This one analysis by French international affairs and security analyst Nicolas Tenzer sets a certain, different, high, and independent standard for diplomatic community and lay readers alike.
The reality is that Moscow is not in a position to seek a balance with the democratic world. It does not set itself limits that could prefigure any compromise, even one that is not very acceptable to us, and the search for a give-and-take on the basis of which a more or less lasting peace could be envisaged. An allegedly “prudent” approach to Russia would be the worst form of imprudence—the history of the last twenty-three years bears witness to this—and any prospect of negotiations a fool’s game. To continue to hold such a discourse about the end of the war in Ukraine is a serious mistake, because it is part of the Russian hope of reaching a compromise, even if it is less than its initial ambitions. To make such remarks would be to do exactly what Moscow is looking for: to present itself as a supposed partner with whom it is possible to reach an agreement, to believe in its signature—which is constantly flouted—and to suggest that the Russian regime is not an absolute enemy. This would again trivialize its crimes. To pretend to give any credence to Russia’s supposed interests as expressed by the regime would be to question the fundamental principles enshrined in the international treaties drawn up in the aftermath of the Second World War. There is certainly no possibility of stability with a power that seeks instability through destruction.
Russia and its culture and language are in no danger as regards their contributions and sustained presence in the world. All that is at stake for Russia is a political criminal–one Vladimir Vladimirovich “Vovo” Putin, in fact, a murderer of ordinary Russians–his associates and cronies and as yet unknown criminals in the transnational crime trades.
Putin’s “Malignant Narcissism” with its “messianic delusions of grandeur” has his coconut set to defend his projection of heroic courage, a cover tor early deep humiliation. He neither defends nor represents the interests of a modern Russia but rather the medieval psychosis he shares with similar criminal former KGB and sordid mafia. That’s it. Challenge the thesis, but I believe he won’t stop until stopped. Cancer, internal rivalry, uncooperative FSB and other security might suffice, but for now–for the west and for the world–“containment” will have to do. Putin has got a world in his head that no longer exists in either any shared nor viable fashion. He has only plundered Russia and led her into the void.
Malignant Narcissism: Links & Terms of Art for Exploration
We’re not going to be stuck with “authoritarian” knuckleheads in office in the United States of American or anywhere else in the Atlantic Alliance or, for that matter, in the world, but the transition from the world of medieval belief, fear, and greed requires of both constituencies and governments a modern update related to comprehending retrograde politicians and political missions. In modern parlance, the holy (and secular) grail of characteristics desired may be “high-integrity, responsible, and responsive” governance with improving “Qualities of Living“–village x city x region–the worthy cause of power.
At the moment, the EU/NATO fold has within it disappointing reversions–examples: Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Viktor Orban; Donald John Trump–to feudal-medieval society in which the power of the leader becomes conflated with the existence of the state while related associates, family, and personally favored figures own and rule the businesses and industries hosted across the land–and the general population be damned. For such “leaders”, continuance in power and “unlimited narcissistic supply” are all that matter.
Related for Exploration: Narcissistic Mortification; Covering/Splitting; Gaslighting; Psychological Manipulation; Narcissistic Supply.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the church received official privileges including the right to import duty-free alcohol and tobacco. In 1995, the Nikolo-Ugreshky Monastery, which is directly subordinated to the patriarchate, earned $350 million from the sale of alcohol. The patriarchate’s department of foreign church relations, which Kirill ran, earned $75 million from the sale of tobacco. But the patriarchate reported an annual budget in 1995-1996 of only $2 million. Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated by the Moscow News in 2006 to be $4 billion.
During this period, the church has been silent about genuine moral issues, such as Russia’s pervasive corruption and the indiscriminate killing of noncombatants in Chechnya. As Kirill begins his reign as patriarch, there is little reason to expect this to change.
In the Feudal-Medieval Mode, there is no potion as toxic as that which couples belief and piety in the common spirit with financial, martial, and political power in an aristocracy of thugs: only in still medieval Russia has Kleptocracy an Emperor and a most loyal (and enriched) Patriarch, both formerly KGB and therefore today criminal FSB.
As has become too much my habit, reference follows, and while I read all that I cite–and have read or perused all that I have cited, and this for age or martinis–little stays with me but principles. For Putin-Kirill as an Infernal Dyad, the two appear to share the deepest relationship in corruption, crime, fascism, malign narcissistic covering, persecution of minorities, especially the LGBTQ set, profit from “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco, and God (whose existence each seems to be disproving), only knows what else fills their pockets out of the shadows in which the two actors more authentically reside.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, had an awkward Zoom meeting with Pope Francis.
The two religious leaders had previously worked together to bridge a 1,000-year-old schism between the Christian churches of the East and West. But the meeting, in March, found them on opposing sides of a chasm. Kirill spent 20 minutes reading prepared remarks, echoing the arguments of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that the war in Ukraine was necessary to purge Nazis and oppose NATO expansion.
BUDAPEST, Hungary—When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban unleashed a racist tirade during an annual address to ethnic Hungarians in Romania on July 23, in which he argued that his supporters do “not want to become peoples of mixed race,” the international community recoiled in horror at the vitriol being espoused by the leader of a NATO and European Union member state. One of Orban’s longtime advisors, Zsuzsa Hegedus, resigned after the speech, calling it a “pure Nazi text … worthy of [former Nazi leader Joseph] Goebbels.”
Amanda Coakley’s article also covers Orban’s deliberate development of dependence on Russia for Hungary’s energy supply. His disingenuous position within the European Union suggests he has had but one outcome in mind, i.e., to become premier in Europe’s “New Nobility” as encouraged by Vladimir Putin. At the base of the autocratic feudal-medieval bond–the same “Malignant Narcissism” that has so characterized former American President Donald Trump’s careers and politics that have turned out disasters for banks, contractors, and citizens.
In late November 2022, Ukrainian special forces arrested a suspected Russian agent at the Ukraine–Hungary border. The man had been attempting to smuggle secret information into EU member state Hungary on a flash drive that he had allegedly concealed in his anus.
The flash drive contained stolen personal information about senior figures and staff at the Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU and the Ukrainian military intelligence service GUR, as well as sensitive data on Ukrainian army bases, weapons and logistics.
Global Security‘s remarks fit the brotherly love model of modern despotism in Hungary: “Orban played tough, which might not turn out well for him in the long run. His games were turning into a high wire act, threatening to keep Brussels off balance. At times Orban made half-hearted promises to uphold the EU’s policy toward Russia; at other times, he allowed himself to be flattered by Putin, his self-declared political role model. Or, when it came to economic interests, he allowed himself to be put under pressure (Global Security, “Hungary-Russia Relations” as quoted January 7, 2022).
Putin’s realpolitik, plain old mafia leverage, came through for Russia this past year. From The Guardian—
Hungarians voted in general elections just weeks after the invasion, in April, and it seems reasonable to assume that the war next door had an influence on the result. Given the climate of fear that the devastating “special military operation” created, Hungarians voted to keep Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in power rather than risk an untested six-party coalition. This assumption also underlies Orbán’s response, which is to stay out of the conflict to the point of being “exempted”, a position that has been condemned as a betrayal by Hungary’s western allies. Hungary refuses to allow arms shipments destined for Kyiv to transit Hungarian territory and blocks the extension of EU sanctions against Russia to the energy sector. This latter stance is intended to enable an already controversial Russian-Hungarian project to build a nuclear power plant on the Danube (Paks II) to go ahead unaltered.
György also notes the “similarities between the two leaders: authoritarian posturing and illiberalism underlying their respective concepts of the state.”
Since then, Orbán has been accused of fostering resentment. Tensions flared in 2018 over a video that apparently showed diplomats illegally issuing Hungarian passports to people in Transcarpathia. Later, in 2019, Hungary was accused of trying to influence the outcome of elections in the region, and blocked Ukraine’s NATO membership negotiations over the row. |
Today, from the Donbas to Kosovo, events are again proving the potency of nationalist narratives over lost territory and peoples separated by the claimed injustices of history. Yet, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the simple fact that many Hungarians have negative views of both Russians and Ukrainians is pertinent.
The wholly reactionary New Nobility (a member of which Orban might wish to be counted) rather like the old, appears fascinated by its own super-duper bloodline and culture, enough so to demonize hosts beyond their own boundaries, engage in passportization, and when possibility arises, redraw maps by way of wars driven by the conviction of racially-based cultural supremacy.
Comparing Orban to Putin might once have been hyperbole. But when Fidesz seems determined to expel a high-quality educational institution from the country on the grounds of political views of its funder, it is hyperbole no longer.
The attack on CEU, furthermore, is not happening in isolation. It is part of a broader effort to squeeze out “Soros and the powers that symbolize him,” to use Orban’s own words.
“”Up to 70 percent of missiles we are able to stop, but 30 percent is enough.”
Proof of sovereignty?
Proof of sovereignty might be the sovereign’s ability to treat the ownership of property and persons as alike, and that might include (in fact, has included) the ability to destroy either at will and with impunity. For reference, hunt as I would have to through Richard Pipes’ Russia Under the Old Regime: The History of Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974. The term of interest: “patrimonial authoritarianism”, and it’s in there somewhere–and I have out-aged patience for that kind of hunt.
In the Old Country’s old system, all powered flow down from the Tsar on high as ordained by God, no less, through the Power of the Church and the persuasive power of faith backed, always, by force and wealth.
#PutinFullTonto has lost all credibility in speech while retaining the utmost attention for the wanton destruction that has become Russia’s stain on humanity in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, and elsewhere in the former Soviet spheres of control or influence. He has without compassion or intelligence spread brutality, chaos, and death wherever the same serves associated criminals, dictators, and warlords, and so by now he may be imagining a cold and subdued Ukraine, in part or whole, serving other forward operations or merely basing advanced-contemporary and nuclear assets, say, for heightening threats that might inspire “concessions”.
The West’s sin in all of this? To allow, so far, an archaic feudal and criminally bent leadership and its corrupt or intimidated sycophants to threaten not only Ukraine but all of the extraordinary enterprise of Europe, the Atlantic Alliance, and the healthier states of the world.
Hunting the Last Mastodon
You don’t just go into the woods and throw a spear at it.
The West has managed the preliminaries of weakening the damned thing–sanctions to power it down some; confiscations to dampen its confidence while helping it embarrass itself. The Great Internet Reflector and plain truth about malign narcissistic illness and much else might have been more helpful had its target had a lick of conscience and humanity left in its steroid bloated body, but there it sits in Moscow or Wherever, deeply isolated, loathed, and paranoid.
How is it–this #PhantomOfTheSoviet and #GhostOfImperialRussia–going to go down? And what is to come when it does?
Ambitious men with nothing to offer and old ones with even less may take an interest in designing and exploiting the political value of an explosion guaranteed to make them look strong — or strong again.
Erdogan Rounds Up His Usual Suspects
Nothing could be more dumb or predictable than the rounding up of PKK suspects in the near immediate aftermath of yesterday’s explosion in Istanbul.
ISTANBUL, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Turkey blamed Kurdish militants on Monday for an explosion that killed six people in Istanbul and police detained 47 people including a Syrian woman suspected of planting the bomb.
No group has claimed responsibility so far for Sunday’s blast on the busy pedestrian Istiklal Avenue, and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied involvement in it.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been waging against the Kurdish community for many years but with periodic sustained ceasefire arrangements with the PKK. However, on July 20, 2015, a suicide attack against Turkish leftists had Erdogan’s government blaming the Kurds while the Islamic State was claiming responsibility. Erdogan’s own Sunni extremism appeared to have surfaced in the authoritarian’s somewhat twisted stance toward ISIL. The sense of confused politics may be gotten through this paragraph in Wikipedia–
One would not bring up even the notion of a “False Flag Operation” with any liberal humanist leader of any open democracy anywhere, but for more than 20 years, Erdogan has displayed himself as another “populist” autocrat merely propping the very much nominal “democratic” of a Turkish state that has repeatedly proven anti-democratic, illiberal, and deeply repressive, and not exactly unlike what Putin has had going in Russia.
As of publishing, no trustworthy investigation of Sunday’s bombing at a popular shopping mall has been conducted (given the overnight spread of associated arrests or detentions), and given the autocratic and feudal-medieval character of Erdogan and his regime, none may be expected.
It’s possible as well that given the chaos attending radical enterprises in their configurations, numbers, and relationships that one or more in the dragnet “done it” and leadership(s) elsewhere may not known of related plans for “action”.
Call the attitude here “Epistemological Ambivalence”, the possibility remains that the leader who has displayed contempt for his society’s journalists and others has indeed put on a bloody little play–and if not, who among Turkey’s journalists and publishers are left to believe him out of independent reason rather than fear?
Erdogan has converted his popular mandate into power and used that power to remake Turkey’s relations with the rest of the world. He has expanded Turkish influence in Syria and northern Iraq and tilted Turkey—a NATO member—toward China, Iran, and Russia. His use of power has also generated dissent among feminists, leftists, and the secular middle class. Under Erdogan’s watch, Turkey has become the world’s largest prison for journalists. Filmmakers, novelists, photographers, and scholars are also among the imprisoned. Turkey has banned gay and transgender pride marches since 2015; Wikipedia has been blocked since 2017.