Three years ago, I published an essay under a ‘fake news’ heading urging Vladimir Putin to put aside ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ behavior and rhetoric with respect to Russia’s supposed ‘partners’ in the West and to slam his shoe on the table in the crude manner of Soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev at the United Nations in 1956.
I very much regretted that Putin repeatedly turned the other cheek when his country was treated unceremoniously or when he was personally insulted by hack politicians in the United States including Joe Biden. Nikita Khrushchev was never called a ‘thug’ or a war criminal; Putin has been so described in mainstream media. I insisted that it was much better for nations and statesmen to be feared than to be liked. Indeed, the future of the world depends on mutual respect born of fear, not brotherly love, as 70 years of Mutually Assured Destruction demonstrated.
Mr. Putin’s devastating critique of the U.S.-led Collective West yesterday in his speech to Russia’s bicameral legislature, regional governors and other high officials just prior to the signing of papers leading to the accession of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Kherson and Zaporozhie oblasts to the Russian Federation, indicates clearly that he has thrown in his personal fate and the nation’s fate to the policies of Kremlin hard-line patriots. He has parted company with the still substantial faction of pro-Western Liberals populating the decision-making instances in the Russian capital and in gubernatorial offices.
Until now, Putin played a careful balancing act between domestic liberals and conservatives in a manner similar to what Mikhail Gorbachev did with his Central Committee colleagues of the CPSU. Gorbachev finally lost his balance, was briefly overthrown by the weak and unpopular conservatives, then was reinstated by the liberals only be turned out onto the street months later. In the case of Vladimir Putin, the conservatives with whom he is now aligned are the key to his own 72% approval rating, even today following implementation of the ‘partial mobilization,’ while the leadership of the liberals, beginning with the ‘red forelock’ (рыжий чуб) Anatoly Chubais, have fled the country in large numbers and pose no threat to the President.
Putin’s recognition of the new ‘subjects of the Russian Federation’ as near and dear to the whole country and as irrevocably integrated into the Motherland, has been correctly identified by Western observers as doubling down on the core ideas of his ‘special military operation’ or, put in other words, as a serious escalation in the proxy war with NATO. Everyone now understands perfectly that Russia will defend its new borders with all its considerable military and other resources.
Russia’s showing its claws has changed the game. Within hours, Ukrainian President Zelensky formally asked NATO for expedited approval of its membership application, by which we may assume he meant immediate admission. In a press conference later in the day, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg effectively rejected this request, noting that the Alliance has its procedures and admittance of any new member takes time. There can be little doubt that this answer was given to him by Washington. Of course, the days of the Kiev regime are numbered as Russia steps up its war effort. Zelensky & Co. will not survive in power long enough to pursue their NATO application.
Meanwhile the dummy in charge of the U.S. State Department, Antony Blinken, told reporters yesterday that in fact the United States has no indications Russia intends to use nuclear arms in Ukraine. This reversal of his remarks of the past few weeks is no minor point; it means that U.S. flirtation with staging yet another anti-Russian false flag operation, this time by detonating a nuclear device somewhere in Ukraine that might be blamed on the Kremlin, has, thankfully, been abandoned. The world is much safer for all that.
Today’s Financial Times continues its snarling denunciations of the Russian leader and his ‘annexation’ of the four former Ukrainian oblasts. However, in The New York Times I see a sign that even our media can comprehend that the game is up, with or without successes of the Ukrainian counter offensive. I point to today’s opinion essay on the paper’s front page by columnist and three time winner of the Pulitzer Prize Thomas Friedman entitled “Putin is Trying to Outcrazy the West.”
Friedman is the Liberals’ Liberal, much beloved by many of my former classmates at Harvard. He is now saying that maybe the United States should swerve to avoid being hit by the vehicle driven by madman Putin. Yes, according to Friedman, Russia is losing the war in Ukraine. Yes, Russia is ruled by an autocrat, whose political views are anathema to freedom loving America. Yes, he is isolating Russia globally and turning it into a kind of North Korea. But for our and the world’s safety, we should let him pass and not go head-to-head with Russia. This is precisely what I expected in my mention a couple of days ago that Putin would do well to take a page of Richard Nixon’s strategy of assuming the guise of a madman in 1972 to bring the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table.
The notion that there will be some ‘kiss and make up’ between Russia and the Collective West is now fully discredited. An enemy is an enemy. A clash of civilizations is a clash of civilizations. The most to hope for in the foreseeable is a truce, an end to military hostilities. For this to be achieved, Mr. Putin has to match his tough words with tough deeds and, as I have suggested, swiftly decapitate the civilian and military leadership in Kiev. The leadership of the Collective West will do nothing about it other than bark, while the rest of us will be able to sleep calmly after months of anxiety.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022
27 thoughts on “Has Vladimir Putin put the fear of God into the Satanic West?”
Thanks. I watched parts of the speech in recording. My main reflection is how serious the audience looked. They clearly mean business and understand the gravity. This was very different to western type events which seem to be more childlike by comparison. One channel showed Kadyrov and he seemed to be trying to hold back tears. It was actually hard not to empathize with the emotions.
Agree with your assessment. The west is a paper tiger. Its biggest Achilles Heel is that not no citizen wants to die or suffer in the name of America’s overseas adventures of choice. The wars have to be by proxy. Friedman’s article sums things up: it is a classic western liberal approach to give in but claim the moral high ground while doing do. These people are good at intellectual gymnastics but not much else.
The prognosis seems to be a long running truce, as you suggest. It is almost ideal for the MIC and the political class in the US. Lots of rationale for spending money on the military, lots of staff positions and new bases for officers and a nice circular flow of political donations. But very few (or no) US casualties so no real need to justify the whole thing to the home population.
We in Europe though need to wake up and end this unproductive western “alliance”. It is a cover for the US MIC / political class wrecking everything against our needs and also against the interests of the American people. Europe will get there, I believe, but it may well take a generation. Let’s hope we survive in the meantime.
Kadyrov deserves to go to Valhalla, such a proud warrior he is. He has just recommended to use nuclear weapons. He definitely helps with the threat of the fierce foe which should lead to the negotiating table but I hope he meets a glorious death before that.
spent 21 years working in Heidelberg, USAREUR HQ and NATO CENTAG. We wanted out after 1991 but I ended up in Kaposvar, Hungary working in V Corps HQ at an old Russian airbase (staging area for NATO invasion of Jugoslavia) and wondering what the hell was going on. That was the beginning of a recurring pattern that is now playing out in Ukraine. The US will continue this aggression as long as Americans care more for Florida hurricanes than NATO genocide and Europeans deserve everything bad that is happening. If the NATO allies, especially Germany had born their share of NATO they wouldn’t find themselves in this predicament (dependency on US) now. Rootin for Putin
Vladimir Putins was the most devestating critique of the US dominated West I’ve ever heard in my generation (now in my 70’s} something I’ve wanted to hear throughout the long years of US/UK imperial violence and global depredations. The lack lustre Soviet leaders never quite acceded to his level of rigorous acerbic denunciation of the western elites in those days we relied almost exclusively on the inflammatory oratory of the great and much lamented Cuban leader Fidel who unlike Putin had personally been subjected to the beastiality and cruelty of the western elites along with many of his comrades and the long suffering Cuban people whose experience of the West is shared with the people of the Donbass. I regret that we did not hear from the likes of Alexander Zakharchenko or Militia Commander Alexei Mozgovoi on the accessions to the Russian Federation and the crimes of the Ukranian and Western elites.
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It’s revealing that the Western media choose to ‘characterise’ relations with Russia strictly on the basis of a figurehead – Mr Putin. The implication – often the explicit accusation – is that Russia’s activities are entirely the choice of one, tyrannical and probably demented leader. Yet Russia is a democracy, with regular elections, many parties and independent members, a constitution and a parliament of two houses, through which bills must pass in order to become law, the influence of its military and affiliated industries, strictly confined. Russia is a mixed economy with private and public enterprises. Putin’s cabinet of Ministers has its factions and favourites, unsurprisingly. In structure, it is little different from the US or UK or most European governments. Some are constitutional monarchies; some are republics. That really doesn’t amount to much beyond historical allegiance. What is telling of course is that fixating on a figurehead allows prompts unfair association with known tyrants, such as Hitler or Stalin and concealment or denial of far more pertinent affinities, far less comfortable comparisons.
The MSM is ‘person-fixated’ rather than ‘issue or scheme-fixated’ because it is an easy, dumbed-down approach to politics, that suits those controlling the media. They want merely Good Vs Evil, to pre-empt popularity and ensure support for a ruling party. But the issue with Putin is really with his longevity as President, the stability and consistency he has brought to Russia. He has been, at the very least, astute in foreign and domestic policy. There can be no comparable figure in US politics because of their constitution, therefore the notion of a continuous president seems inherently flawed. Russia’s constitution has been amended in order to accommodate Mr Putin, but the sense is he is exceptional (unlikely to be repeated) and retains widespread electoral support. The west suspect this, simply because their system fails to generate leaders of matching calibre. If anything, they distrust an able leader because real power must always lie concealed in financial support.
What they really see in President Putin is a deeply disturbing indictment of their own ideology.
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China, using an expression I detest, has Russia’s back. The article I linked to yesterday makes that absolutely and unmistakeably clear. The obscenity will be the extent to which the U.S.. will be able to pivot and simply go about it’s business without a single hair on its head out of place. A hundred thousand, at least, dead on the Ukrainian battlefield will be forgotten in a day by the population of the United States. Will there be a peace dividend? Don’t make me laugh. There will be a war dividend.
Unless… unless Taiwan falls. Then the mighty U.S. will stumble. Will Taiwan fall? Within six months following the truce in Ukraine.
Russia just assumed the mantle of the defender of the Global South/East against the predatory neoliberalism, neo-imperialism and neocolonialism—in short, predatory capitalism—of the Global North/West. Now it remains to be seen who of the Global South/East will join this epic struggle for liberation from 500 years of Western dominance.
The conflict between liberalism and traditionalism that is now dominant is coming to a head. While remnants of fascism and communism are still operative forces, the major conflict in the historical dialectic taking place at this moment in the world system is between traditionalism and liberalism, both internationally and within countries, the US and UK (“Anglo-Saxons”) included. Whether one or the other will emerge dominant or a synthesis will take place is on the table.
Having abandoned communism, Russia is now a bulwark of traditionalism. Yet, Russia also stands for the liberal aspect of traditionalism in that it acknowledges the right of all traditions to occupy their place in the world even if some are “anti-liberal.” The only thing that is ruled out is terrorism.
While terrorism is usually associated with extreme traditionalism, victims or intended victims of the colonialism and neocolonialism of the collective West regard this not only as a form of terrorism but as the one that has caused the most havoc. Russia has declared it will resist this with all its considerable means as the only superpower of the Global South/East.
The world is about to get a lot more interesting.
I think the ‘Russiagate’ propaganda was the most powerful part of this all going to hell. Not only has all the rhetoric coming from the US since 2016 likely made Putin extremely wary of where it was going, it has meant that progressive liberals, the traditional anti-imperial, anti-war faction of the US, have essentially become neocons on Russia. (Not that they could tell you exactly what they feared from Russia or what Putin’s agenda in supposedly setting up Trump as his puppet was, exactly since it really seemed like the ‘Russiagate’ nonsense was spun out of Trump’s anti-escalation comments on Syria)
With absolutely no checks on them the neocons just keep pushing, as is their instinct but they don’t really know where and when to stop pushing since progressive liberals are basically supporting regime change in Moscow and unending support for the proxy war in Ukraine. With no pushing back they just kept escalating. But the problem from the rhetoric and escalation is you end up losing a lot more prestige and face, perhaps an unacceptable amount, due to all the hysteria and rhetoric. What had seemed like just a basic bleeding your enemy in a proxy war situation that you ‘win’ no matter if your proxy loses has become a referendum on US hegemony if Russia even simply is not defeated or Putin removed from power.
The major sea-change in social media becoming public and dominated by young women has been a significant part of this. It can’t be ignored that young women don’t tend to be interested in geopolitics and are easy to deceive in this way.
I wish I felt more sanguine about the situation. In my view, the referenda in Donbas, Kherson, and Zhaporhizhia and the subsequent admission of those territories into the Russian Federation were a smart escalation of the war by Russia, as they gave an off-ramp to the US/NATO powers: accept these changes, declare victory, and go home. The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines appears to be an added escalation by the US/NATO, to the effect of : we will now broaden the war to all sorts of civilian infrastructure. (And, of course, the Nord Stream sabotage seals the choices of Germany and other European countries, who cannot now remove the embargo on Russian natural gas, because there is no way to move that gas toward the west.) That escalatory step the de-escalatory options; it narrows the path and pushes it toward another escalation, which seems to be all-out war of Russia against Ukraine. And how will the West respond in turn? I expect they will ratchet up the heat another notch, by providing more-lethal arms to Ukraine. And what then?
The farther this feedback-loop progresses, the steeper the slope of escalation; that is my worry. I pray for peace (and I belong to no organized religion).
Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .
“It can’t be ignored that young women don’t tend to be interested in geopolitics and are easy to deceive in this way.”
Your last comment is so sexist and unfair that I don’t even know what to respond. May I just remind you that one young woman rules Finland and has just taken her country into NATO? And that young women go to top universities and study the same subjects as young men? Along the lines of your vast generalization, I allow myself to say that it can’t be ignored that (young) women overall display more sense than (old) men, and maybe this all mayhem would not have happened if more women were in power.
“May I just remind you that one young woman rules Finland and has just taken her country into NATO? ”
Exactly proving the point.
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“I allow myself to say that it can’t be ignored that (young) women overall display more sense than (old) men, and maybe this all mayhem would not have happened if more women were in power.”
Maybe. Maybe not (See Urlsa Van Der Crazy). But what is certain it that (old) women make just as bad if not worse decisions as (old) men (see Hillary Clinton).
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“The major sea-change in social media becoming public and dominated by young women has been a significant part of this. It can’t be ignored that young women don’t tend to be interested in geopolitics and are easy to deceive in this way.”
I agree that this is a very sexist comment. As a side note, many “female” accounts on social media (twitter) could just be bots who are using a female identity because it elicits more sympathy. But perhaps the author of the comment did not consider this and was thus easy to deceive in this way.
As for female politicians: some are psychopaths (Hillary), some are dumb as a door knob (Kamala), some are shrewd and sophisticated (Merkel). Just like the male ones… Women are people, there are many different kinds of them. I am not sure why this even needs to be said.
PS: Thanks to our host for these updates. They are a very nice read and a good complement to the rest of my A-list geopolitical commentary!
I am not commenting on the value of this decision but merely on the fact that young women are now in prominent positions in the geopolitical game. But in your mind, they should be at home cooking, right? Leave important things to the boys. Men are men and women are women, nothing in between, for a fair and just world.
“But in your mind, they should be at home cooking, right?” Absolutely yes! (Young) women like Liz Truss would do the world a huge favor if she just stayed home to cook. And find time to find Russia on a map.
Great speech of Putin: vital, witty, healthy. President Putin quotes the Russian jurist and philosopher Ivan Ilyin at the end of his speech. Dear fellow forumites, read his works. I read the books in German. Therefore, I do not know if the translation of the book titles is correct.
Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin:
“Essence and peculiarity of Russian culture: three reflections.”
This work was for me an eye-, ear- and heart-opener for Russia and its people.
After reading his work.
“On Violent Resistance to Evil: With “Pro et contra” by Nikolai P. Poltoratsky on the Polemic around Ilyin’s Ideas,” I came to understand why Russia’s military actions in Ukraine are going on as they just did. Despite all the brutality of this war, Putin/Russia has not yet given up its mercy. In contrast, the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden bombers did not have this mercy. May Russia be victorious over the Western world.
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Great speech from President Putin and a great article by Dr. Doctorow! I, like you, was so relieved as I listened to that speech. Thank you for the article.
I have just read that the US has revealed Ukraine was responsible for the assassination of Darya Dugina and is complaining that the Kyiv government acts in non-transparent way (New York Times). Maybe another sign that Washington is detaching itself from Ukraine? Not that I care for Russia’s success but I’m with Elon Musk and the Pope in wanting an end for this war as soon as it can be achieved.
The West is delusional in thinking that Russia is isolated. Putin is invited to the G-20 meeting in Indonesia, and the host country has firmly rejected the West’s request to do otherwise. If you know anything about Indonesian history, this rejection is momentous. Please pay attention to the event next month. Putin will probably repeat some of the things he said in his accession speech. The non G-7 world will take notice (if they haven’t already) of the alternative Putin is offering the world. I really think that the West’s days are numbered. The world is changing, it is very interesting to see what the West is planning to do about it.
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