots of vodka in the Kremlin at the expense of Barack Obama.

    But we have only ourselves to blame. We stupidly elected … and then even more stupidly re-elected … a man with absolutely zero qualifications for the presidency because he was black, gave a stem-winder of a speech from the teleprompter, and looked good in the suit.

    “People get the government they deserve.” The tragedy is that the people of Iran, Syria, Russia and Ukraine … people who deserve better … are suffering because of our collective stupidity.

    • tolpuddle1

      Do you honestly imagine that sabre-rattling from a Republican President would have made the slightest difference to the Middle East (except, perhaps, to cause even more wars and carnage ?).

      We’re heading into the Post-American century; Obama is the symptom, a messenger, not the cause.

      And in any case, no one in the West is prepared to suffer or die in neo-con wars (least of all the neo-cons) – so who’s going to fight them ? This isn’t stupidity, it’s a return of sanity after the hubris of 1990 – 2008; and also, the West’s bankruptcy (in every sense).

    • Tom Tom

      Not black – mulatto

      • moderate Guy

        And, what was it Joe Biden said, ah, articulate one; though that seems to have been somewhat disproved.

    • Simon_in_London

      It’s not your job to put the world to rights. When you try, we get Iraq.

  • bscook111

    Yes, Obama is weak. Yes, Obama is incompetent beyond belief. Can Russia fill at least some of the vacuum constructively? And that does not necessarily mean non-violently. Russia has a huge stake in Islamic politics, quite possibly the largest stake of all non-Islamic nations. Let’s stay calm shall we, and see what She can do. She can’t possibly fuck it up worse than we have.

  • tolpuddle1

    Trouble is Gary, that your great “cold war leaders” Reagan & Thatcher also turned the West into a money-obsessed casino for which no sane person is prepared to die (least of all yourself); hence the great weakness of the West compared to the semi-socialist West of the 1940’s. Military hardware can’t compensate for lack of volunteers and the West’s threats of military intervention fall flat on their faces. Nor will the West – increasingly inhabited by non-Western people ! – ever regain its former greatness.

    Two historical points
    – to say Assad is an existential threat to the West like Hitler is absurd, and talk about “Munich” therefore beyond absurd;
    – FDR didn’t persuade the American people to intervene in Europe; they intervened in Europe only when Hitler declared war on THEM.

  • tolpuddle1

    Live on the real chessboard, Gary !

    Neo-conservatism, creative destruction, American Leviathan etc etc are so very Noughties, so very yesterday; they’re a Lost World, in fact.

    • Simon_in_London

      Well said.

  • Friotz the Cat

    Handing one part of the world to inept rulers to mismanage while the U.S. takes care of business elsewhere is old news. Shari law is a non starter economically, which is what matters in the long run.

  • wally

    Obathhouse is an affirmative negroid actionee, the negroids are destroying what’s left of the former America and need to be deported back to Africa.
    There, they can enjoy and create the kind of wastelands they specialise in.

    • Tom Tom

      You are Tom Buchanan

  • moderate Guy

    Putin “has outplayed all his opponents, largely because” Obama is too stupid for a game more involved than pattycakes; and Cameron or Hollande do not seem to be any better.

  • Usedtobe Fishfry


  • NotYouNotSure

    Looking at the picture of those four “leaders”, I see three effeminate dandies and one man, not a surprise who would have the edge in high stakes poker.

    Sorry, I know this is a serious topic, but I could not resist.

  • MekNes

    This guy again, he seems like hes a sore loser so sad that he cant be a dictator in Russia and nobody likes him so he looks to find anyone who will hear him cry.

  • noneintelligent

    Very thoughtful, Gary.

  • Stanislav Romanov

    Who’s represent mr.Kasparow? Russians which very not knows own country or forget how activity real all structure him state,Fall soviets system by the approve machine security which decide to do business a make money.Irony they start build democracy What build ? today see -are all over Russia to Oder river create system corruptions states.Politics party’s to act how gang’s similar Police Attonery’s and Court’s.Even today courts give sentence a hood’s-citizen’s give sentence nothing knows.Rival’s to kill in Russia uses bomb’s and fire.Poland to hang’s.West a real a fool’s .Stalin to colonize Poland million’s clone’s how Pole’s.They descendants today say -we the Poland’s a nature have homosovieticus-structure states to act similar how Russia.Are corruptions democracy a real systems politics.Nobody to be honest-every citizen something rob or commit other crime.

    • GMT

      a google translation?

  • PJ1020

    obama has such a need to be liked he is easily manipulated. Russia and Iran both have figured obama out a long while ago. When obama goes into a negotiation he has an overpowering need to have an agreement. The others just wait for him to give them what they want.

    Putin is playing obama like a banjo. He recognizes weakness when he sees it.

  • allymax bruce

    Garry, International Relations, (IR geopolitics), is nothing like ‘a game of cards, poker …’, and certainly not reliant upon ‘guts, instinct, nor strength’; the eventual outcome to all those human characteristics is war! Please notice President Obama, and President Putin, have used ‘International Relations’ as a geopolitical tool to avoid war! The ‘political arena’ resembles the breakneck-speed development of the digital technology industry of the ‘ninety’s’ & ‘noughties’, and a clear and present format is needed to guide us, all safely through ‘quicksand’ politics that wants to lead us all to war. As for Cameron & Hollande looking like ‘Chamberlain & Daladier’, you prove you know nothing of International Relations; a tactical strategy may be used to function the outcome of its antecedent; stay in the format of the IR, and always back your main-man. However, it can be said Hollande is a facilitator of duplicitous politics.
    Ok; I’ve only got down to your 3rd para’, and you resort to insults of President Obama; Kasparov, you have no idea what’s going on in the IR arena; I won’t read anymore of your ignorant, inane ramblings. President Obama is the best USA President since Kennedy; if you only knew how important Kennedy was to stopping International annihilation you would know President Obama is a true 21st century hero. He was the only foreign political guest to be lauded at Mandela’s Memorial, and President Obama should be given another 3 Nobel Peace prizes for the wars he has annulled. He truly is the accomplishment of Mandela & Martin Luther King. God Bless President Obama; God knows we need him.

    • Simon_in_London

      I wouldn’t go that far, but yes Obama has been a net positive internationally, certainly far better than his appalling predecessor. He doesn’t seem nearly as helpful to Al Qaeda as GW Bush was, he even took out Bin Laden.

  • Frederick Bastiat

    “History is on the side of freedom.” No, history has shown that statism almost always wins. It takes an educated population with a good understanding of history, philosophy and economics. Most people don’t qualify as educated.

  • Terence Hale

    Garry Kasparov: How Putin’s poker game makes fools of the West. Hand raising, your photo. With Mr. Cameron and President Obama raising their right hand, President Putin his left and President Hollande none. It may be a coincidence the national socialists in Germany used to raise the right hand.

  • voidist

    our leaders are stupid,fat old flat footed obsolete men…
    Putin is a sleek Judoka…who knows how to use his opponents strength to
    mow them to the ground…..
    he never acts….he waits patiently until one of ours becomes slightly off Balance…
    then he moves in…..
    he has brought the eastern art of jiu jitsu to politics in a cold blooded manner…

  • voidist

    Gary, the fact that you so wistfully yearn for Thatcher and Reagen Shows that
    you too are simply a relic from the past….the world is not so stupid as to
    plunge itself into second cold war , just to please the likes of you…

  • Simon_in_London

    I salute both President Putin and our British Parliament, who so far have kept us out of an insane war in Syria on behalf of the more evil side. If only that had happened 15 years ago in the Kosovo war – but we were all a lot more naive then. We won’t be fooled again.

  • GMT

    am trying to see the point Kasparov is trying to make and all I can see is a vehement attack on his presidential election rival who came on top.

    Btw, Mr. Kasparov, Britain’s decision to not go along with the American plans of a military intervention in Syria was widely supported by the British people. That is called democracy… didn’t you mention the word?

  • Carl Reichenbach

    “freedom is the natural demand of the whole human race”

    That’s why nobody is listening to your bs.

  • Raj Err

    Where the people and dictates of the state are not limited to particular types of action, such as minimizing coercion, their centralized power undermines morality, suffocates liberty, and erodes prosperity.