Steven Seagal is now in charge of Russia-US relations. Is there anything this man can’t do? | Life and style | The Guardian

clicks | 10 months ago | comments: discuss | tags: cryptocurrency

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I f you want an idea of just how committed Vladimir Putin is to fixing Russia-US ties, consider that he has appointed Steven Seagal as a special diplomatic envoy to the US. Seagal has held Russian citizenship since 2016, but is now elevated to a formal role by President Lulz. As the Under Siege legend put it himself: “I take this honour very seriously.” Hey, someone’s got to. According to Russia’s foreign ministry: “The special representative will perform his duties without any financial remuneration and for the purpose of strengthening direct contacts, mutual understanding and trust between the Russian and American peoples.” Finally, the good kind of “direct contacts” – but go on. “The special representative will be involved in the preservation of memorial sites in the US that are somehow connected with Russia.” Places such as Don Jr’s hard drive, I guess, or Paul Manafort’s garden , where landscaping bills ran over $450,000 (£350,000) for four years. Incidentally, this isn’t even the first time Russia has tried something like this. In 2013, the then deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, suggested Seagal could use his “authority and connections in the American establishment” to broker small-arms deals between Russia and the US. For whatever reason, the Obama state department didn’t bite on that one. How old-fashioned that decision now seems. For a Kenyan , he sure was off the pace. That said, he wasn’t alone. There will be plenty still playing catchup as far as Seagal’s extraordinary career trajectory is concerned – people who missed his appearance at various arms fairs over the past couple of years, or who have never seen him halt a bar fight to inquire rhetorically of his victim: “What does it take to change the essence of a man?” Admittedly, there are times when even I have to wonder quite how the man I have spent 25 years being humorously obsessed with now finds himself at the convergence of various political currents. But, for the record, Seagal has always contained multitudes. In 2005, to pick a year at random, Seagal didn’t just release the critically misunderstood straight-to-DVD classic Into the Sun, in which his brutal schooling of the Yakuza involves exhortations such as: “Eat your chopsticks!” Far from it. He also released an album named Songs from the Crystal Cave, which he described as “outsider country meets world music meets aikido”, the sleeve notes of which saw Seagal credited not just as lead singer and guitarist, but also as a percussionist whose harnessed skills ranged from drums to clay pot. But that was not all. Not by a long shot. The same year also saw Seagal bring his first energy drink to market – called Lightning Bolt – insisting that he had travelled through Asia sourcing the ingredients. I imagine there is some cloud-wreathed mountain in Nepal where sugarcane juice flows naturally. Seagal claimed Lightning Bolt had “untold natural power” and, increasingly, who would argue? I mean, take a look at his past 12 months alone. By these standards, 2005 now looks like a fallow year. By way of a baseline, he has still turned out three movies since this time last year. There was China Salesman, where he co-starred with Mike Tyson. There was something called General Commander, and then Attrition, where promotional material featured Seagal in Vermeer-like lighting in front of a window, poring over documents that, I assume, might help him uncover why a Thai girl with mystical powers had gone missing (contains violence, nudity and some drug scenes). But those motion pictures were just the start of things. As far as the “other activities” column of Seagal’s diary went, he became the mascot for a cryptocurrency called Bitcoiin earlier this year. ( According to the currency’s founders , Seagal “believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner. These are precisely the objectives of the Bitcoiin2Gen.”) Other diary entries over the past 12 months? George Foreman offered to fight him in Vegas. (Seagal went a bit quiet about that, but there hasn’t been a firm denial yet.) He published a novel about the deep state, titled The Way of the Shadow Wolves, which featured a foreword from racist Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio ( since pardoned by Donald Trump ). Turning it over in my hands right now, I am struck by Seagal’s warning on the cover page: “Always remember that the truth comes in many forms.” Elsewhere, he was banned from entering Ukraine for five years for national security reasons. He found time to explain to multiple international news broadcasters that all countries subvert other countries’ elections. He took apart a Russian aikido team in a display that made Triumph of the Will and WrestleMania look unrehearsed. And there were multiple #MeToo allegations about him. Arguably, then, this was Seagal’s most controversial year since the one in which he was formally declared to be a tulku – a reincarnated lama – by the...