Hans Christian Anderson and Vladimir Putin

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: August 19, 2008
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Tivoli Gardens’ pleasantries are brightened by the warming sunshine in this western Baltic nation.  It finally stopped raining.  Three flavors of herring and a cold beer will mask geo-political and financial concerns if you allow it to happen. 

Five and a half million Danish citizens live on their four hundred island nation, enjoy the fruits of the European Union (EU), accept their social welfare state and demonstrate their tolerance of people and events.  One wonders if they should think about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales as the parents for whom the poet wrote metaphorically and not just as they were read to children.

I recalled Andersen’s “The Red Shoes” which teaches children the solace and joy one can find in heaven.  The adult version and adaptation ends much differently and in tragedy.  Was Georgia’s leader, Saakashvili, wearing red shoes when he engaged Russia and provided Putin with the pretext for the Russian army to invade Georgia? 

Clearly, there were American advisors present in Georgia.  Did they counsel Saakashvili to act militarily?  If they did, the White House has opened another Pandora’s box.  If Saakashvili acted unilaterally and without the counsel and advice of his American supporters, one must question his motivation.  Concomitantly, one must ponder possible American ineptitude.  Neither option gives comfort.  Unlike some folks here in Denmark at the western end of the Baltic Sea, we believe Putin and company have prepared and staged a division size, armored military incursion which was preceded by a multi-week intensive cyber warfare attack.  We wrote about this several days ago and also commented on CNBC yesterday morning from Copenhagen.  The responses range from full agreement and compliments on a candid assessment to being called names and being threatened. 

I thank readers who emailed constructive criticism and commentary.  To those who reduced their messages to name calling in disagreement with our views, I would call their attention to another Danish personality. 

Kierkegaard’s existentialism would argue that each person has the capacity to create the essential meaning of his or her life and that this is beyond the power of the civil authorities or religious doctrine.  In response one has to ask how existentialist the villager in Georgia feels today when his house has been destroyed by a tank. 

Let’s move to finance.  The CNBC interview (www.CNBC.com) and, subsequent, Yahoo story created a second flurry of email.  Here are some embellishing bullets:

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