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‘If Putin Was a Woman . . .’
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for his press conference at the Ashgabat International Airport on June 29, 2022, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for his press conference at the Ashgabat International Airport on June 29, 2022, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)

‘If Putin Was a Woman . . .’

Walter Russell Mead

We live in an age of bad gender punditry, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has contributed to the confusion. Speaking to German media between the Group of Seven and NATO summits late last month, he offered the following wisdom: “If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would have embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has. If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it’s what he is doing in Ukraine.”

One hopes this was the reflexive and insincere pandering of a career politician, because if Mr. Johnson and his G-7 colleagues actually believe this nonsense, the West is in even greater trouble than it appears.

Vladimir Putin isn’t trying to be more like Rambo. Among other heroes of Russian history, he is trying to imitate Catherine the Great. The most successful of a line of 18th-century rulers, mostly female, who expanded the empire of Peter the Great and made Russia the greatest land power in Europe, Catherine conquered the Crimea and western Ukraine. She won naval battles in the Black Sea and ruthlessly suppressed rebellions at home. Having installed a former lover as king of Poland, she gleefully took the lion’s share of that unhappy country while partitioning it three times.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal

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