The Corner

A President Meets the Press

Many years ago, there was a famous book called “Listening to Prozac.” Today on the homepage, I begin a two-part series called “Listening to Putin.” The first installment is here.

In Moscow, Vladimir Putin gives a year-end press conference. His latest was December 23. A few of his remarks made the international news — as when he opined that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party needed to learn how to lose an election with dignity.

Donald Trump tweeted his agreement with Putin. “So true!” he said.

A pretty rich statement coming from the likes of Putin. In any event, he had a lot more to say at that press conference, and, in this series, I am highlighting some of it. Deeds are more important than words, of course. But you can learn a lot from what someone says — if only you will listen.

I have a memory from the 1980s. Mikhail Gorbachev had written a book, which everyone had read about but which few had read. I can see Jeane Kirkpatrick at a podium, holding up that book. “Have you read this book? I have. It is a very interesting book.”

Putin is an interesting cat, and a capable one. I have listened to him, through the exercise of reading a transcript of his press conference, in English translation. A worthwhile exercise. See what you think.