There are no coincidences. And, if we’d only listen to Maya Angelou’s exquisite wisdom – and believe people like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin when they tell us who they are – we’d save ourselves a ton of heartache. And who knows how much Ukrainian blood. And maybe even the world’s economy. Putin’s invasion – inexplicable as it seems – is going to hit every person on earth if they’re in any way connected to the world’s economy. Ironically, it’s not our humanity that ties us all together so much as it is the dollar. Want to know how badly this is going to work out for Putin? Less than half a day into this folly and the ruble has plunged in value while dollars are unavailable. That’s bad for ordinary Russians. It’s worse for the oligarchs who surround and empower Putin. And it’s worst for Vlad Putin himself – because if he loses the support of the oligarchs? Putin will be dead in the water – maybe even literally.
The question the whole world now asks – especially in light of Putin’s bonkers speech Wednesday evening where he justified this madness by claiming Russia will “de-Nazify” Ukraine – starting with Zelensky, it’s Jewish head of state! Putin also rattled his nuclear sword. What was that all about? Who exactly is Putin speaking to here?
Let’s be real: Putin’s fingerprints are all over our politics. They’re all over Europe’s politics, too. How much money, do you suppose, Russia spent on making Brexit happen? How much did Russia spend making Trump POTUS. Remember – Putin is a spy by profession. His preferred offensive weapon is subterfuge; cold wars are more to his liking because, frankly, he’s better at cold wars than hot wars. That’s what the data from Afghanistan and Chechnya say. From an economic point of view, cyber war is far, FAR more economical to run than any bombs n bullets war.
America is the data set for that.
Putin has always been ambitious – personally and as a Russian nationalist. It’s kind of ironic (how much irony can the world stomach ffs!) that a man who grew up a Communist is now the world’s richest man – which he became while running a formerly Communist country. Putin’s got a religious streak – it’s part of what bonds Steve Bannon to him. Bannon, too, is a Christian radical who sees the world the way a Crusader would. As I’ve written here before, egomania plus monotheism equals death and destruction on a massive scale. Putin doesn’t believe IN God, he believes he IS God.
So – Putin walked in the door a little nuts. Well… let’s say “obsessive”. He despises America. Despises his country’s weakness – it’s lack of a first world economy – the thing that will put it forever at America’s ultimate mercy. Want to know what killed the Soviet Union? It wasn’t bombs or bullets, it was the threat of space weaponry. But, the weapons never materialized. What killed the Soviet Union was its inability to pay for such a thing. When they tried to do it, their entire economy failed. Average Russians balked.
Five years ago – when we first became collectively aware of Putin’s relationship with Trump – we didn’t see Putin as nuts. We saw him as terrifyingly in control. Which he was! The Putin who dominated Trump in Helsinki was a confidant autocrat proudly displaying his bitch.
That wasn’t the Putin declaring war on Ukraine yesterday. One could understand the logic and thinking of the Putin who ensnared Trump and the Republican Party in his plotting and kompromat. One saw his goals clearly. We may appreciate Putin’s goal now – forcing Ukraine back into the Russian sphere – but his methods defy explanation; his methods will fail terribly. The fact is, he has no method here.
How Trumpian of him…
I don’t think that’s a coincidence. As I said above – there aren’t any. I wonder if part of Putin’s wildness here is directly related to 1) Putin’s relationship with Trump and 2) the fact that the full extent of that relationship is about to be revealed to the world. Trump has always behaved with extreme self interest. He’s never, in his life, been a legitimate “businessman”. He’s always been a criminal dressed up as a legitimate businessman but those aren’t the same thing.
In the end, only Deutsche Bank would lend money to Trump. Deutsche Bank has been fined repeatedly for allowing some of its clients to launder money via their accounts. Real estate is a money launderer’s dream. And Trump was a money launderer’s best friend. In fact, Trump’s money laundering via his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos was what sparked Fusion GPS – tasked by the Washington Free Beacon with doing oppo research on Trump back during the 2016 Republican primaries – to hire Christopher Steele. By the time Fusion sub-contracted the Russia work to Steele, Hillary Clinton’s campaign had taken over paying for the research (a fact Steele did not know; he never knew who exactly was paying him). Why was Chris Steele’s collection of raw intel so terrifying to Trump and the GOP that they spent so much energy attacking it?
Hint: while our news media may have focused on the more salacious parts of the dossier – Trump, Russian hookers and a bed the Obamas slept in – the more damaging info was more banal on the surface. But a thousand times more dangerous.
Why does Trump kowtow to Putin? Why does the Republican Party kowtow to Trump?
Why did Putin invade Ukraine?
What will Putin do when his great intel coup – putting his “Joe” in the White House – gets revealed? You’d think he’d want to take a bow and point to his cleverness both as an indication of his own superiority and a measure of democracy’s failure. Instead, Vlad’s freaking out. He’s behaving with the same illogical abandon that Trump did which is completely out of character.
This war won’t end well for Putin. Ordinary Russians won’t support this – especially not if it crushes them financially. Aside from four or five countries, Putin has no allies here. China won’t go along with this; they can’t afford to. They’re the kings of pragmatism. Putin will find himself both isolated and broke in very short order.
On the one hand, that could make him even more dangerous – and tempted to go nuclear. What will he have to lose? On the other, we don’t know where the weaknesses are in Russia’s command structure – the places where oligarchs other than Putin hold sway. Being a criminal, Putin understands criminals. And he understands what could happen to him if the wheels come off his Trump wagon.
Authoritarians don’t often die of old age in their beds, surrounded by their loved ones. They tend to get replaced by force way before. That will be Putin’s fate now – a thing he apparently knows.
And it’s making him crazy.