The world is poised, uncertain what Russian leader Vlad Putin will do to or about the Ukraine. How one calculates that uncertainty depends upon who you are. If you’re Joe Biden, for instance, you rely upon decades of involvement in intelligence matters as a US Senator and as Vice President. Real world experience is the ultimate bona fide. And, so far, President Biden has played America’s hand as well as it can be played. It’s important to remember that Joe Biden didn’t pick up a “neutral” hand where Russia’s concerned. Make no mistake: Donald Trump was a fully owned intelligence asset of Russian military intelligence every single day of his presidency – a fact the Republican Party knew even before they nominated Trump. See, if you’re Vladimir Putin looking at the current crisis? You don’t necessarily see it as just “you and the Ukraine”. You see the Ukraine as a richly detailed tile in an enormous mosaic. You see America as a richly detailed tile in that same enormous mosaic.
Our news media on the other hand sees the tiles that make up the mosaic but, the strange thing is, they don’t seem to perceive the mosaic itself. Every time they try and pull back the camera to get the necessary perspective, they end up sounding like Curly Howard of the Three Stooges complaining “I keep trying to think but nothin’ happens!” Consequently, they can’t stop seeing Vladimir Putin as “a legitimate, freely-and-fairly-elected head of state. Shame that conflicts with the actual history. Putin was and remains a professional spy. “Spy” may not be Putin’s current job title but once you learn how to spy on people – how to work them like a handler handling a “joe” (in John le Carré parlance) – you can’t unlearn it. And the fact that you went into spying in the first place – and excelled at it – that’s because you’re that particular kind of person.
But, Putin is so much more than just “a spy”! Even in its best of times, the Soviet Union was deeply corrupt. Organized crime has a long, storied history in Russia. “Fortune Magazine lists the Solntsevskaya Bratva, alternately known as the Russian mafia, as the largest organized crime group in the world and it ranks above both the Japanese Yakuza and the Mexican Sinaloa cartel in terms of overall revenue. More interesting than its current standing is how it achieved its status. From a culture that encouraged crime to a government that aided and abetted it, the Russian Federation has become a hotbed for a growing criminal underworld.” Vladimir Putin doesn’t “tolerate” this organized crime as “head of state”, he’s part of it! He’s the head “Yakuza”. That’s why “among industrialized nations, Russia’s relationship with crime is uniquely symbiotic. Organized crime in Russia has blossomed as an outgrowth of the political machine. Mafia cells have undertaken assassination attempts, facilitated coercion and acted as tools for the assorted and sundry dirty jobs the Russian elites require.”
If you don’t see this Putin – if you don’t journalistically report him and, instead, report Putin as a “legitimate head of state”, you’re reporting on a fictional Putin who doesn’t actually exist. That ain’t journalism. And yet, that’s what we get – every stinking day from our Fourth Estate.
If one understands Putin as a gangster and not a “president”, one thinks of his actions at the Ukraine’s borders differently. One appreciates that the calculus for a gangster is different from the calculus for a legitimate head of state with a legitimate international gripe that only armed conflict can resolve. Consider the calculus Putin must do regarding the sanctions President Biden put down as he upped the ante. Putin doesn’t hold power at the behest of the Russian people. He holds power at the behest of the coterie of gangsters and oligarchs of whom he is one. So long as he enriches them while giving them few opportunities to betray him, he’ll survive. But, every last one of these oligarchs is an organized criminal first and foremost. Their bottom line is money. Keep it coming? They’re happy – and loyal. But should the money flow suddenly stop? That happiness – and the loyalty it came with – will evaporate in less than a heartbeat.
Think Putin – a criminal – doesn’t know how the other criminals are?
If Putin crosses the border, Russia will be cut off from international banking and the dollar. Whatever pain they can cause, say, Germany by cutting off its natural gas supplies in the middle of winter, it will be nothing compared to the impact a disrupted cash flow will have to Russia, to every Russian and to every single oligarch. It’s the oligarchs Putin will worry about.
Consider also Russia’s POV as Joe Biden’s administration – in particular the Department of Justice – go after every last American who Russia turned against us. Am I dreaming here that such a thing will happen? Maybe. If I am, we’re already toast. Our time would be better spent figuring out how to decorate our bunks at the gulag. Remember: the investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia didn’t just “reach its conclusion”. It was deliberately stopped in its tracks by acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein while Robert Mueller’s team was working. Rosenstein told Team Mueller to forget about any counter-intelligence investigation as the FBI was doing it. Except, the FBI wasn’t engaged in a counter intel investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia because Rod Rosenstein had told them not to – because, he said, Team Mueller was doing it.
That wasn’t Rosenstein being incompetent. Quite the contrary. Why on earth would anyone end such an investigation when there was so much evidence supporting it?
I bet Russia knows the answer.
Here’s my prediction. We we will learn the following:
- Russian intelligence had been flirting with Trump forever
- Trump has always been a willing participant in that flirtation
- Trump didn’t want to win the 2016 election; that was never the point of the exercise for him. Russia had other plans – and executed them
- But for Russia, Trump would never have “won” in 2016 because he would never have flipped PA/WI/MI.
- Various people around Trump were employed by Russia as his day-to-day “handlers” – in particular, Melania Trump; nothing else explains Melania being at the White House throughout Trump’s presidency – especially considering the mountain of humiliation he piled on her during the campaign (the Storm Daniels reveals).
- Russia has kompromat on plenty of Republicans: Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Dana Rohrbacher, Ted Cruz and every one of the “Moscow Eight” – the eight Republican Congresspeople who inexplicably had dinner in Russia the evening of July 4, 2018.
- Russian money and assistance helped make the January 6 insurrection happen. Ya think – considering everything else Russia did, considering all the money they spent – over the previous four years of Trump’s admin, you don’t think Russia would spend a few more kopeks to try and keep their boy in the White House? Take this to the bank and prepare to get rich: Russia helped pay for January 6. If that’s the case? Then everyone involved in any way, shape or form, is now – officially – a traitor and should be prosecuted as such.
What will Putin do next? Not even Putin knows. That’s not because he’s a master politician doing the delicate dance of statesmanship. He’s a career criminal and lifelong schoolyard bully who’s improvising on a knife’s edge – desperately afraid of waking up poor and powerless one day.