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Moscow – Putin | Putin, Assad, Khamenei | Putin, Orban | Putin, Erdogan (never mind the superficial enmity and differences in “talk”) — supports political absolutism in relation to the malignant narcissism evident in the personalities of related leaders (like Orban, like Erdogan). For this reason, Putin has encourage both Far Left and Far Right political organizations and personalities; it is why his government has hosted PFLP (2014) and continues to refuse to condemn Hezbollah and Hamas. The form of power wanted by dictators — different talks: same walk — is the power to visit suffering on others with impunity. On the cheerful side of that 🙂 — the acquisition of unlimited narcissistic supply. Whatever the west’s own issues may be with business, corruption, and crime, the power-distributing and power-checking political systems threaten the “malignant narcissist” — the autocrat, the absolutist — and that’s really what their battles are about. The power of the special sovereign / great leader has its place in Russian history but is by no means confined to Russia. In fact, I think feudal despotism more the way of the world, even if one hopes not its only future, than checked-and-distributed political power, and that at least two NATO states feature illiberal autocrats as heads of state — Hungary and Turkey — tells what the argument is really about: i.e., Medieval Absolute Power vs Modern Checked and Distributed Power.

The paragraphs may grow shorter as I retype and recast BackChannels’ main themes.

Why do dictators do what they do?

Ah, pride — but pride that compensates and covers psychic injury.  Terms of art may include the following:

Narcissistic mortification

Malignant and Reparative Narcissism — I would refer to this as “narcissistic pathing” or channeling.

Narcissistic Supply — that approving roar of the crowd.

Unlimited Narcissistic Supply — Ah, glorious, unless you have found yourself on the Great Leader’s wrong side, i.e., somewhere in the opposition.