Streetwise Professor

March 27, 2017

No, I Haven’t Gone Soft on Putin: It’s That I Understand Who the Real Menace Is

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:09 pm

I spoke to my uncle over the weekend. He asked me, in all seriousness: “You haven’t written anything about Vlad lately. You going soft?”

My answer: “No–not going soft. But there are so many know-nothing lunatics shrieking about Putin that I don’t want to run the risk of being lumped in with them or confused with them or giving them any credence.” (If you think “know-nothing lunatic” is too strong, check out the Twitter timelines of Louise Mensch or John Schindler. You’ll see I’m actually being overly generous.)

And here’s the truly perverse thing about the hysteria. The lunatics are Putin’s most useful allies. If he really desired to create havoc in the American political system–which I would have no problem believing–in his wildest dreams he couldn’t have done the amount of damage that is now being wreaked by the Democrats and the media (I repeat myself, I know). They are using Putin and Russia as the pretext to carry out their own political vendettas, and to express their rage at losing a race that they just knew was in their pocket.  By massively overreacting to rather pitiful allegations (Podesta’s emails–really?) for purely partisan reasons they are doing far worse harm to the US than Putin could have ever hoped of doing.

I know Putin has an obsession with the US, and would love nothing more to undermine it. But his best sappers are unwitting ones, and Americans to boot. And bizarrely, they are doing their sabotage in the name of fighting Putin. I have never seen anything so demented and destructive in all my living days: it is so twisted it is difficult to explain it. Given that, it is far more important that I go after them, and leave Putin out of it. They are the immediate menace, and fighting them is not only justified in its own right, it is also the most direct way of depriving Putin of a chance to weaken the US.

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  1. ‘I have never seen anything so demented and destructive in all my living days: it is so twisted it is difficult to explain it.’
    My reaction is the same. I honestly don’t know how a bunch of over 18s (I dare not use the term ‘adults’) can behave so badly so consistently. They seem not to have any idea how bad they are making themselves look. Intriguing, but scary, to watch.

    Comment by mark — March 27, 2017 @ 9:47 pm

  2. This is absolutely the craziest series of events I have ever seen in politics, and I was raised in Chicago! I believe that right minded observers of this charade are not pointing out the fact that this is really not about Putin and election interference. The analysis I always apply to explain why people in organizations and politics throw away their ethics in such a blatant manner is to closely examine their “true” motivations. I find that many observers of this unethical and risky behavior tend to latch on to the easiest reason for such behavior. Sometimes this suffices for certain circumstances, financial fraud for instance, but many times I believe motivations go deeper and are out of plain view. It is difficult obviously because you as the observer or victim have incomplete information. You are not in their shoes and you don’t fully know how large the albatross around their neck is or how important their ultimate goal is to them.

    In this instance, you have to ask yourself why would the Democrats be willing to go this far down the rabbit hole without any realistic and worthwhile payoff (there is no election around the corner and they are not going to gain any meaningful power in the near future). Most of them of course are just following orders (Maxine Waters/Nance Pelosi/Adam Schiff). Forget them. Their bellowing ALONE has no real effect. They need to be constantly prodded by their “bosses”. I have seen this in business politics before. The minions’ actions are just the symptom of the motivations and power of their puppet masters. So, what are the motivations of the puppet masters and why are they so determined to continue this comical charade.

    By the way, it only continues because of the MSM complicity. Another motivation analysis is required for them (maybe Carlos Slim and Jeff Bezos can shed some light).

    I believe you need to step back and look at all the events that happened since the election. Prior to the election, the slander could be just attributed to dirty politics, although the extent of the slander (8 women accusers in one day?) raises an eyebrow or two. So let me list a few events that occurred right after the elections off of the top of my head.

    1) “Simultaneous” violent protests the week after the election. These died out immediately the next week. Next…
    2) Fringe candidate Jill Stein raises $9M for recounts in three states that HRC lost without zero evidence and with no ultimate benefit for her own campaign. Next…
    3) Electoral College tampering and intimidation. Finally…
    4) The narrative that Russia hacked the election which meant that they hacked Podesta and the DNC and exposed their deceitful ways. MSM ignores Wikileaks’ insistence that it was a disgruntled insider.
    5) The changed narrative that Russia tried to influence the election but for months now, they have yet to tell us how they did this and what evidence they have. Obama hastily orders a investigation from 17 ICs to report on how the Russians may have interfered. The report is filled with inferences and crafty legalese to deflect eventual agency accountability to provide proof.
    6) Trump admin had contacts with Russia. No evidence given as to what these contacts produced.

    This last 2 narratives were craftily supported and abetted by the most obviously calculated moves by Obama. He enacted last minute sanctions\expulsions and loosened rules regarding information sharing amongst all of the intelligence agencies. These actions would have lasting effects that would provide non-traceable leaks to the press of any “incidental” surveillance. He set a trap that he hoped would cause Flynn or Tillerson to contact the Russians and ask them not to overreact to the new sanctions all while they were being wiretapped. Flynn should have relied on Putin’s intelligence to recognize what was actually happeningt. Flynn didn’t think he was doing anything wrong given how close they were to taking office but he should have known he was being wiretapped. This is probably why he really was fired (stupidity).

    So, observing all of these over the top unprecedented actions, you have to ask yourself why would an outgoing president/political organization go to such lengths with the risk that something falls apart and opens Pandora’s Box. Obviously, you can only get away with this crap if you have the MSM in your back pocket. Most of the general public won’t string these events together because they have lives to lead. That is what they count on. Not a bad calculation if you listen to your friends at ABC and NBC who have been spinning the narrative for years.

    But for you and me and others who are paying attention, the question goes back to why are they so MOTIVATED to do this. Hard core democrats will hate Trump no matter what. I get that. But Obama, the Democratic party and his IC agencies seem to be committing acts that seem to be so desperate that I feel something bigger than a President’s legacy is on the line. First line thinking would be that the Democrats want to weaken his presidency as much as possible. Do they care about Obamacare that much? When was the last time an outgoing party cared so much about an incoming president’s policies that they called for impeachment before he even took office and without any reason?

    it certainly is not anything to do with Putin. Maybe somebody should ask Valerie Jarrett why in the world is she moving in with a married couple. Friends like to be close I guess.

    Comment by mike dillon — March 28, 2017 @ 12:34 am

  3. @mike
    Good post but my conclusion is Globalization versus Nationalism. They are intent on reorganizing the global political system from a national basis to a global basis. Putin is a target for this reason-he is a proponent of national interests rather than utopian global interests.

    In this context the seeming switch in attitude by many people towards Putin makes sense because he is a strong opponent to the utopian globalists and so in that limited respect a kindred spirit. At a time when many see a strategy to feminize western societies he holds to warrior values so in that limted respect a kindred spirit.

    Comment by pahoben — March 28, 2017 @ 3:25 am

  4. The obvious comparison for looniness is W’s decision to invade Iraq because a bunch of Saudis had attacked the USA.

    Or perhaps the Kennedy/Johnson decision to fight a fruitless war in Asian jungles.

    But the current imbroglio has an extra edge of lunacy to it, as if they really were howling at the moon. Hysterical and barking mad, the lot of them.

    Comment by dearieme — March 28, 2017 @ 4:14 am

  5. Agreed, SWP. I’m pretty much the same.

    Comment by Tim Newman — March 28, 2017 @ 7:25 am

  6. I just can’t help but think that the Left is acting like the Right sixty years ago with McCarthyism. The strange thing is that McCarthy was probably more justified in his attacks than the Left is now. The Left is really just upset about some modest conflicts of interest. No one in Trump’s circle is legitimately suspected of being a double agent.

    Why I don’t bother with partisan politics.

    Comment by John Hall — March 28, 2017 @ 7:59 am

  7. Speaking of know-nothings, isn’t it remarkable that the Trump administration refused to condemn the suppression of protests in Russia this Sunday?

    Comment by aaa — March 28, 2017 @ 9:01 am

  8. @mike dillon. Excellent. A few word association game responses. George Soros. Not just Obamacare, but the Iran deal (I think that when Nunes said what he saw had nothing to do with Russia, he was hinting that it had to do with Israel, and in particular surveillance of Israel-Trump admin contacts regarding Iran). 2020.

    I think it is highly likely that Soros has a direct hand in several things you mention, specifically 1-3.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 28, 2017 @ 9:07 am

  9. @aaa. Do you actually read?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 28, 2017 @ 9:10 am

  10. @John Hall. I have remarked several times to a friend that this lot makes 1950s John Birchers look sane by comparison.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 28, 2017 @ 9:10 am

  11. Democrats cannot process their loss and are going insane. The greatest success of Russian propaganda ever.

    Comment by Krzys — March 28, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

  12. I agree with SWP. Putin wants a weakened US which means a weakened person in charge of the White House. So he “supported” Trump over Hillary because Trump would cause more chaos. Now that Trump is in office, the goal is still chaos. So the anti-Trumpers who spout bizarre rhetoric are more in acting along with Putin. Trump has many weaknesses and problems as an individual and office holder, but I don’t think patriotism is one of them. The idea that he is some kind of Russian puppet is bizarre.

    Related to Putin was the big anti-corruption protests over the weekend against Medvedev (as a convenient Putin proxy Navalny and the opposition can use). I would have thought a post on that would happen although I know most SWP Russian posts are more economic center.

    Comment by Chris — March 28, 2017 @ 3:19 pm

  13. @Chris-Re Navalny and Medvedev. Here’s my prediction. Navalny has focused on Medvedev’s corruption. But Medvedev is completely disposable. Indeed, the job of the Russian prime minister is to be the scapegoat/sacrificial lamb for the president. If the protest heat continues, Putin will claim to be Shocked! Shocked! to find corruption in Casablanca. (The PM’s office is in the White House 😉 Medvedev will be thrown to the wolves and Putin will claim a victory over corruption. And Medvedev will have served his purpose.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 28, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

  14. The best explanation I have seen so far of the Putler/Roosha hysteria on the part of the libtards/Dimwitcrats is a photo of 2 doggies looking up at the camera; the caption is:

    “we’re glad you’re home – the Russians popped in the hallway”

    Maxine Watermelon’s impeachment hysteria is on a totally different level.

    One thing I would like to add to the SWP and mike dillon’s observations: the Dimwitcrats, Adam Schiff, Shmuck Schumer are screaming so hard about the Russians – because the Dimwitcrats were caught 1) illegally “wiretapping” – ok, surveilling American citizens and 2) illegally leaking transcripts to the MSM, which then “dutifully” published them.

    Diversions, diversions, diversions

    And ultimately, vicious attacks full of bile and acid, designed to undermine Trump and the Republicans.

    So, yes, Putler’s most effective butt-boys at causing chaos are – Shmuck Schumer and Al Frankenshteen and Adam Schiffty and the rest of the Dimwitcrats.

    And Maxine Watermelon adds the outer space factor.

    Comment by elmer — March 28, 2017 @ 6:47 pm

  15. Well, Professor, it’s good you found the true enemies of America. Now that the fifth column has been identified, it makes sense to set Putin aside until they have been neutralized. I gotta say, you’re certainly following the zigzags of the party line very closely! Next step: Adopt Putin as an ally in America’s war against its enemies at home.

    Comment by aaa — March 28, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

  16. @aaa – you’ve got quite an extraordinary leap of logic there – or, actually, no logic and no facts at all.

    Comment by elmer — March 29, 2017 @ 7:44 am

  17. @pahoben

    >>Putin is a target for this reason-he is a proponent of national interests rather than utopian global interests

    What an interesting delusion. Is that what RT is pushing these days? Putin is a proponent of the v.1, Globalization-through-coersion, whereas the current v.2 Globalization-through-trade works rather better, thank you very much.

    Comment by Ivan — March 29, 2017 @ 9:12 am

  18. Professor, Chris Caldwell has a similar piece up on Imprimis’s website that complements your post very nicely:

    https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/think-vladimir-putin/

    Comment by John McCormack — March 29, 2017 @ 11:33 am

  19. @Professor:

    >> Navalny has focused on Medvedev’s corruption. But Medvedev is completely disposable.

    “Because” would be more appropriate than “but” here.

    >> And Medvedev will have served his purpose.

    And so will have Navalny. Unless, of course, the protests get out of control by both Putin AND Navalny. But what are the chances of that?

    Comment by Ivan — March 29, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

  20. @Ivan
    To read your comments one would think he is the omniscient omnipresent embodiment of evil. He apparently effectively undermines democratic elections worldwide-caution no voting booth any place in the world jis safe from his tampering. He has organized the Chechen Republic to enable ISIS yada yada yada.

    Even in regards to the Professor’s post how can he really weaken the US. Is the US really that malleable. I would say he is in many cases effectively Machiavellian. Is the US so susceptible to those types of machinations.

    For God’s sake so many governments in the world blame all their problems on the US. Has the US degraded to the point that it needs to blame its problems on Putin. One can regard the current anti Putinism as symptomatic of the rot and weakness that grows in the hearts of the US elites. Safe areas with coloring books and that evil Putin causing our problems. Jeez grow up for God’s sake and accept responsibility for your problems.

    Comment by pahoben — March 29, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

  21. No, I don’t think the US is weak and susceptible to Putin’s machinations. On the contrary, the US institutions are working remarkably well given all the rot in the political elites. Bitterly clinging to those guns seems to work. Paul Manafort is not quite the same caliber as Gerhard Schroeder.

    But I also think that if Putin’s murderous kleptocracy gets crushed as collateral damage of petty squabbles in Washington – that perhaps would not be a good reason, but there are more than enough good reasons for any sane person to shed tears about it. Would be quite ironic, in fact, after those loud celebrations of Trump’s presidency in Putin’s “parliament”.

    Comment by Ivan — March 29, 2017 @ 5:03 pm

  22. Well, some of your commentators are quite nutty. The truth seems more prosaic. Democrats blame Russia because they can’t actually conceptualize that Trump won. Nothing uniquely sinister there though; I live in blue-ville and the vast majority of people I talk with have never knowingly interacted with a Trump voter. So you have to blame *someone* for this — it couldn’t actually be that he won on a unlikely-but-viable strategy and that the despicables really dislike the establishment that much. Putin is as good as the next target, hence the hysteria. It will pass.

    Comment by FTR — March 29, 2017 @ 6:18 pm

  23. @John-Thanks. Excellent piece.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 29, 2017 @ 6:59 pm

  24. @John,
    Yes interesting comments but Globalization through trade has been for more pernicious to the average American than anything Putin has done through coercion. In terms of harm to the average guy in Topeka free trade much more than Putin supporting Assad.

    Comment by pahoben — March 30, 2017 @ 3:14 am

  25. Obama is ideologically committed to reorganizing fundamental governance from the national level to the global level and his efforts are to that end. If you look at governments as providors in a market at what point does the benefit of size become disadvantageous relative to the number of participants providing the service. If a single provider, a global government, the service will be of lower quality because immune from competitive forces but Obama is ideologically committed to the opposite view.

    In my view the Federal Government is already oversized and in the view of Obama undersized in the sense that fundamntal governance sould be at the global level rather than the national level.

    It may be nutty as someone above posted but it is true and that is what motivates Obama.

    Comment by pahoben — March 30, 2017 @ 3:39 am

  26. I would say that global governance is the conscious philosophical justification he provides to himself but easy to say on a deeper not necessarily conscious level he is motivated by narcissism and sociopathic quest for power.

    Comment by pahoben — March 30, 2017 @ 3:49 am

  27. In related news, Oleg Deripaska was ordered by Putin to testify before US Congress that he does not take orders from Putin.

    Comment by Ivan — March 30, 2017 @ 12:09 pm

  28. You’re a delusional hack at this point. There’s clearly links between Russia and the Trump campaign. And, Trump is a shit President.

    Comment by warisill — March 31, 2017 @ 6:17 am

  29. @warisill
    So the ef what

    Comment by pahoben — March 31, 2017 @ 9:05 am

  30. @ Ivan, that’s funny, I don’t care who you are

    Comment by The Pilot — March 31, 2017 @ 9:50 am

  31. I agree that Medvedev is disposable, but there are only so many people one can throw to the wolves before the people around you fear they will be next. I wonder if Navalny’s tactics are to target the people around Putin as a “safe” way to protest that could ultimately weaken him. Now that Putin’s glory window around the Sochi Olympics, Taking of Crimea, and intervention in Syria boosted his popularity, I wonder if he’s regressing to the situation of 2011-2013 which will cause much more troubles for him. If the protesters can get Medvedev, then they could claim other scalps as well.

    If Putin realizes he can’t placate the crowd because too many bodies are required and would deplete his minions, then animosity will be directed against him as he protects his loyalists. That would create its own problems.

    Comment by Chris — March 31, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

  32. @warisill, what are those “clear” links ?

    Comment by Surya — March 31, 2017 @ 1:15 pm

  33. Like the fact that Manafort and Flynn were obviously taking payments from people that had a vested interest in keeping Putin in power.

    Until the SP starts talking about Flynn’s request for immunity, he has no credibility on this topic. Pointing out the idiots who are fishing isn’t the same as showing that the Trump campaign is innocent.

    And, Pahoben, remember this? http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/57161f07a1bb8d3c3495bc36/

    Comment by warisill — April 2, 2017 @ 12:53 pm

  34. Also, when he originally posted this, http://streetwiseprofessor.com/?p=8947, it looked like he was interested in exposing Russian influence in the USA.

    Now, it just looks like he thought Russia’s influence was limited to OWS, aka democrats. You can be a hack or you can value the truth, your call.

    Comment by warisill — April 2, 2017 @ 12:56 pm

  35. @warisill (or is it really Catherine? Or Mike?)

    You are apparently unfamiliar with the subjects of the Golden Mean, or the happy median, or the pendulum that can swing too far in either direction.

    In the 2009 time frame, and through and after the 2012 election, there was indifference to and unawareness of Russian attempts at influence. As I noted in my post earlier today, in the era of the Reset, “more flexibility after the election”, and “the 80s called and want their foreign policy back,” the nature of the Russian government/system and its attempts to exert influence in the US were ignored, and those who said otherwise were scorned by alleged sophisticates, led by the POTUS.

    Now, less than a decade later, everything about Russia is exaggerated to the extreme, and same people who pooh-poohed Russia now make 1950s Birchers and McCarthyites look like apostles of sweet reason. Worse, those who are mounting the new 24/7 Red Scare are doing so not out of any real conviction, but out of (a) narcissistic fury at having been denied what they considered their due, and at having lost to someone they loathe, and (b) a desire to achieve post-election what they could not achieve during the election, the cost to the country be damned.

    Thus, it is not “hackery” to call bullshit on RT, ZH, etc., in 2009-2011, and to call bullshit on those who hysterically overreact to RT, etc., today. It is shooting down the middle, and avoiding the bipolar extremes between “what? Me worry?” and “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!”

    I would also note that Paul Gregory, who is a renowned scholar of Russia (the son of Russian parents, in fact) and also a fierce critic of Putin (especially on Ukraine, where he has taught for many years) has made very similar arguments to mine over the years and is similarly scathing about the current hysteria. Go call him out too. I’ll get the popcorn.

    The current hysteria is epitomized by people like Michael Weiss, whose unhinged hatred of Putin puts him in league with Salafist head choppers in Syria: the same could be said of John McCain. Weiss and his ilk also think that the proper response to Putin’s propaganda is to spread propaganda of their own, again often in the service of a malign terrorist movement that wants to kill Americans wholesale but which masquerades as a liberation movement in Syria.

    Further, as I have pointed out on several occasions, this monomaniacal focus on Putin and Russia, and the attribution of mesmeric manipulative powers to him and his cadres (a) is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as is demonstrated by the current debilitating political brawl over Russia, and (b) strokes Putin’s ego, and encourages him to be even more manipulative. As I said in previous posts, in his wildest dream Putin could not imagine that his meddling would have such outsized effects. Want to deflate Putin? Don’t give him the satisfaction of thinking that he has completely discombobulated the US political system!

    When it comes to the actual policies that the Trump administration has adopted, they have hardly been pro-Putin. Nor has the administration’s rhetoric been pro-Putin. To the contrary. Virtually every major public statement from cabinet-level officials, including Tillerson, Mattis, Haley, and now McMaster, has been harshly critical of Russia and has made it plain that the administration considers Russian actions to have been persistently hostile and inimical to US interests.

    And again as I noted early and often, if Putin schemed to put Trump in the White House (putting aside the unlikely event that his scheming had any effect), he was a fool. If implemented Trump’s proposed defense buildup will leave a fiscally straitened Russia eating America’s jet wash his energy policies will undermine Russia’s fiscal situation even further: Hillary would have adopted objectively pro-Russian policies on both defense and energy.

    One last thing. This over-the-top rabid Russia hating and propaganda will alienate even those Russians who are anti-Putin and who would prefer a less truculent, less revanchist, and less oppressive government. It feeds Putin’s narrative that the US and the west hate Russia and Russians, not Putin per se. This helps Putin.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 4, 2017 @ 6:43 pm

  36. @Professor:

    “This over-the-top rabid Russia hating and propaganda will alienate even those Russians who are anti-Putin and who would prefer a less truculent, less revanchist, and less oppressive government. It feeds Putin’s narrative that the US and the west hate Russia and Russians, not Putin per se. This helps Putin.”

    Unless it doesn’t.

    The effect of “Russia hating” on Russians is within margin or error: those who are stupid enough to believe that “the US and the west hate Russia” will keep believing this under the influence of Russian TV alone, no matter if there is any “Russia hating” in the west, or if the west jumps onto Falcon Heavy and leaves for Mars for that matter.

    The effect of “Russia hating” in the US is that the administration will try not to supply substance to it by adopting clearly pro-Putin policies – as they will rightly expect to be accused of treason for doing the same things that would pass for infinite wisdom coming from Obama. Which makes Putin’s adventurism more likely to fail with a bang. Which is the only chance those anti-Putin Russians have of ever having a less oppressive government.

    Comment by Ivan — April 5, 2017 @ 1:58 pm

  37. @ warisill
    Putin’s crime was not accepting the kind of corruption money that Soros freely distributes and finds so many welcoming pockets in the White House and the Capital building and elsewhere in the US. That is the treasonous behavior that needs to be investigated publically.

    Aleays a mystery to me how these humble people who have dedicated themselves to public service in relatvely low paying jobs become so wealthy. Lucky at cards I guess.

    Comment by pahoben — April 5, 2017 @ 5:34 pm

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