Although Putin has been doing a fine job of destroying himself as well as the wealth, power, and relative security of his closest assigns and associations, he has still advanced weapons systems in submarines, hypersonic missiles, and “tactical” nuclear warheads, and he knows he may destabilize and destroy with impunity whatever he wishes for fear of his lunacy.
No mass death or destruction have yet come to Moscow or St. Petersburg.
The imposing of western sanctions has been but a matter of adjustment in relationships elsewhere.
The “Fragile Empire” has been proving surrounding polities, not only the “demo” made of Ukraine, more fragile in their development and heightened sensitivity to threats–or now imposed–disruptions.
How would you like to be hit by an enemy you’re not allowed to hit back?
What if it was your friend’s enemy enjoying that impunity, and you knew that you and yours would be next to be beaten, bribed, intimidated, robbed?
What if you knew that your forces were blocking 90 percent of airborne attacks but the ten percent getting through was destroying basic civilian power infrastructure?
What does “winning” mean when your losing enemy forces are nonetheless freezing and displacing your people?
Of course, Putin and his Russia are losing too, but he is only losing the better–the more good–of his human resources, and his state is only losing money and international stature. That’s not enough for stopping him. As the Malignant Narcissist (#MaligNarc) that he has been, he and his circle needs must be deprived of power and stopped cold, for in his own delusional mind, he cannot lose, and his enablers, sycophants, and fellow thugs are all in too deep for leaving him. War criminals themselves for what they have abetted, they, and exactly like the Nazis before them, may find no refuge elsewhere–or sadly find it through some realpolitik involving occult cash reserves that may land an obscure outpost or two for living (very well, thank you) on the lowdown.
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.”
Karen Dawisha detailed how the Soviet nomenklatura prepared in the mid-1980s for the demise of their state and what would have been their fall from grace but for plans to capture the state’s assets for themselves.
Husband and wife Andrew Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya documented in part how former KGB driving cabs determined to return to their former status in power as politically criminal agents with the master who seems today busy with trying to steal back a state that had gotten rid of its Moscow puppet. Once again, Moscow’s premier secret police–from Okhrana to Cheka to FSB–have succeeded in destroying goodness and justice in Russia (the west may be only waiting for the Russians to figure out how they have been themselves once again enslaved).
David Satter has made a mission of convincing the world that Putin’s ascent to power was predicated by the KGB’s false flag bombing of apartment buildings over which the fingers would point toward Chechen Rebels. Given the Kremlin’s penchant for absurd lies, barbaric acts elsewhere, and dramatic political theater and reputation for Orwellian perceptual control across time, I’ve been convinced.
According to John Schindler, the KGB had terrorist Ayman al Zawahiri of hijacker coordination fame as a guest over the winter of 1996-7, which makes sense of a timeline that fits with the KGB’s “recovery” of its less savory powers a little earlier in the mid-1990s (do watch the Nekrasov documentary for what happened in the gap between the “end of the Cold War” and the launching of revenge for the Soviet loss in Afghanistan and subsequent bankruptcy).
Aside, those fond of serial coincidences may enjoy looking up Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday and taking into the consideration the role of “1” in the dissolving of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, the September 11 attack on the United States in 2001, the start of civil war in Syria in 2011, predicated in part on fighting “The Terrorists” (together with the west), and now the Russian Invasion of Ukraine here in 2021.
Hey, wait a minute!
(“Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps”).
Motivating terrorists to blow up the World Trade Center while working with western security to eliminate terrorism . . . that’s pretty slick, but it fits with the temperament of the damned that have also sustained the Middle East Conflict and countless other “frozen conflicts”– as well as dictatorships — worldwide, and it also helps answer the question as to why the west has bent backward so often for so long in the interest of sustained peace beneath the black cloud of mutually assured nuclear destruction.
So here we are with a monster dredged from fascist, feudal, and medieval quarters that now razes with blunt force and fire a modern state aspiring to a democratic, free, honorable, and peaceful future. While we have done more than stand by and watch–we have been responding to our more stranded neighbor–we haven’t faced the full criminal scope of the Russian President’s magical narcissistic beliefs and his related and wholly destructive behavior. Deluded and drunk in power, President Putin lies to himself and to Russia, and yet no one will either dare interfere with his course, and, quite possibly, no one knows how.
Have conditions in the west to become “existential” to do as Ukraine has been doing?
With that speed, inspiration -> political punditry -> launch (something, anything, hope it works) has become a very short cycle. ***
Got to jump down turn around and send a missive flying Go to jump down turn around and compose again . . . . *** So it goes.
Sources for the first tweet date back to the Putin-Trump bromance of 2016 and the Republican chorus of denials over Russia’s onslaught of methods of perceptual channeling and control that were to be popularly known as “Active Measures”–>
It’s impossible to miss Russia’s criminal anger and resentment of the modern world in its aggression against the west as its secret police and other elements got to their feet in the shadows of the “End of the Cold War”. Out to the edges of the former Soviet spheres of conflict, control, and influence, an habitual penchant for Absolute Power and the endorsements of political theater and terrorism became fixtures of political behavior in Chechnya and Syria as well as Afghanistan (Russian arms and materiel were to support the Taliban all the way back to Kabul).
To this day, Russia’s leadership has shown the world nothing of modern compassion, conscience, constructive ambition, empathy, or humanity while demonstrating only the feudal-medieval barbarism and rapacious destructiveness and greed of the police state it has become and that it intends to impose on Ukraine and the west.
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.
What are the obligations–ethical, moral, and legal–attending the watching of a crime in process that may be stopped by main force followed by extraordinary strength in defense?
First, the rescuer must survive the disaster too! 🙂
Then comes the business well known to those for whom the preemptive strike has been a requirement, not an option.
As I chatype and type, Russia’s invading assets would seem to be racing toward NATO on rails in Belarus and out on the highways and streets of Ukraine . . . in other words, out in the open.
For all intents, post-Euromaidan Ukraine has demonstrated steadfast devotion to becoming part of the western assembly of open democracies bound beneath credible constitutions and related rule of law while Putin’s Russia has chosen the stance opposite, i.e., a state devoted to a capricious dictatorship and rule of force.
Marina Agaltsova, a lawyer with the Russian human rights group Memorial, said those who did protest were extremely brave, adding that “Russians are deeply terrified of arrests and court trials over rallying people to go out and protest.”
Human rights activist Marina Litvinovich urged Russians not to cry and “not to be afraid, but to just come out and say that they are against the war,” in comments on social media. Calling on people to protest is an offense under Russia’s restrictive laws.
Perhaps I urge fools to rush in, and NATO is no collection of fools, although one may one note the post-9/11 turns toward authoritarianism or polarization in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States. Nonetheless, as Putin’s Push comes to shove, the reaffirmation of the security compact appears accomplished. The question at hand would seem to be not “If” but “When” as regards the timing of an engagement. BackChannels may assure readers of this much: Putin, as often as he may get away with this simple dance, will offer NATO hope as regards relief from attack–and then he will take it away. Brutally. Time and again.
So why wait for the monster to finish ravaging Ukraine and positioning his forces on NATO’s eastern flank before stepping into to end that dark carnival of carnage and destruction?
Putin practices treachery, he deceives, lies, and steals through the betrayal of trust: would it not be fit, would it not be best, to play him in kind?
Putin has cause to believe he has the edge in defense and energy assets as well as global positioning and latency or staging (as global defense assets existing in peace may be turned toward war with an order). As “gifts” to the developed world, Putin also has 2000 tactical nuclear weapons and a number of hypersonic (hard to hit) missiles, and at the very least, he will plant those assets on NATO’s border to sustain his program of intimidation.
By the west’s measured response to Putin’s aggression, it is merely enabling the same while giving up on its principles and values by keeping itself in the respondent mode when the more powerful option, which will come due, will be to seize the initiative and take Putin’s power from him–and, frankly, that for the sake of the Russian People too who have been deeply subjugated by Putin’s governance.
Kraft’s ring now appears on display in the Kremlin’s library, quite a trophy brought home to Moscow by Russia’s Boss of Bosses.
The 4.94-carat ring is in the Kremlin’s library, where all official state gifts are kept, he said. It is worth more than $25,000, according to multiple reports from 2005.
A Kraft spokesman said Sunday the story is a humorous anecdote that Kraft “retells for laughs.”
“He loves that the ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin,” said Stacey James, a spokesman for The Kraft Group.
Putin the Pirate has done a few things under the table upside-down and sideways over decades to weaken western political coherence, cohesion, and resolve. Start with the KGB’s handling of Zawahiri over the winter of 1996/7. In connect-the-dots fashion, I believe that stay led to the attack by jet hijacking Islamists on 9/11 that in turn goosed the pride of western states in their Christian and independent political cultures and led to what has been referred to as the “New Nationalism”.
When bees sting and flesh swells, the response has not been called “proud flesh” for nothing.
The popular western response in enmity and fear regarding Islam has not been misplaced in relation to Islamic Extremism and related Islamist Terror, but the same has given rise to blood-and-soil nationalism, authoritarianism, and actual autocracy in some EU/NATO states. Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States (one nation under Trump for a while) have each seen their open democracies challenged by demagoguery or political perversion.
We may also take note of the “01s” in dates: 1991-dissolve of the Soviet Union in bankruptcy following American intercession opposite the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (from which Russia was forced to retreat in 1989); 2001-the September 11 attacks took place on Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday, quite a gift for a Moscow bent on revenge for its losses in Afghanistan-and, no, Putin didn’t do it–it was obviously radical Muslims assembled and deployed by Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden; 2011-The Horror taking off in Syria that would send millions of refugees into NATO (Turkey, which today hosts about 3.68 million Syrian refugees), the European Union (0.7 million-Germany), and Scandinavia (0.3 million), another goad for the defense of the rightly ethnolinguistic state cultures settled and enjoying the benefits of, well, being themselves, the only problem being a concomitant drift toward the same feudal-medieval worldviews and fascination with authority held by Bashar al-Assad, Ali Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin; 2021-Russia’s repeated threats by military feint against Ukraine, a young democratic state seeking NATO accession, and, by extension, NATO itself, but not quite as Ukraine remains without accession.
So hey, Bob (Kraft), George and George, Jr. (Bush), where are you today with Putin (the thief)?
Where and when are dictatorships to be stopped?
Is it when one or another has engaged in political repression and breathtaking plunder at home?
Should it be when the security service agents and agent provocateur show up within the borders of one’s democratic state?
Should it be when the tanks roll into a neighboring state struggling for its own sovereignty against barbaric force and the possibility of a return to corrupt, kleptocratic, and tyrannical governance?