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Example (Putin Would Eat President Trump for Lunch):

Topless photos and macho adventures aside, Putin is no showman. He's a colorless career bureaucrat with the steely core of a KGB man. The popularity he enjoys is nothing like stardom: It's a mixture of fear, love and submission. Putin doesn't do deals, as Trump does, or as Berezovsky and Chichvarkin once did, because he has never been a businessman. Putin is a man of the state. And the state can't be gamed or beaten. No deal is ever final until it takes its due.

How do you understand that phrase?

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It means that the State doesn't have to bargain or negotiate what it gets out of a transaction: it takes what it is due (owed) off the top, by fiat not by contract, and leaves the contracting parties to sort out how to split up what's left over.

As a famous social analyst once put it, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's". Putin, says the author, is the heir of the Caesars and their namesakes the Tsars.

  • Makes sense... except.....why say the deal takes its due? Isn't it the strongman/autocrat who takes his due? Could it be that the deal takes its due course (during which the crafty/strong party takes his due portion/reward)? – Brian Hitchcock Aug 2 '15 at 8:00
  • @BrianHitchcock It is the State, not the deal. That can be perfectly clear in speech, where beaten will take a half cadence (I'd point it with a colon), and it would be contrastively stressed. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 2 '15 at 12:01

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