NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 8, 2014

World has a tiger by its tail with Putin

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — “So,” I asked Big Freddy after I settled myself into our booth, “What’s new?”

“Take your pick, “ Freddy said as he folded his newspaper.

“The Big Picture show overseas of Kerry having to backtrack from claiming Russia wanted a major takeover of the Ukraine, and that Putin should recall his troops or else.

“Or the one in Massachusetts with the federal judge having to say they’ll have to get someone else to try Jack O’Brien and two of his aids when he was state probation chief for allegedly doling out jobs.”

“As Secretary of State, Kerry should have known better,” I said.

“Well he does now, and he’s over in Paris with those who know more than he does about what’s got to be done and how to do it,” Freddy said.

“Because they need Russian oil over there,” I said.

“But they don’t need another bloody war to get it,” Freddy said.

“Nether does Russia. It needs as much respect as it can get, but it needs guaranteed access to the sea more, and it’s ready to fight for it if that’s what it takes.

“Winning more Olympic gold medals than all the other countries went beyond self pride. Russians need that, and Putin needed it as their leader. But Russia needs sea access more than medals.”

“There’s nothing new about Russian pride because of its rich history,” I said.

“But the collapse of the Soviet Union was from within and Russia was the heart of it,” Freddy said. “Restoring that is what Putin’s all about.

“But it’s not just a case of only Putin being Putin. It’s also one about Obama being the Obama so many want him to be.

“The outcome for him is going to be as important in history as it’s going to be for Putin.”

“So much for over there,” I said. “What about O’Brien’s trial?”

“We should live so long as to see its outcome,” Freddy said.

“Whoever gets to judge the case against O’Brien is going to have his or her hands full.

“All things considered, there are so many members of the House and Senate up on Beacon Hill expected to be defense witnesses that there’s going to be a parade of them in and out of the State House for nobody can predict how long.”

“And the outcome?” I asked.

“It’s going to be so long in the making, the young should live so long to find out,” Freddy said.

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Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and retired executive editor of The Daily News.