The West had perhaps thought the Cold War over on December 25, 1991 with the announcement at noon of the Soviet Union’s dissolving itself in bankruptcy, but here with are with a post-Soviet KGB/FSB President Putin in power who while demonstrating his idea of logical reasoning repeatedly proves himself barbaric, inhuman, and irrational and only best in his expression of unhelpful and wholly destructive madness. He appears to have no insight as regards his own malign and narcissistic disorder, but his army knows it, his generals see it, his inner circle suffer for it and none appear able to stop him.
For Ukrainians, who are but the latest to catch Tsar Putin’s cross-hairs, the question comes up as to why EU/NATO so far refuses Ukraine offensive weapons sufficient for controlling its air space. The Atlantic Council circulated a germane answer in the form of a survey of experts and simple chi-square chart, and this morning when both plea and question came up on Facebook, I felt bound to respond.
From the Awesome Conversation
In what follows, I’ve added URLs where they would be otherwise absent in plain text.
Out of laziness, perhaps, I’ve chosen to plant surprises, helpful ones, in the URLs and forego the creating of standard reference (a “Related Online” section has been otherwise a BackChannels desktop publishing tradition).
Here’s the thinking regarding NATO’s official avoidance of war with Russia beneath the black cloud of Mutually Assured Destructed attached to any exchange of nuclear weapons and related and possibly out of control (worse: computer-controlled, according to Putin) escalation.
Unfortunately, cluing in the world to yesterday’s news and Russia’s blood-and-soil religious fantasia might be easier.
To such elites, all of whom fall on the spectrum of Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic, WEIRD for short, Putin represents an atavism whose motivations they cannot understand. The Kremlin strongman adheres to a distinctly throwback view of international relations where the use of force is normal, and countries protect their national interests unapologetically, with all the instruments of national power. Putin’s wholehearted embrace of religiously-infused nationalism, which boasts a venerable history in Russia, leaves WEIRDs befuddled yet has real resonance among average Russians. Western doubts that the former KGB man has “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” miss the point, but then the West has never understood Russian Orthodoxy very well. No matter what Putin really believes, his public embrace of religiously-grounded national conservatism provides his regime with an ideological anchor, one which happens to view Ukraine’s subservience to Russia as a spiritual as well as geostrategic necessity.
Perhaps EU/NATO should have seen this coming with the truth about 9/11 (i.e., where terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri spent winter 1996-7 courtesy of the KGB) and the reflexively controlled “New Nationalism”.
Okay, no biggie, but Butina most certainly chose to target with her charms a most conservative institution representative of not only America’s heartland but its gun-and-hook and healthy outdoor and clean living heart.
From major flag-bearer of democracy Anne Applebaum:
in the 21st century, we must also contend with a new phenomenon: right-wing intellectuals, now deeply critical of their own societies, who have begun paying court to right-wing dictators who dislike America. And their motives are curiously familiar. All around them, they see degeneracy, racial mixing, demographic change, “political correctness,” same-sex marriage, religious decline. The America that they actually inhabit no longer matches the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant America that they remember, or think they remember. And so they have begun to look abroad, seeking to find the spiritually unified, ethnically pure nations that, they imagine, are morally stronger than their own. Nations, for example, such as Russia.
The Cold War–the west’s struggle against Russia’s Soviet Union and its Communist Party–has been regarded as having ended on December 25, 1991 in relation to the bankrupting of the state in relation to its defeat in Afghanistan in 1989.
With relation to America’s national security interests and international peace, what arrangements were made between the United States and Russian security cultures in 1992?
I have no answers for that.
America’s wacky political paranoia, however–more for entertainment than righteous cause, some portion of Americans has loved The X-Files, made pilgrimage to Area 51, and bought in on UFOs–has also produced a notorious anti-Constitutional Administration (2016-2020) — with its Head of State fully entangled with Russian money — and has done so in defense of lost eras and lost powers.
What happened back there — in 1992, perhaps — to bring us to this passage with a now former authoritarian American president steaming in the wings while a deeply disturbed and piratical Russian power in the figure of one Vladmir Putin makes a mess of modern Ukraine?
I have been breathing for 15 seconds after the last question mark, and I still don’t know. 🙂
However, we of EU/NATO geopolitical space have seen in action Russia’s Active Measures, Cyber Warfare, related Destabilization Measures, Hybrid Warfare, and the twists of a “New Nationalism” accompanied by authoritarianism and mafia drift in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States (add France in the making of a big deal about Marine Le Pen) — and on this day a warning and perhaps a bid from Russia presaging nuclear warfare.
“War is Peace / Freedom is Slavery / Ignorance is Bliss” plus Putin’s own additions: “Chaos is Order / Life is Death”.
Early today, Vladimir Putin AKA “Vladolph” AKA “Putler”, Russia’s President by way of assassinations, defenestrations, detentions, and rigged elections, launched his invasion of Ukraine, a young democracy on its western flank, turning back the clock to the 1930s and and further to feudal-medieval barbarism.
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 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.
Observed: similarity between Blinken and Pompeo’s articulation of Washington’s support for Ukraine despite the stark differences owned by their respective bosses, Trump and Biden.
From the Awesome Conversation
Stable governance associated with democracies needs must have purpose and vision greater than the length of any given Administrator’s tenure. With relation to East-West Conflict and Washington’s stance, I’ve come to believe that Putin’s Moscow has come to represent a retrograde feudal enterprise revolving around its “great leader” and his monopoly on political power that much includes the dark “mafia state” side and its association with “frozen conflicts” and numerous dictatorships. Given that perspective, and Washington’s now lowered but still present interest in “truth, justice, and the American way” — just boil the BS down to “Integrity” — the shield set before Putin’s darker and older world requires a canny reinforcement before any western demonstration of brute physical strength.
In effect, our conventional and nuclear weapons have created a world in which the potential costs of war far exceed the prospects of profit for winning. That may leave the majors “flicking” and “trading punches” (like brothers) while working other cultural and financial maneuvers to expand their footprints (e.g., Russia’s “passportization” of its “near abroad”) or cultural longevity and relevance (more China’s game at this time).
To the side and regarding Nordstream 2 — or, for that matter, Turkish Stream: Putin has succeeded in reverting a portion of EU/NATO to the feudal mode in spirit or fact. I would consider Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey compromised democracies x leadership or x mafia and related internal politics, but I think Germany more robust and capable of discouraging Putin’s sense of mission to this point.
Finally, and regarding Crimea and the region north, Russia has entrenched itself militarily and produced a major bridge (2018, I think) for solidifying its invasion through trade between Crimea and Russia IF it can boost control of basic services (water first) and economic development.
The Vikings often arrived with “raid or trade” in mind.
Not much has changed.
One may expect Russia to defend its investment, now that it has raised its own ante, in Crimea, but it will have to do that through its own development and trade and not with further theft.
Ukraine’s history with Russia has its deeply interwoven aspects in relation to political control in Kiev, but if history has been rough, it has perhaps been most abysmal for Ukraine in the 20th Century and left its mark with the Holodomer associated with Stalin.
Last week, Putin fixed his image as both the most daring and fragile of malignant narcissists. The eyes of the world were on him and the ambiguities attending his demonstration, positioning, and rehearsal for the conventional wholesale invasion of Ukraine in a manner befitting medieval war with the world most modern and devastating weapons, including the thermobaric “Mother of All Bombs”. We may thank God for the apparent but well watched “return to base” of so many forces minus a few tanks (were they that expensive to move back?). 🙂
There should be a song, “Kompromat” being so much a theme with Moscow’s mafia-style influence on the world’s foreign affairs. Whether or not some number of western leaders or their subalterns — or family members — have been compromised and leveraged — and some have already been made to bow to Russian energy projects — is something I wouldn’t even pretend to know, but I would consider it possible.
Would Russian tanks invading Ukraine then not be bombed by Ukrainian and NATO forces — or defending Russian jets not be driven from the skies by the same?
We are about 20-1/2 years out from September 11, 2001 and our Soviet/post-Soviet old Cold War foe appears on the warpath unstoppable, facing only western opprobrium and sanctions, neither of which appear to have affected any of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, martial and political designs, philosophies, or, perhaps, critical inner-circle relationships.
EXCLUSIVE: Russia will soon have an assault force of 107,000 troops along Ukraine’s border, with an estimated 1,300 battle tanks, 3,700 drones, 1,300 artillery and mortar units and 380 multiple launch rocket systems —
Putin hasn’t to move one tank into Ukraine to control Ukraine, for he has already made himself central to Ukrainian (and NATO) awareness, fear, mobilization, and reflection.
Everything Ukraine may now do (and think) will have to do with whatever Putin chooses to do first.
Putin is in control.
Consider the Ukrainian defender’s now about seven-years-old experience and position with a belligerent and bullying Russia repeatedly and with impunity injuring or killing Ukrainian troops daily and weekly for all those years.
Where is that pain to be harbored and kept in check?
For how many more hours, days, weeks, months, years should Ukrainians tolerate the status quo of a “frozen conflict” sustained by the same criminals driven out in the 2014 Maidan?
Putin is in control.
How should Ukrainians feel about reaching out to a NATO that hems and haws over its imperfect governance while aspiring to meet modern democratic standards in rule-of-law?
Oh, has anyone had a good look lately at the degrees of corruption and rancor in relation to domestic political behavior within the United States?
At least the voting will of the American People voted out their own corrupt autocratic infection, but should any of the Atlantic Alliance have fallen so far to now have to bend over fully to pick up the reins dropped from the horse?
Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey have each gone at least partially — two especially — back toward family control or, alternatively, ownership of states by nobility, i.e., either way, the feudal mode in political absolutism.
Putin is in control.
How tense the atmosphere? How dark the clouds? How near the enemy?
Putin is in control.
However far Russia dares to go with its annexation of Ukraine — and its thieving from Ukrainian business and industry and all else Ukrainian and good — Ukraine will have to stand up and go further, and God help NATO embrace and defend Ukraine.
“I heard Zelensky’s words as he said that Ukraine is ready to repel aggression. The fact is that he didn’t just say it’s ready today, it’s been ready for seven years already. It’s only that it’s a different level of readiness, because it’s hard to say when Russia might put their aggressive rhetoric to life,” Kravchuk told Current Time, a Russian language project created by RFE/RL with the participation of VOA.
He noted that Russia’s top leadership are directly threatening Ukraine and its sovereignty, including warning of “collapse of the state.”