Authoritarian psychology and its related #CorruptionGreedKompromatIgnorance could not be better displayed than by American politicians Donald John Trump and Lauren Boebert, two souls lost in the realm of messianic delusions of grandeur, with the former having achieved some gold bespattered grandeur in wealth and the latter so on the warpath for Jesus she would overthrow the Constitution of the United States of America (PDF) as the apex of her achievement of power. Both #MaligNarcs (and possibly #PolitCrims as well) share the signal of just how much more monstrous each would become if enabled, i.e., the Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation.
Putin’s “Malignant Narcissism” with its “messianic delusions of grandeur” has his coconut set to defend his projection of heroic courage, a cover for 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.
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?
Start with what cannot be found outside of the mind of the malignant narcissist, i.e., the traumatic memory of “Narcissistic Mortification”. Diminishment. Humiliation. Shame. Whatever it was–a bullying theft on the street; an instance of sexual abuse by an authority or other overwhelming power; a “Jack and the Beanstalk” beat down by a parent–would have set off two related processes: covering over the moment and making of it either a terrible personal secret not to be shared or, perhaps, a complaint to shadow and ruin the life (for Putin, one might choose the former option, i.e., compartmenting the trauma); and splitting off the invention of a noble and undamaged self abetted by deceit in the creation of an heroic personal theater.
Most of us toughen up some with psychic injury, adjust our behavior to avoid a repeat experience or engage from a position of greater determination to prevail with dignity and strength. We’ll talk back to the nasty, speak truth to power, or dare introduce the bully to punishment as we produce greater force or response in relation to the presence of the same.
Chin up, in other words, and walk a little taller.
The malign might demand greater compensation in the way of power and emotional assurance. It may not be how they are or might be as ordinary persons that matters: it’s how they look–how others may perceive them–as extraordinary personages that matters most, for deep down they are still hiding their own humiliation and the dreaded fear of its return.
And how may one hide the truth?
Lie about it.
And how may one control the perception of others?
Create around or before them sufficient convincing theater to get them to do as one’s image may demand.
Punks have an easy list at their disposal: cheat, deceive, lie, and steal.
Get her a ring–who cares how you do it?–if it comes to that.
The personal and smaller matters lend themselves to convenient chicanery.
The corrupt and evil among politicians know more difficult strategies: big lies, deflections; false accusations, false flags, false presentations.
Where Putin lives, notch it up with military, paramilitary, and secret police forces tasked to manage state-devised compromise and reflexive control operations as well as total perceptual control buttressed by the methodical elimination of all of the sources of competition and criticism.
And should anyone in the darkness and shadows fuck up . . . cover it up–practice helps–and lie about it.
And should anyone possessed of integrity observe and report what has taken place, well, there are ways in which politically criminal and ruthless power may choose to defend its good image while in fact engaged in the most execrable evil.
A Few Reflections on Putin’s KGB Manual Updated to Support State Capitalists
I’m sure there are other similarly clever methods for developing bear hugging personal relationships and influencing nations, quietly, and from behind the curtains, and as sources, insights, and opportunities develop, I may add to the above useful instructions.
Narcissistic Mortification: diminishment or humiliation –>
Narcissistic Covering/Splitting: covering the diminished, humiliated, or shamed damaged self / splitting off a courageous and heroic persona to be presented and sustained before the world –>
Narcissistic Manipulation: manipulation of the behavior and perceptions of others with behaviors ranging from gaslighting and lying to framing others and leveraging their behavior through various strategies –>
Experience of Unlimited Narcissistic Supply: experience of the sustained adoration, adulation, admiration and love of others en masse and without limit.
Regarding the ideas represented by terms such as “Malignant Narcissism”, “Reparative Narcissism”, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, I’ve chosen to select reference both according to convenience and in response to my own experiences, ideas, and thinking (especially as regards the cited “Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation” that is my own). Whether bullies on the streets, dictators in families, and imperious personalities in politics, the idea that the display of power, whether obviously malign or disingenuously protective (as our Lt. Colonel President Emperor and Tyrant Vladimir Putin so well presents), the relationship between the display of awesome destructive capability coupled with unparalleled wealth belies the heavy armoring and compensation needed to cover a much challenged and derided personality at an earlier stage. “I’ll show you!” and “I’ll show them” and “I will make them pay” suit the outlook of a tyrant whose damaged psyche may never be sufficiently appeased, placated, or repaired. History may come to regard the present Russian president as a man who could master associates, investors, mafia, and military but not himself.
My schematic for the personal journey and process known to malignant narcissists
Narcissistic Mortification –> Covering (humiliation and shame) / Splitting (the damaged child from the image of an heroic child) –> Gaslighting and other Willful Manipulation (to create and sustain an heroic image) –> Limitless Narcissistic Supply (the experiences of public glory, the roaring approval of crowds, the validations of humanity and God).
The power to (with impunity) threaten one’s targets is, of course, power. What those targets then do in the position of being threatened — and with Putin, boundlessly and without end — may or may not set the limits of that odious behavior.
With two critical Iranian leaders assassinated — Qasem Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh — and an American President determined to blunt the tip of the spear aimed against the west, the prospect for “fireworks” appears that much closer. Ever big on packing the Big Picture into a small space, I’ve done that here with ramble and signal but not chaos. Old Communist and Islamist politics persist in the latest states of affairs although the old Communists have produced breathtakingly wealthy elites and the chief among Islamists has been long known as a thief enriched by the plundering of ordinary Iranians.
From the Awesome Conversation
Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran represent an anti-western alliance committed to political absolutism by all and any means necessary. At least two of the three, Moscow and Tehran, represent also kleptocracy (see Reuters’ “Assets of the Ayatollah”) or mafia-type power (reference Ben Judah or Luke Harding), and together they keep the west bothered. Tehran, in malign narcissistic fashion, has covered its own crimes with deflections and dogma–it’s not strength that propels its fantasies of nuclear annihilation but regime weakness expressed through medieval fantasy. The clinical, dispassionate, and modern and prudent west may be building down Tehran’s capability, confidence, and coordination for aggression.
The old “Red-Green Alliance” is in the mix too with some persistent communist cant woven into the Houthi challenge in Yemen. The World Peace Council persists — as do graduates of Patrice Lamumba University — and the pack may view Tehran as an alley in thuggish political fashion. More important than political dogma: an heroic image to be created by marching forward into glorious past while holding each fantasy in place by main force.
Stated by Trita Parsi in 2017 (yes, just a quick look-see on my part): “Another emerging threat comes from Iran’s domestic politics. Presidential elections next month may put Iran’s foreign policy back into the hands of the country’s hard-liners, who, much like Mr. Trump, define their country in opposition to the world” (“The Coming Crisis With Iran”, The New York Times, April 20, 2017).
“Malignant Narcissism” begins with “Narcissistic Mortification”, i.e., the humiliation of the “Great Leader” (somewhere in childhood). Why everyone else has to be made a part of the compensation (measured by the Great One’s estimation of his own “Narcissistic Supply”), I’ve no idea but that the worst of the worst needs must have both an adoring audience and a horrified one.