On this day in 1967, the sale of oleo becomes legal:
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Anne Applebaum writes Putin’s attack on Western values was familiar. The American reaction was not:
Russian scorn for liberal democracy has a long history, and a certain kind of Russian disdain for the West is nothing new. As far back as 1920, Lenin declared that parliaments were “historically obsolete” and predicted that it was just a matter of time before they disappeared. In 1956, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev famously said that “history is on our side.” The Soviet Union was winning, he said, and the West was dying: “We will bury you.”
That’s the historical background for the interview that the Financial Times conducted with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on the eve of this weekend’s Group of 20 summit. The conversation ranged over many issues, with the curious exception of Ukraine, which the newspaper chose not to bring up. But in the course of the conversation, Putin returned more than once to a theme that Lenin and Khrushchev would have found familiar. The “so-called liberal idea,” he told his interlocutors, “has outlived its purpose.” A few minutes later he repeated himself: “The liberal idea has become obsolete.”
The liberal idea, to Putin, has nothing to do with rights, or freedoms, or separation of powers; nothing to do with judicial independence, the rule of law, private property, or any of the other things that make liberal societies prosperous and free. The comments were telling: Putin’s understanding of the Western liberal world and of Western liberal values is not, it seems, any more sophisticated than that of the Internet trolls whose wages he pays. Nor is it much more sophisticated than Lenin’s or Khrushchev’s.
The Financial Times interview appeared Friday morning. On Friday afternoon, President Trump appeared with Putin, laughing and joking. He waved away a group of journalists: “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”
Uri Friedman and Yara Bayoumy write The Coming Reset in the U.S.-Saudi Alliance:
Fed up with the catastrophic human cost of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen’s civil war and appalled by the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Congress seemingly attempts some sort of measure to censure the kingdom every week. Yet at every turn, the White House has blocked or circumvented those moves, standing staunchly by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, while escalating its confrontation with his archenemy, Iran.
The real reckoning in the U.S.-Saudi partnership could come if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, though early warning signs are already visible.