Another diverting move

If you, like me, are looking for something completely different today, you may want to check out the second installment of Bill Kristol’s conversation with former world chess champion and human rights activist Garry Kasaparov (video below, first installment here). In Bill’s second conversation with Kasparov, Kasparov reflects on Russia and the United States since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The conversation runs some 80 minutes; it is broken into four chapters here. It should be noted that Kasparov is the author of the new book Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, to which he makes several references in the course of the conversation.

Quotable quote: “I was always annoyed hearing that ‘Putin plays chess, and leaders of the free world play checkers.’ Chess is not a game for dictators…Chess is very much a strategic game, so you have to think long-term. Dictators don’t think long-term. Dictators, especially those who are in power for as long as Putin has been, work on survival mode. It’s all about today, maybe tomorrow morning…The game that defines dictators much better is poker. It’s about bluffs! It doesn’t matter whether you have a strong hand or weak hand. You can have a weak hand but if you’re comfortable bluffing, raising stakes, and if you can read your opponent…I have to give [Putin] credit. He’s quite a shrewd KGB guy who can read his opponent. He proved it many times dealing with George W. Bush 43, that he could find a way of building communication and getting what he wanted. And playing poker means that you have to read your opponent. Today Putin knows that no matter what kind of hand he has, the opposition, whether it’s Obama or European leaders, will fold their cards. Syria, the classic example, the moment of Obama’s infamous red line, what did Putin have? A pair of 5s. But he acted as if he had a royal flush. Obama went in with a full house and just folded the cards.”


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