With regard to east-west rivalry, timing, perhaps has been everything as post-Cold War Russia “invited” western cooperation with and investment in Russia as part of post-Soviet reform. To our misfortune, some disaffected KGB, all products of the Bolshevik mentality, pried themselves back into power to become what one might call “Kremlinals”. Okay. Ouch. In any case, and based both on Litvinenko’s experience and Zawahiri’s “detention” in Russia (1996/7), the criminals were set for kleptocracy by the early-mid 1990s.
The west may have been played.
Vladimir Putin has never been a rational state actor but always a piratical “malignant narcissist” engaged in the cover of a projection of an heroic self with impression enforced by the many methods of perceptual control. As his fear of being “found out” becomes realized, he doubles-down in defense of image and becomes more surreal by the day. As he has never authentically served Russia but plundered her by developing his mafia-style monopoly on power, one may only hope that his own “tire” of him post-haste and with ambition to return to modernity, which some have quite enjoyed, will take the reins in the direction of reform.
This image may tell what is also at hand.
For the time being, the world surrounding Putin’s Imperial Russian Kleptocracy would seem stuck with containment, defense, and deterrence. For Russians who would be modern and well dressed with a Modern Political Mentality: despair, flight, lethargic cooperation, passive resistance; and for some close in with the little monster grown fat, one might hope for treachery.
The end-state desired would seem a modern responsible-responsive Russian state, not Putin’s criminal feudal-medieval monstrosity loaded up with 2,000 tactical nukes (advanced hypersonic missiles and stealthy submarines) x hate, ignorance, and fear to match, not to mention the leader’s criminal — and politically criminal — narcissism.
Some of us are just waiting to see Robert Kraft’s Superbowl ring returned to him. And all of this over that? Could be as that ring is symbolic of the criminal, piratical, and unhinged nature of Putin’s increasingly naked regime.
Anderson, Hans Christian. “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”