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Kasparov in NY Times

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Though a long-time contributing editor to the Wall St. Journal, Garry Kasparov has regularly branched out in the op-ed world. In the past few week's he's had articles in the Financial Times and now, the liberal bastion that is the New York Times op-ed page. Ironic for someone as basically conservative as Garry, but the topic isn't US domestic policy and it won't surprise. Kasparov goes after the Bush administration and European leaders for largely ignoring Russia's "slide into dictatorship" under Putin. The timing is not an accident either. The G7 meeting takes place in St. Petersburg in a few days and Kasparov and opposition groups have organized a sort of counter-summit in Moscow that begins tomorrow.

Just days ago, dozens of activists en route to Moscow to attend the conference were arrested, some beaten. Possession of opposition literature is being defined as an attempt to "overthrow constitutional order." Will the Western delegations sit silently? Will the American president say nothing?

Perhaps silence is the best option if the most Mr. Bush has to offer are weak expressions of concern and remarks about his personal relationship with Mr. Putin. President Ronald Reagan's hard public line on the Soviet Union let us know that someone out there was aware of our predicament and was fighting for us. Now this American president seems to be saying that Iraqis and Afghans are deserving of democracy, but Russians are not.

The darkest days of Communist rule are now a generation behind us. Between the end of the Communist dictatorship and the crackdown under President Putin, there was a period of freedom. It was brief and it was flawed, but it could have served as a foundation for a democratic Russia. Since 2000, however, Mr. Putin has done everything possible to dismantle that fragile edifice. In dealing with Russia, please don't confuse what's good for the Putin regime with what's best for the Russian people.

These editorials and the conference will see Kasparov's national and international profile as a politician continue to rise. Unsurprisingly, this is easier done outside of Russia, where opposition members are basically ignored by television, which is state controlled. The NY Times piece has already resulted in a burst of international media contact.

I'll make a desperate run for on-topic by suggesting that the more penetration Kasparov has in politics, the less likely it is he'll return to chess. On the other hand, I bet if he came out with an annotated collection of his online blitz games in 2010 it would outsell most chess books by a wide margin!


"a desperate run for on-topic"

That's good!
Posted by: Archr at July 10, 2006 16:55

I'm not surprised that GK's column criticizing Bush's policies towards Russia were not published in the Wall Street Journal, his usual venue. This week, two op-eds detailing the Bush administration's tactics in influencing current news coverage of their actions were published in the NY Times (Frank Rich) and the New Yorker (David Remnick). Rich fingers the Wall Street Journal's op-ed section function as a propaganda arm for Bush. Remnick also covers the chilling similarities of the demonization of current press coverage of the Swift financial surveillance to Nixon's objections to the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. BTW, the Pentagon Papers were published and the republic did not fall.
Posted by: Quixote at July 10, 2006 16:59

I often discuss with my Russian friends about Russian democracy and life and they have nothing really to say against Mr. Putin. Some of them frankly like him for his strong stand against global terrorism today. I personally think it is unfair for Mr. Kasparov to compare him with former Iraqi and Afghan leaders. Iraq and Afghanistan were helpless and dying without hope and they needed external help. I don't think it is the same case with Russia. Already we are trying to resolve tensions with Iraq, Afghan, N. Korea and Iran. In Russia's case, I don't think we have anything to do there. I understand there is no full democracy there, but atleast life is better than most of these countries.
Posted by: Ryan at July 10, 2006 17:27

Just cause your russian friends think so doesnt make it true. Where is your opinion or you simply dont have one? Kasparov is right about Putin, he is a dictator who has seized more and more power as his reign continues and has viciously cracked down on opposition. His party controlled the entire Duma(parlament) and young neo-nazi youth groups get his support and financial backing. All TV channles were seized by the goverment under the pretext of fighting with "bad" oligarchs. Many other small parties obnly serve as puppeps who will not voice their opinion but will rather do Putin's dirty work by making threatening statements to his opposition, case in point mr Zhirinovsky whom I had the "pleasure" of meeting personally.
Posted by: ilya at July 10, 2006 17:37

As one who loves chess, I am very proud that Garry Kasparov, the "leader of the chess world", is spearheading the fight to bring democracy back to Russia.

If you don't know anything about life under Putin, just remember that it was Putin who backed (with bribe money) the re-election of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to the FIDE presidency.

Look at Kirsan, and then you can understand why we should all be supporting Garry. We should tell all our friends living in Russia that they should also support him.
Posted by: Susan Grumer at July 10, 2006 17:58

The US has a history of quashing democracies and supporting totalitarian dictatorships - the cases of Latin America come to mind. And I'm not well versed in the history of Afghanistan, but the US was content with the Taliban until they refused to hand over Bin Laden to the United States (they did offer to hand over Bin Laden to a neutral third party). In any case after the Muhajdeen (can't spell) liberated Afghanistan from the Soviets did the US play a part in making sure Afghanistan had a democracy or did they leave the warlords to battle it out?
Posted by: superfreaky at July 10, 2006 18:22

Of course, Garry spent years criticizing another dictator, only to end up linking arms and singing "kum-bye-yah" with him. I never precisely understood how that happened, but can only hope it was a one-time mistake.
Posted by: jonas at July 10, 2006 18:47

"the liberal bastion that is the New York Times..." a fair statement, but my definition would have been much more scatological.

Garry will never return to chess. With all his great accomplishments, why should he? Plus he wouldn't want to make the same mistake with his legacy as Fischer did in 92.
Posted by: chesstraveler at July 10, 2006 19:31

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." (Kasparov in the NY Times article quoting Churchill.)

Employing this reasoning, wouldn't Kasparov be the LAST person you'd choose for ANY leadership role? What was Kasparov's beautiful strategy for the chess world. What were the results?
Posted by: greg koster at July 10, 2006 20:11

Yeah, the NYT is both Jewish liberal and Jewish neocon. Let's not let self-contradiction get in the way of a good ad-hominem.
Posted by: macuga at July 10, 2006 21:39

"Let's be honest here: the Jewish neocons have decided that Putin is an enemy, and confederate, Jewish-owned papers like NYT, WSJ, and FT deliberately give Kasparov (who is both anti-Putin and half-Jewish) a platform."

I think der Strudel has missed the point that the Wall Street Journal would not print a column criticizing Bush. That's why it appeared in the NY Times instead.
Posted by: Quixote at July 11, 2006 00:26

GK sez (unfortunately Greg Koster, not Gary Kasparov - just realised the irony..)
"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." (Kasparov in the NY Times article quoting Churchill.)

Employing this reasoning, wouldn't Kasparov be the LAST person you'd choose for ANY leadership role? What was Kasparov's beautiful strategy for the chess world. What were the results?"

Yes we know, dont say it, Kramnik for World President.

Kasparov would be a strong contender for any leadership role, given his demonstrated ability to carry to fruition strategic plans in the most complicated game known to man, better than any other person in the history of the world. He never pretended to offer a "beautiful strategy" for the Chess world, he was looking after numero uno at the time. Just like oh, most everybody in the world.
Posted by: d at July 11, 2006 03:52


Someone who devotes his life to examining chess positions; overseeing his aides and a bank of computers will not acquire the leadership training of someone who devotes his life to managing personal relations: a school-teacher, a lawyer, a county sheriff.

Where are you more likely to find better leaders: at Linares or at a random business conference? at the local chess club or the local courthouse?

If chess talent translates to leadership ability then we might expect Magnus, Radjabov, and Karajkin and the six-year-old Sammy Reshevsky to be leaders.

Look over the fourteen classical world champions, the rosters of great players past and present, how many great leaders do you find?

Every individual tries to look out for his own interest. The more attractive and successful individuals and leaders tend to associate their personal interests with that of the groups to which they belong. Kasparov has done well from chess. Many of the groups with whom he's been associated have not.
Posted by: greg koster at July 11, 2006 07:30

"Kasparov would be a strong contender for any leadership role, given his demonstrated ability to carry to fruition strategic plans in the most complicated game known to man, better than any other person in the history of the world."

By the same measure, Bobby Fischer would be a strong contender for world presidency...
Posted by: Alkelele at July 11, 2006 07:36

i just wrote a long reply and lost everything because the browser acted weird. I cant be bothered to rewrite everything.
Posted by: d at July 11, 2006 08:15

Oh give me a break, d. The statement chess is not the most complicated game known to man, is one of the stupidest that I have ever heard. For starters, both go and shogi require much more skill.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamurz at July 11, 2006 09:48

Also, is it just some coincidence that groups like KasparovChess just collapsed for no reason, while Kasparov made a huge profit? That was definitely a great display of leadership skills!

Another example of Kasparov's leadership skills also resulted in the rupturing of Fide and the whole 2 world champions mess that we have now.

Lastly, I have not known of any "successful" (this is subjective) politicians who did not go to college and obtain a solid education.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 11, 2006 10:04

I'm not sure why people want to make Kasparov into a congressman from Indiana or some other form of American or Western European parliamentarian. He's trying to rally national resistance and international attention to the ongoing death of democracy in Russia. He's not aspiring to write farm subsidy legislation or overhaul the tax code. He is using his voice, connections, and undeniable charisma and ability to attract attention. These things worked for both good and ill in his various adventures in the chess world. Saying that because he didn't turn the chess world into paradise he can't contribute meanfully in his current role is ridiculous, if only because it has already been proven false.

I wonder what Arnold Schwarzenegger's college education contributed to his victory in the US's largest state.

KasparovChess Online collapsed for many reasons and I'm intimately acquainted with every single one of them. I also know that Garry didn't make a profit, huge or otherwise. Its collapse was a mundane example of what happens when the people with the money disagree with the people with the mission and the knowledge. There were thousands of such cases during the dot-com meltdown that also swallowed KasparovChess. If it's Kasparov's fault for not predicting the rapid paradigm shift that popped the dot-com bubble he's in very good company. As it stands, with the benefit of hindsight he understood the problem before the supposedly savvy guys with the money. It was already too late, mind.
Posted by: Mig at July 11, 2006 10:36

There's nothing to worry about, boys: Kaspy is not going anywhere. The greatest player who ever live has failed miserably at everything he tried outside the 64 squares.

Besides, if he couldn't deal with Kirsan, how the hell is he going to deal with Putin?

Posted by: tgg at July 11, 2006 10:46

Yes, just ignore the actual achievements. Just because it's something he's actually done doesn't mean it's something he *could* do.

Insert here old but true platitude about show me someone who has never failed and I'll show you someone who never tried. Nor do I agree that something that has success for a few years and eventually fails should be forever defined as a failure. Things come and go. The PCA paid out millions of dollars to chessplayers, was it a failure? KasparovChess Online brought the game and enjoyment to millions of people around the world, was it a failure? Is someone who never did anything but play chess more of a success than Kasparov? It is not so simple.
Posted by: Mig at July 11, 2006 11:00

I did NOT ignore Kaspy's achievements. In fact, I put them in a single sentence: "the greatest player who ever lived". That says it all.

On the other hand, we can't ignore that everything Kaspy has tried his hand at, away from the chessboard, has failed. And yes, KasparovOnline was a failure, because it could not meet its business goals. Having provided fun for "millions" (yeah, sure...)is something anyone can do if there enough money to waste. A real achievement WOULD HAVE BEEN to provide fun for "millions" (perhaps "millions" of hits = thousands of visitors?) while remaining financially viable. As it turns out, it was just one more ill-conceived internet-based enterprise.

As for the PCA paying millions of dollars to chessplayers, it should be pointed out that most of this money went into Kaspy's pockets and he ultimately alienated corporate sponsors with his dishonest/crass behaviour (IBM cheated????). And yes, the PCA also failed miserably.

And yes, Kaspy has tried, but he has never failed to fail :-)

Not a crime. He has as much right as anyone else to try his hand at whatever he wants; but we can't ignore the truth: the man is the best at chess-related matters; for everything else, his rating remains a solid USCF 1824...
Posted by: tgg at July 11, 2006 11:48

Why are you just making all this crap up? Yes, MILLIONS. Unique visitors. I was there. Hardly an epic number for such a large and well-funded site. Yes, it eventually failed, but it did a lot of good in the chess world. Would we have somehow been better off without it?

Most of the PCA money did not go into Kasparov's pockets. And what he did earn was won at the board. (As if player-organizers should be criticized for winning. Perhaps Topalov shouldn't be allowed to win prizes at the MTel.) Ask the many players who profited and the many fans who enjoyed the events sponsored by the PCA if it would be better had it never existed. Trying to make something in the economically challenged world of chess is going to have a failure rate even higher than the usual very high rate for new ventures. That doesn't mean no one should try, or that good can't come.

You may now return to your fact-free bubble.
Posted by: Mig at July 11, 2006 12:03

Hey Mig,

Care to explain why Kasparov cannot travel to Israel? Let's be realistic here; Kasparov has high political aspirations whether we like it or not, but he has no chance of ever being successful due to his background. The day that Russians decide to vote for an Armenian of Jewish descent...unlikely.

I also feel that although Kasparov was a great player, anyone who feels that the US should invade Saudi Arabia is flaming mad. Sure, you can attack an opponent at chess, but there's something called diplomacy in the real world. Although we Americans sure seem quite capable of doing a splendid job at it.

Also, in regards to Mr. Muscleman, we both know that a few too many "I'll be back" phrases will get you some press and a governorship! It's a matter of life that movie stars are famous and receive so much press worldwide. Of course, it's a shame that chess players aren't as popular, but I hardly blame the society. If anything chess players are to blame for this lack of recognition.

In conclusion, I think that Kasparov was a great chess player and did a lot for the game. However, I feel that just because he became a legend at it doesn't mean you can suddenly go into politics and expect to be a big whig. When Michael Jordan quit basketball did he suddenly become a hall of fame baseball player? I think not.

Hikaru Nakamura
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 11, 2006 12:28

Garry can and does travel to Israel. He was there this year! The lawsuit was frivolous and was dismissed. Going after a chairman for a bad loan made to a failed company rarely succeeds. (In NY we actually thought the bank were idiots for giving us that money. It was already clear things were bad and getting worse. But one of the Israeli board members "knew somebody" and did it himself.) They just wanted to make some noise and Garry was the big name. (Literally. The only asset they could conceive of to go after was the use of Kasparov's name and brand.


Kasparov is not running for election. He is an opposition figure and head of an NGO and co-chair of an NGO umbrella group. Along with diplomats you need people charging the barricades. This isn't the US; Putin isn't going to listen to polite conversation or petitions anymore than the USSR did back with Putin was a KGB colonel.

I agree that Garry's lack of, shall we put it, bedside manner would hurt him in a traditional (Western), mature, political role. Calmly building coalitions isn't easy when you are used to being the center of attention and getting your own way. That said, he's learning. He understands that it's easy for many to discard him as a neophyte and "just a chessplayer" and has been happy to have experienced figures like Lyudmila Alekseeva take top billing in many areas. But the NY Times doesn't publish her op-eds. She's "only" the head of the Helsinki Group in Moscow, the human rights organization with the longest tenure there. Garry's "terminator" credentials help bang the drums in our celebrity-obsessed culture. He's still very young. By the time there is a chance for him to run for an office perhaps he'll be ready and will have developed the skills to run and to govern.

One small thing impressed me with the NY Times editors. Most places want to add "Former world chess champion" or something similar to Garry's bio line. E.g. the Financial Times added it without even asking us last month. But the NY Times not only didn't add it, but removed it from a draft version. Says something.
Posted by: Mig at July 11, 2006 12:45


I'm glad you admit that Kaspy DID fail (for whatever reasons you cite, or the real reasons).

That's all I said: that he has failed at everything he did outside the 64 squares. I'm glad you agree with me on that one, because that exactly the point I was trying to make.

Let's face it: Kaspy is not prepared (academically or intellectually) for the tasks he undertakes away from the chessboard. That's why he fails...
Posted by: tgg at July 11, 2006 12:49

Hey Mig,

Thanks for clarifying the part about Israel. I was not aware that the whole lawsuit issue had been settled. Mig, I know that Kasparov isn't running for election right now, but people always have their motives, and if you want to tell me that Kasparov is just "helping" an opposition group...ok. However, I strongly feel that Kasparov is going to try to run for office sooner or later.

Btw, I totally agree with tgg. He is right on the money with what he says.

Hikaru Nakamura
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 11, 2006 13:00

My point is that your definition of failure serves your need to be insulting and not the facts. Making things up and calling me a liar doesn't help your case. That the PCA and KC eventually disappeared is not the only measure of their worth. Extrapolating this already dubious argument into saying Kasparov will fail at everything is silly. He has already been a success at helping build the Russian pro-democracy forces. But according to your logic, should they not manage 100% victory it will be a failure. This is false. Unlike chess, there are more than three possible results and more shades between black and white.

Then there is the separate issue of putting everything on Kasparov individually. Of course he is the central figure and deserves credit and blame as such. But it is childishly simplistic to say KCO was "his failure" as if it all lived and died with his personal decisions and abilities.

I also object to the other argument that seems to be popular, that if he had known better he would have done nothing. There was a small chance that the PCA would succeed. A small chance that KCO would succeed (as a business). He risked it. Poor decisions perhaps, but assumed risk from a career risk-taker. He invested massive amounts of time, energy, and money into these and other projects. Summarizing it all as failure is trite at best.
Posted by: Mig at July 11, 2006 13:09

Dear Mig

Just a small point, but with Russia included, it is now the G8 Summit not the G7!

Best regards

Posted by: Nigel Freeman at July 11, 2006 13:40

I didn't call you a liar. I just highlighted the fact that your claims are not valid, just like you claim mine are not valid either.


Kasparov has failed at everything he has tried. He is just not prepared, period.

Now, you use the very dubious argument that because it existed for some time (like 1 or 2 years), it was a success...for some time (like 1 or 2 years)...therefore...it was not a failure...

(*** Michel Jordan went 2 for 3 - a .666 batting average - for 1 game, so he was successful as a baseball player, too ****)

That's not a position most reasonable people will agree with, to say the least.

You said it better than me:

"He invested massive amounts of time, energy and money" into an enterprise that had a "small chance" of succeeding, which was a series "poor decisions"...

Your own words, Mig, describe the essence of Kasparov away from the board: a very driven individual with very poor judgement and little preparation for the tasks he undertakes.

Perhaps you are too close to the man to see it the way most people will see it. Your loyalty is admirable, but the facts are not on your side.

In any case, where are Kaspy's achievements away from the chessboard?

He has been "a success at helping build the Russian pro-democracy forces"? He's just a minor voice, a minor player trying to contribute to a cause he likes (the anti-Putin movement, something that has very little to do with real democracy). The only thing he has to show for this, his latest "investment" is the short video footage of a teenager smacking him on the head with a chessboard... I wouldn't call that success, but you are allowed to disagree, of course.
Posted by: tgg at July 11, 2006 13:44

If the NYT and WSJ are printing your words you are not a failure.
In politics GK is maybe only an IM but that's not to bad.
The powers againsts him are enormous.
If I were him, I would screw the peoples freedom go to Putin and ask to be special embassidor to Jamaca or the Bahamas.
The masses of weak and poor are so because the allow the very few to be rich. The don't need help they need a brain
Posted by: Bobby Blake at July 11, 2006 14:17

I thought KasparovChess.com was a very interesting project, but I felt that it expanded too quickly and took on too many ambitious projects.

As one who spends a lot of time managing a chess website, I thought highly of the efforts in presenting chess news to the public-at-large. It was a site I relied on for breaking chess news. However, it then offered subscriptions and then playing options, then other things... too much change.

I was impressed that the site was one of the very few to provide chess coverage from the African continent (Mark Rubery's reports). That was how I first learned of Zambian star, Amon Simutowe.

Despite the demise of the site, other sites have moved in to fill the void although the chess journalism world is still very small. Certainly we are better off in KasparovChess.com having existed.
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at July 11, 2006 15:01

Kaspy Haters -

If Garry is such a miserable failure at what he does, why is it that he's a millionare? Do the 'powers that be' simply hand out cash to idiots? I suppose you guys say the same thing about Bush, so why not with Garry.

Seriously, the man is not perfect. But let's face the reality, he's done a lot more for various causes/issues/ventures (chess promotion, chess in schools, fantastic editorials in the WSJ, IBM and Intel events, PCA for better or worse, KasparovChess (what a great site... I miss Sergey Shipov's articles) than the average person could ever dream of.

I had a chance to meet Garry at a luncheon in Chicago this year. Basically it confirmed what I believed originally. That he is a driven leader, who is not discouraged when things go bad. He adapts (much like his chess game), and goes at the next venture with more vigor than before. I for one am impressed by his diligence.
Posted by: Mike Parsons at July 11, 2006 15:07

Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery divided men along two axes: intelligent/unintelligent; energetic/lazy. He said:

The intelligent and lazy have perspective, don't get ruffled, and are suited for top command.

The intelligent and energetic get good things done and are suited for high staff positions.

The unintelligent and lazy can be useful as there are always ditches to be dug.

But the unintelligent and energetic are dangerous--watch out for them.
Posted by: greg koster at July 11, 2006 15:23

Kasparov's 'alternative summit' is getting some press in England. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/11/wkasp11.xml
Posted by: KingG at July 11, 2006 18:07

I applaud Garry for his commitment to Russia but I sure miss his chess...

Educational Awareness Moment for Hikaru Nakamura; here are some US Presidents who did not attend college (OK, I didn't know this either until I looked it up on the 'net...), but they were pretty successful politicians. And each was known for abject failures before they got the reputation as being successful.

1. George Washington
2. Andrew Jackson
3. Zachary Taylor
4. Abraham Lincoln
5. Harry S Truman

Oh, and by the way, Kasparov did attend college and got a solid education.

Yeah, so there... ; )
Posted by: noyb at July 11, 2006 19:26


Four years ago the solidly educated gentleman advising Putin, Bush, and the G7 was writing:

Posted by: greg koster at July 11, 2006 20:14

Hey, Greg

At least give Kaspy some credit for having the balls to write such imbecility under his real name...

Posted by: tgg at July 11, 2006 21:26

What does he write in that link, when I type it in, it tells me the article no longer exists?

By the way Garry gaduated school with a gold medal a very high honor, and graduated from university with a degree in languages.
Posted by: deathstar9 at July 11, 2006 23:32

I certainly think that Kasparov.com and PCA had some successes and should not simply be dismissed as abject failures. Mig is right in this. I attended several PCA events and they were well attended and very exciting. I assume the participants also made some money. I enjoyed going to Kasparov.com quite often, almost daily at times. I am not sure why tgg is so vehemently attacking this issue.

Anyhow, I don't view what Kasparov is doing as taking on the role of a politician. I see him as trying to help a fledgling opposition movement that is in desparate straits in Russia. Diplomacy is nice (hey, it is my career!) but there are times when it is simply not working and Russia is such a case. They need a grassroots movement to change things in Russia, so having a big name like Kasparov on their side is a very good thing. I prefer him in the chess arena, but I also believe in following ones passions in life, so more power to him I say.
Posted by: knight_tour at July 11, 2006 23:36


Everyone says that Kasparov graduated from college, but when I go onto wikipedia or other similar sites, I see no mention of him having attended college. I'm sure he did, but could someone please tell me the name of the school? Perhaps Mig would know?

And noyb, I would like you to read the book "Truman" by McCulough before you put Truman in the category of "abject failures; I know I've read that book, have you? Also, noyb, you cannot put Washington in the same category either as, I believe, there were only 5 colleges in existence at the time when Washington would have gone. Another key point is that all of these men (with the exception of Truman) who became successful were pre-20th century.

knight_tour, maybe you are right on Kasparov in terms of him being a politician, but only time will tell. I personally think that Kasparov intends to run for office, but once again, this debate is fruitless because some time will have to pass before either one of us is proven right or wrong. Lastly, although Kasparov is a big name in certain circles, he is hardly a big name when it comes to the world, as net worth tends to dictate whether you are special or not. I remember just two weeks ago when I was on a flight, I heard a woman lawyer referring to her 30 million trust fund; money and name are all relative. So Kasparov is both a prominent person and, at the same time, just a small fish in a big pond.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 12, 2006 00:13

Hey Hikaru:

Go to College, preferably UTD. Play chess on the side .

Best wishes,
Posted by: peach at July 12, 2006 00:31


Kasparov graduated from Institute of Foreign Languages in Baku, Azerbaijan. Here is one link with Kasparov's biography that mentions that: http://dabaru.com/htm/Greats_Kasparov.htm
Posted by: Eugene Rozenfeld at July 12, 2006 03:06

Kasparov must be taken seriously because of his backers and potential backers. As I've mentioned, the neocons are backing candidates who might take down Putin & co, and even a "solid 1824 USCF" player can do it with that kind of backing.
Posted by: Der Strudel at July 12, 2006 03:46

"For starters, both go and shogi require much more skill." -- Hikaru Nakamura

Not surprising that Hikaru would find chess easier, but i can't imagine how a game can be more complicated than chess..

But it is refreshing too see a GM (Nakamura) take a stand openly and post comments here, i've become his fan just for that... but i hope Gary becomes the prez coz he has never visited India as a chessplayer! so maybe as the president of Russia he will give a simul display in New Delhi..

wonder if Gary reads this blog? if he were still playing, all the active players would have thought twice before saying a word against him....... you know what happens to them.. they get 'ironed' :)

education breeds mediocrity and it is essential only for the common people.... Albert Einstein and Ramanujan (go watch Good Will Hunting) both flunked exams..

ok, i admit- one was a physicist, the other was a mathematician and..... chess is a science (?). so the big question: "IS POLITICS A SCIENCE?". They do teach 'Political Science' in college...
Posted by: stringTheory at July 12, 2006 04:14

Surely nobody believes that Kasparov, any more than Karpov or Spassky, got a 'solid education' at college level whether in languages or journalism or psychology or in whatever else they pretended to major.

And a 'gold medal' from high school... Sure a top player in Soviet times is going to get a failing transcript from a good patriotic school.

We also all believe that Magnus Carlson does a full load of high school work, and that Aronian never studies, and that Jon Jacobs is wise and wonderful.
Posted by: gg at July 12, 2006 08:24

I don't know about Carlsen, but I know for a fact Luke McShane did a full amount of schoolwork, or at any rate enough to get him a place at the top university in the UK. I know Luke was only 2500 when he was 16/17, but still.
Posted by: rdh at July 12, 2006 08:57

For the record, I have a B.A. from Harvard and a Master's from Berkeley. But it's odd to see my name mentioned in the same sentence with Carlsen (whose name gg misspelled) and Aronian, since my chess level doesn't even compare with Bartholomew or Robby Adamson. Leave it to gg to find creative ways to get in a dig at someone who showed him up repeatedly on other Dirt threads.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at July 12, 2006 10:33

Sorry deathstar9,

Mathematics of the Past Kasparov

and you'll find links to the article.
Posted by: greg koster at July 12, 2006 10:46

d made an absurd statement.Look at this man's arrogance.If I go according to your reasoning, Moro will be most likely in your dream list to become deputy President in Russia. Most Chess players cannot give a good interview properly. The reality is, life is somewhat different than playing Chess. The saying "As in chess, so in life" holds true for only few things. Don't try to understand everything about life from Chess. You will loose. Admire Chess players for their chess. You are trying to mean: superior chess knowledge = great leaders? You just have to look back at great Chess players. Read about 3 greatest American chess players Morphy, Pillsbury and Fischer. Don't make a mistake that if some one can understand Chess positions well does not mean he can be a great leader. If that is true, then Fischer can be a far great leader than your and blogmeister's beloved Mr. Kasparov.

Now coming back to Mr. Kasparov, it is hard to know what this anti-Putin movement real ambitions are. When you look back at the recent FIDE elections, Mr. Kasparov did not even fully support the Right move candidate. What are his principles, his beliefs? What does he truly stand for? To the public they are still hidden. From WSJ to NYT, once again this man is capable of embracing any thing to accomplish his ambitions.
Posted by: Ryan at July 12, 2006 12:37

d made an absurd statement.Look at this man's arrogance.If I go according to your reasoning, Moro will be most likely in your dream list to become deputy President in Russia. Most Chess players cannot give a good interview properly. The reality is, life is somewhat different than playing Chess. The saying "As in chess, so in life" holds true for only few things. Don't try to understand everything about life from Chess. You will loose. Admire Chess players for their chess. You are trying to mean: superior chess knowledge = great leaders? You just have to look back at great Chess players. Read about 3 greatest American chess players Morphy, Pillsbury and Fischer. Don't make a mistake that if some one can understand Chess positions well does not mean he can be a great leader. If that is true, then Fischer can be a far great leader than your and blogmeister's beloved Mr. Kasparov.

Now coming back to Mr. Kasparov, it is hard to know what this anti-Putin movement real ambitions are. When you look back at the recent FIDE elections, Mr. Kasparov did not even fully support the Right move candidate. What are his principles, his beliefs? What does he truly stand for? To the public they are still hidden. From WSJ to NYT, once again this man is capable of embracing any thing to accomplish his ambitions.
Posted by: Ryan at July 12, 2006 12:38

I am sick of the attitued (a very European one) that if you are ambitious, that somehow that is arrogance. In America, we work hard and find success. Kasparov has taken this same approach and used it successfully. Just because YOU dont have the same fortitude, does not make HIM arrogant.
Posted by: Michael Parsons at July 12, 2006 12:50

Mr. Parsons, I was referring to "d". Please read his post before commenting. Thanks.
Posted by: Ryan at July 12, 2006 13:02

Blimey! Nice xenophobia, Mr Parsons.

I thought Gazza came out pretty much in support of the Right Move, did he not? Surely there was an open letter from him backing them circulated at the Olympiad, no?
Posted by: rdh at July 12, 2006 13:11

Oh, it is true, Jon Jacobs has squished all who ever posted under the name 'gg'.

He is also a Harvard man who bullies the poor:

"a tollbooth attendant in Pennsylvania was rude in fielding my request for directions to a certain highway. (I pulled over after the tollboth, went into the office alongside, and filled out a complaint form about the man's behavior.)"

A successful investment company hack.

A non-lawyer with many legal opinions.

A weak play with an instinct for knowing who 'hates' chess.

Jon, are you ever puzzled that women seem to prefer the company of other guys? That other guys don't laugh much at your jokes? ..
Posted by: gg at July 12, 2006 14:54

HN wrote: "For starters, both go and shogi require much more skill."

What a dumb statement. The skill requirement is not a function of the game, but of the people playing the game.
Posted by: zakki at July 12, 2006 18:03

Yes, I agree with zakki. You can't tell how complicated a game is until you know how to play it perfectly, really. Presumably Gazza and the top go experts put in roughly the same amount of study and talent. Unless we know which one is further from playing their game perfectly, we can't really say which game was more difficult, surely.
Posted by: rdh at July 12, 2006 18:39

Zakki, I find it laughable that you even pretend to have any idea of how much effort one puts into a game. If you were a 2400 chessplayer, maybe you'd have a slight inkling of how much work goes into chess. Till then, Zakki, stop being such an idiot. Don't even pretend that you know something about chess.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 12, 2006 22:25

HN, you seem to be addressing something I did not write.
Posted by: Zakki at July 12, 2006 22:47

Interesting comparisons...

Maybe we ought to summon IM Larry Kaufman to give his opinion on shogi & chess. I interviewed Yoshiru Habu at the World Open, but I refrained from asking the question of which is more difficult. It's not a proper question to ask the World Champion of shogi. I did ask him whether chess helped him in his shogi and he said initially he thought he could gain some insight, but eventually he learned that they are two totally different types of chess. Habu likened shogi to chess variant "crazyhouse" where you put captured chess pieces back on the board.

I remember reading in Chess Life a story on Larry Kaufman who said shogi helped him with his attacking in chess. Shogi is highly tactical and usually ends in fast mating attacks. I find that capturing pieces and putting them back on the board is an added dimension that increases the difficulty of the game. That doesn't mean chess is not difficult. Perhaps the two board sports should stand alone.

Go is a fascinating sport and from my limited observation, gaps in skill are more apparent. Unlike chess, a go master can take a totally losing position (like being a rook down with no compensation) and turn it around against a player of average skill. I remember a go master who would switch sides and adopt the losing position of his opponent... he'd then turn the tables.

Interesting board sports!
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at July 12, 2006 23:09

Hey, Zakki, you are right about that. My apologies, those comments were directed towards rdh.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 13, 2006 00:17

We are not allowed to pretend to know anything about chess unless we are over 2400?? Sorry Hikaru, I really admire you as a chess player and I always root for you, but I don't like the tone of the above posting at all.
Posted by: knight_tour at July 13, 2006 02:18

Have a feeling that Mr Nakamura should show more respect for someone who has far surpassed his own achievements (Kasparov) if he is going to be so snooty about the rights of others to hold opinions about chess. The only place anybody cares about what HN thinks is on a chess thread. Kasparov's influence is wider. And just because somebody is a GM does not mean they have any worthwhile opinions about anything.
Posted by: David at July 13, 2006 04:47

David, HN never showed disrespect to GK as a chess player. HM is a GM and this does not mean that he has worthwhile opinion, but I think he is correct for a lot of things.
Posted by: SS at July 13, 2006 07:28


In this thread America's top young GM

--makes the self-humbling admission-against-interest that Shogi and Go require more skill than Chess,

--apologizes for a slightly over-the-top post,

--doesn't appear to argue that his chess skill gives him special insights outside the chessboard,

--and joins the blog battle with the common folk.

What's the problem?
Posted by: greg koster at July 13, 2006 08:07

In reply to Hikaru Nakamura:

As it happens I am a 2400 chessplayer. But that doesn't affect your basic point: you are right that I have no real idea how much effort or preparation goes into games by 2700+ players or into reaching that level in the first place, and no idea at all of the equivalent amount of effort that goes into a game by a top go or shogi player. However, if you read my post you will see that I didn't claim to: instead I said that I assumed it was about equal. If you tell me that's wrong and back it up then I would be interested, but from what I've seen the likes of Kasparov and Karpov in his day worked pretty hard on their games.

We are discussing whether go or shogi are more complicated than chess. What exactly that would mean is a bit slippery, but it's surely got something to do with how hard it is for humanity to achieve perfection at each of those games. Surely you'd agree that until we know what perfection is at each of them it's impossible actually to say which was the most complicated? I have the idea that we may mean different things by 'complicated' or be applying different tests, because the above point seems incontestable to me.

I like your style by the way: I too am seldom afraid to call those who post drivel on internet forums idiots, although being on the receiving end is a novel (and not disagreeable) experience.
Posted by: rdh at July 13, 2006 08:22

The problem is that I read "tgg" say "Kasparov is not prepared, intellectually or academically,for the tasks he undertakes away from the chessboard, that is why he fails". HK then said "I totally agree". I find this puzzling. I didn't feel the comment about needing to be 2400 was appropriately addressed to rdh, either. Saying that Shogi is more complex than chess is hardly an admission against interest. And why shouldn't he join in any discussion with anyone? Thanks
Posted by: David at July 13, 2006 08:23

Certainly these type of fora are rife with misunderstandings based on assumptions. However, Hikaru posting messages here and playing mere mortals on the ICC weighs more heavily in my mind than what most GMs are willing to offer.

Most GMs are so aloof and distant that it is hard to know what they think. How many GMs post on this very active chess blog? Grandmasters have almost NO interaction with average fans. Hikaru is a breath of fresh air.

Maybe we should ask Hikaru why he believes shogi and go are more complicated than chess. I'm sure he'd have some interesting insights.
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at July 13, 2006 10:59

A more complicated game isn't necessarily a better game. Most chess variants are more complicated but less popular than chess itself.

These days I wonder if Go isn't a "better" game than chess. Can lower-rated hyper-cautious Go masters routinely achieve draws against their higher-rated opponents? Are do 80% of top-level Go games end in draws?

Posted by: greg koster at July 13, 2006 11:40

Can go end in a draw? I thought it was determined by which side controls more of a 19x19 board when the fat lady sings, hence a draw is impossible.

All the best games can end in a draw, mind. Look at football. (soccerball to some viewers)
Posted by: rdh at July 13, 2006 11:46

Hey everyone! Here's a little chart I decided to take off of Wikipedia.

rating probability
difference of winning
---------- -----------
400 .919
300 .853
200 .758
100 .637
50 .569
0 .500
-50 .431
-100 .363
-200 .242
-300 .147
-400 .081

Last I checked, masters 2200's beat 2600's (in chess) more frequently than 0.81% of time.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 13, 2006 12:12


Although go can end in a draw, it rarely happens. I might also add that the reason I find go so much more attractive than chess is the fact that computers do not influence the game. Sure, I could probably get to 2700 at chess if I decided to spend my whole day studying chess and looking at endless variations; the point is that go is based purely on strategy. For this reason, I think go is vastly superior to chess. Computers have no influence over go, and probably never will due to mathematical impossibilities.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 13, 2006 12:15

And for the record, I have much better understanding of go than shogi. To me, shogi appears to be a variation of crazyhouse except for the fact that pawns capture differently, and pieces become promoted when they reach the 3rd rank.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 13, 2006 12:17

You mean 8.1%, presumably? And those figures are expected score of course, not probability of winning (given the draw).

Go definitely does seem to be less penetrable by computers than chess, although I wonder whether this will continue to prove true once the same resources are directed at go programmes as have been to chess computers. But that is not a measure of complexity necessarily; nor is whether or not is a 'better' game. Nor indeed is the much-touted 'levels of complexity' test.

I've heard it said before that go can end in a draw. Can you just explain how, assuming the basic scoring method above is right?
Posted by: rdh at July 13, 2006 12:37

I don't have any comments to make about politics in general or Garry Kasparov's success, political or otherwise. But I did want to make one small comment about the value of a college education, in politics and out.

This is an issue that's significant in my family right now because I've got 3 kids age 16 to 20. So we've done a lot of looking into it recently.

First, it's amusing, of course, that several of the most popular non-entertainment commencement speakers never graduated college, although they may have attended a year or so. That includes Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Michael Dell (of Dell), Paul Allen (of Microsoft, AOL, and Ticketmaster), Kirk Kerkorian, Ted Turner (of CNN), Richard Branson, all also never finished college.

Among recent political figures without a college degree are Joschka Fischer (Germany, foreign minister, now a lecturer at Princeton), John Major (British Prime Minister in the 1990s), Jodi Rell (current Governor, Connecticut), Ruth Ann Minner (current Governor, Delaware). In terms of political influence, one would also have to count Karl Rove, Special Assistant to the US President. Then of course there's the question of scholarship vs education. Senator John McCain quite famously finished in the bottom 5% of his class at the US Naval Academy, but he did graduate.

All of which is to say--there are many types of success, and many pathways to each of those types.

College provides one kind of education. Early entrepreneurship another. The military a third. Creative or sports pursuits yet another.

Each of us must answer a series of highly individual questions. What are my gifts? What are my interests? What can I do that is valuable to others? Am I willing to do work I don't like very much in order to earn money to support the interests I prefer? Am I willing to postpone some of my interests in order to concentrate on others? What will be my own measure of success?

There are no right answers to these questions.

And while knowing what college someone attended, or what degree they hold, may tell us a little something more about a person, it is only one small part of a very large picture. In politics or out.

Posted by: Duif at July 13, 2006 16:20

Actually, the only way go can end in a draw is if the two sides agree to one. If two players play the game to the very end, the score will always be decisive, as komi (compensation) is 6.5 meaning that two sides cannot end with the same score.

The main reason that computers cannot become good at go, let alone solve it is because the game is based on a deep strategy; for example, you could win say 1,2, or even 3 stones in go, but still lose the game because the other player was acquiring more space. So there is no set value for a stone, whereas if someone loses a knight,bishop,rook, or queen, they will face a serious deficit. My point: there is no set value of pieces in go.

The other reason that I hold go in higher esteem is because computers have had absolutely zero influence on the game. In chess, I could study endlessly for 10 hours, and essentially solve certain variations in an opening due to a computer engine/program. In go, there is no outside factor influencing the game, and it requires 100% brain, and 0% computer!

Also, rdh, you should realize that based on my reasoning, I find Fischer to have been a better player than Kasparov. Fischer literally studied variations on a board, while Kasparov was able to utilize the power of computers.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at July 13, 2006 16:40

Just a question Hikaru: It sounds a bit like you are loosing your interest in chess? If so I find that a tragedy for chess. I find your play so full of fighting will, creativity and energy, and it is really a joy to watch your games. I had been looking forward to follow you for several years ahead.
Posted by: ChessViking at July 13, 2006 18:24

What I believe in Hikaru's case is that chess is not precisely his passion, it is a way he has found to channel his personality and talent. It is like the question of choosing something as a career just "because I am good on it and it was the first thing I found" or because "I really love it", giving ability slightly less importance.

So, to find other ways is is something that could be encouraged, specially in young people, when there is still plenty of time to look. For someone as talented, the world has no limits and whether only chess constitutes a restriction, is something worthly of enough meditation. In this process, perhaps he shouldn't pay attention to "what the fans think" (at most a small group of friends or people for advise), at the end, it is a very individual matter.

Good luck, in any decisions you make and good luck to all the bright individuals in this forum in their respective fields.
Posted by: Pascual at July 13, 2006 18:49

There are few entrepreneurs or politicians of any note who lack at least a college level of intellectual literacy.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard - getting into Harvard probably exceeds the academic level needed to graduate from an average college.

John Major received a university-level business education in-house from the Standard Bank.

Most of the others listed are certainly college level in abstract thinking/ knowledge.

Its rare for a truly anti-intellectual and crudely stupid person to succeed in business or politics (one who could not have gone to a normal college even if they wanted to).

Its also interesting that some of the "best" "educated" politicians come off sounding like none too bright high school dropouts (fill in any names you wish here).

Also, surprisingly enough, Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is a college graduate "He earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he graduated with degrees in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979" according to Wikipedia.

Posted by: gg at July 14, 2006 03:51

Hikaru's opinion that Fischer was better than Kasparov is of course based on invalid grounds. E.g. the epic battles between Kasparov and Karpov happened at a time when computers were of no use as an analysis tool. ChessBase came in the late eighties and it seems that the computer era started with the Kasparov-Anand match.

Dr X
Posted by: Dr X at July 14, 2006 07:07

And moreover Kasparov's opponents have the computer too, of course. Although to be sure if one was comparing the objective strength of Fischer's and Kasparov's play (not a task most of us are qualified to undertake) and seeing that they were equal, then it would be relevant to say that Kasparov had a computer and Fischer didn't.

Of course what HN says about computers killing chess is a very common view and one it's hard not to sympathise with a bit. Returning to my personal semantic obsession, though, that's a different thing to saying chess is less complicated than go.

I thought one of the main difficulties with go is that, although there are far fewer possible games of go, the number of possible moves at each turn is much greater, and hence so also the computer power needed to go even, say, four ply deep. Although HN is surely right as well that to come up with an algorithm to evaluate a position is tougher.

I think he is optimistic though about the future of go. We oldies remember knowledgeable people saying confidently in the 70's that computers would never crack chess, albeit for slightly different reasons. I suspect that within HN's lifetime, perhaps even in mine, computers will have a significant impact on go.
Posted by: rdh at July 14, 2006 07:40

Further to the earlier thread concerning Kasparov's failures or otherwise outside chess, it has to be seen as a success that he has organised an anti-Putin "summit". (see Chessbase). Many newspapers seem in agreement that this is quite a publicity coup. He who perseveres...
Posted by: David at July 14, 2006 09:25

Further to the earlier thread concerning Kasparov's failures or otherwise outside chess, it has to be seen as a success that he has organised an anti-Putin "summit". (see Chessbase). Many newspapers seem in agreement that this is quite a publicity coup. He who perseveres...
Posted by: David at July 14, 2006 09:25

From Kasparov's NYT piece on the G8 summit:

"Mr. Bush and Europe's leaders apparently believe it is best to disregard such unpleasantness [oppression, corruption] for the sake of receiving Russia's cooperation on security and energy. This cynical and morally repugnant stance has also proven ineffective."

Kasparov's suggestion that Bush is morally obliged to rate Russia's domestic political situation above the security and energy interests of the United States demonstrates a striking ignorance of basic realities of international politics.

Bush did veto Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization; not out of any high-minded notions, but to pressure Russia to lower it's barriers to the import of U.S. beef and pork.
Posted by: greg koster at July 15, 2006 22:30

Again, from Kasparov's NY Times piece:

"A perfect opportunity awaits at this week's meeting of the Group of 7 leaders in St. Petersburg. I say "Group of 7" rather than "Group of 8" because I continue to hope that the West will find its collective backbone and make Russia's participation contingent on its actually being a democracy."

On the Group of Eight's agenda are global responses to counterterrorism, weapons proliferation, energy security, environmental protection, education, healthcare, and the fight against infectious diseases. Who, exactly, would gain by excluding Russia from these discussions?
Posted by: greg koster at July 15, 2006 23:20

Kasparov's approach to Campomanes' FIDE in 1993 reminds one of his current approach to Putin's Russia. The FIDE organization that seemed so corrupt and unfair in 1993 is the same one that most of are are now looking back upon with such overwhelming regret. It wasn't hard knocking Humpty Dumpty off the wall, but Kasparov found that all his horses and men couldn't put chess back together again.

Now Kasparov's setting his sights on a new Humpty Dumpty. Putin's Russia has problems. But does Kasparov grasp the possible repercussions of his democracy-movement political demands? If Kasparov knocks Putin off the wall can he be trusted to put Russia back together again?

"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion," Bush said at the news conference, "and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing."

Putin, in a barbed reply, said: "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly."
Posted by: greg koster at July 16, 2006 00:38

don't you think there is a whiff of hypocrisy floating around here? So America should disregard Russia's fall from democracy because it is in their interest to do so, while they behave as world policemen in the middle East because that is also in their interests? Interference in the affairs of others in the name of supporting justice while accepting another totalitarian regime seems - well - at least far from consistant.
Posted by: David at July 16, 2006 09:43


The U.S. acts out of self-interested motives in Russia and in Iraq. Sounds consistent to me.

Hypocrisy in everyday life deserves criticism. (See the BashKasparov thread.)

But international politics is a street brawl for national survival. If you're telling me there's rules in a street brawl or international politics (must act with moral consistently, must encourage democracy at all times, hypocrisy not allowed,) then don't you also have to tell me who is going to enforce those rules?
Posted by: greg koster at July 16, 2006 12:07


"Realpolitik" is indeed one necessary skill for policy makers and diplomats and a criterion that the public should use when judging their success -- just as you say.

But it isn't the ONLY important skill or criterion, which is what you imply.

The world's greatest leaders are recognized as such because they found ways to infuse principle into their decisions, alongside of (national) self-interest.

That's why you'll see more schools of diplomacy (not to mention hospitals and other institutions) get named after Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi (not to mention our own Woodrow Wilson and FDR), than after leaders of the opposite stripe, like Bismarck or Metternich (one of the latter two coined the term, "Realpolitik", I forget which one) or Stalin.

It's why Americans of both political parties still revere JFK -- he gave us a sense that we were acting on principle, rather than simply throwing our weight around.

So, I think you are wrong to condemn Kasparov for projecting a principled message.

Indeed, Putin himself is entirely capable of doing the same when it suits him (i.e. when the issue isn't Russia's domestic affairs), and he pulls it off quite well. Just yesterday I heard him speak about the now-emerging Middle East war -- right after Bush spoke about the same topic -- and he sounded not only more articulate and convincing than Bush did, but more PRINCIPLED...which made a very positive impression on me.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at July 16, 2006 13:10

More power to Kasparov for saying what he thinks without first checking with a bank of political advisors to see if it is a 'viable' view. Let's have opinionated leaders not puppets. And if the street brawl is something we have to live with then yes, let's press for positive change and human rights, not just when it suits the interests of the US, or when it accords with the current political situation.
Posted by: David at July 16, 2006 14:17

Part of Kasparov's foolishness lies in suggesting that pro-democracy, anti-corruption actions are "principled" while security and energy concerns are not.

In the street brawl of international politics, self-interested survival is the highest principle. (Not, of course, the only principle.) Faced with the choice, "Do you want to live, or do you want to be democractic/honest/consistent?" there is no doubt of the leader's proper answer.

If Kasparov cannot make a strong argument that deposing Putin is in the U.S.'s security and energy interests, etc., then his morality and democracy arguments are wasted breath.

Bismarck properly acted on the principle of putting the interests of Germany first and he welded together the German nation. He'd have been pleased that a great battleship was named after him. His period of pre-eminence is associated with one of the longest stretches of relative peace in modern European history.

In 1917, an American president acting on the principle of national self-interest, would have made the establishment of an enduring balance of power within Europe his Job One. In this critical task Wilson, pre-occupied with his ineffectual advocacy of European democracy, free trade, and self-determination, failed miserably.
Posted by: greg koster at July 16, 2006 14:53

surely Kasparov is not solely interested in what the US thinks. Deposing Putin is not just a question of sending in the U boats. If your argument is that anything contrary to the interests of the US is wasted breath then I am sorry to hear it. In any case, surely a democratic Russia IS in the long-term interests of everybody, not just the Russians. It is not just about Putin.
Posted by: David at July 16, 2006 15:09

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