Streetwise Professor

March 18, 2021

Putin on the Brain–Assuming Biden Has a Functioning Brain

Filed under: China,Politics,Russia — cpirrong @ 7:10 pm

Low oil prices, economic malaise (with stagnating GDP and declining real personal income), and demographic decline have combined to enervate Russia, and undermine Russian power. Seven years ago Putin invaded Crimea, and was top of the world, ma!–now he is a peripheral nuisance, far more focused on internal issues and concerns over succession and legacy, with an occasional turn at playing international spoiler.

But he looms large in the imaginations of American Democrats. He is the bogeyman who is the root of all evil. His machinations made Trump president, right? What could be worse than that? To this day, the American intelligence community (proving yet again that phrase to be an oxymoron) claims that he intervened in the 2020 election (yet provides absolutely no factual basis to support that claim). Everything bad in the world, they trace back to Putin. They have Putin on the brain.

Get real people. Putin reached his zenith in 2008: indeed, I can date it almost exactly to 8/8/8, with the invasion of Georgia. Thereafter, the financial crisis and the concomitant crash in oil prices gutted Russia’s economy, and put paid to Putin’s plan to exploit high energy prices to propel Russia back to being a superpower. The succeeding 12+ years have been a litany stagnation interrupted by periods of severe depression. Putin and Russia have been marginalized–objectively, anyways.

But Biden–with a big assist from the handmaiden media that has been flogging the Putin-as-Voldemort line since 2016–handed Putin an opportunity to get attention and twist America’s tail. In an interview with George Stephanopolous, simulacrum president Joe Biden agreed when asked whether Putin was “a killer.”

Putin didn’t miss a beat. He trolled Biden brilliantly. He turned the other cheek, and wished Biden good health:

This was no doubt a jab at the fact that Biden is clearly anything but healthy.

He challenged Biden to a debate, mano a mano:

That would be a riot: I would pay large $ to watch that on PPV. And quite frankly, Putin would trounce Biden, even if this “open direct discussion” was in English, given the simulacrum president’s obvious mental decline. And don’t think for a moment that Putin is not well-informed (better than Americans, certainly) about Biden’s actually physical and mental condition, which emboldens them to propose something he knows Biden (or more realistically, his puppeteers) could never agree to. (Ironically, the hysteria over Russian hacking gives great credence to this claim.)

I don’t think Obama did a lot of things right, but largely ignoring Putin was one of them. (Though he was an idiot in trying to play up the hapless Medvedev.) The obsessive attention that Democrats have given Putin post-Obama elevates his prestige and importance far beyond what the correlation of forces would justify.

So Biden gives Putin a perfect opportunity to troll him, and you can’t believe for a second that Vova would pass on it.

The obsession with Putin and Russia is particularly perverse given that the real strategic challenger to the US is China: focusing on Russia is a distraction from the real threat. But whereas Biden believes that deference to “cultural norms” justify giving China justifies soft-pedaling what is arguably genocide and a host of other grotesque repressions orchestrated by Xi, he gives no such deference to Russia and Putin. So I guess only non-white dictators get a pass because of “cultural norms.” Pretty progressive, right?

Putin is a pain. He has malign intent. But whether someone is a threat depends on both intent and capability. Russia’s capability has been waning inexorably for over a decade. Obsessing on intent while capability erodes and the capability and bad intent of another actor (China) grow is idiotic. But that’s where we are. Putin is relevant primarily because Democrat obsessions make him so. Biden’s latest gaffe will only make it worse.

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  1. Fun fact: in Russia, US is the bogeyman. State-control media pedals anti-American propaganda all the time. Perhaps this distracts from the internal problems.

    As for China, IMHO explanation is simple: establishment, entangled with deep state and controlling media, successfully trampled pro-labor anti-globalist president to get back to making money. American establishment benefits from global aka with-China trade. China is largest foreign dollar holder. Since the moment Nixon sold our freedom for cheap jeans, this bizarre duopoly emerged and strengthened. So now China is essentially untouchable.

    What are they going to do: benefit from current situation or risk a divorce and mega dollar emission when China dumps reserves and switches to another currency?

    Comment by SK — March 18, 2021 @ 10:17 pm

  2. Biden and Putin, head to head on Joe Rogan Podcast. I wonder if there’s a timeline somewhere in the multiverse where that happens.

    Comment by Nikolai Vladivostok — March 19, 2021 @ 4:30 am

  3. The interest of the USA is to cuddle up to Russia to ensure that she does not ally herself with China. So why is the opposite policy pursued by the American Establishment?

    Dunno. Beats me.

    I know! The hidden, massive influence of Poland in the USA. That must be it.

    Comment by dearieme — March 19, 2021 @ 9:01 am

  4. The real strategic challenger to the US is American progressives.

    Comment by Pat Frank — March 19, 2021 @ 10:08 am

  5. @Dearieme: “The hidden, massive influence of Poland in the USA.”

    Yeah, either that or your brilliant idea is glittering rather less than you seem to believe.

    The Muscovite kleptocracy’s basic survival instinct will ensure non-alliance with China rather more effectively than anything the US might be able to do. This whole “threat of alliance with China” is nothing other than an ongoing Russian psyop in the hope of extracting some sort of cuddling-up from the West.

    Comment by Ivan — March 19, 2021 @ 3:11 pm

  6. I find it funny that during BLM protests many Russian propagandists were making fun of this movement ( which I can’t stand too). But after Biden called Putin killer, Putin returned to old soviet rhetoric about lynching of negroes in America. He said that to our days African Americans face injustice and extermination.

    Comment by mmt — March 19, 2021 @ 3:15 pm

  7. There is a saying I read about how Generals of at least one side start out fighting the last war, see Maginot Line. Perhaps it is not just Generals who hold onto old ways and old enemies. As someone who lives in not Kansas, ie the magical land of Oz, the idea that the US might be stupid enough to send an army into Russia to die terrifies me. This might be the logical extension of the economic war the US is already conducting, but more than one army has learned it is a mistake to march on Moscow.

    Comment by Peewhit — March 19, 2021 @ 5:06 pm

  8. Biden: ‘He’s a killer’

    Putin: ‘I wish you good health’

    Biden: [stacks it three times climbing a set of stairs]

    Karma? Or Vlad using psychic projection to show the Fake Pres the extent of his ‘killer’ powers?

    Either way, great stuff.

    Anyway, as you say Vlad’s trolling Biden by challenging him to a debate was perfect. There is no way Fake is up to it, while Vlad now speaks confidently and assertively in public fora – he’s comfortable and informed and doesn’t hold back. It would be a disaster for Fake.

    Can you believe they went to all that trouble to rig a presidential election to ensure this guy got the job? This was the best they could do?

    Also, Putin mentioned genocide of the indigenous people, as well as oppression of the black population. This is one of the go-to comments now, I am hearing it said a lot about Australia as well. I’ve challenged people to provide evidence in support of the claim and so far nothing. Doesn’t matter: it’s rhetoric, not logic. White people, white tribe, colonisers, genocide. Expect to hear it a lot.

    The whole geopolitical set-up makes no sense. As you say, China is clearly the main game, and they did the diplomatic equivalent of pantsing the two clowns sent up there to talk to them. The US’ usual strategy when faced with a challenging alliance is to find the fault-line, press on it, and ally with the weaker power against the stronger – a ‘Reverse Nixon’. So, what is the psychological trauma that prevents the US elites from seeing and acting on this? Why make a monster out of Putin, pushing him closer to China, while the real threat grows to the south-east?

    This really is puzzling. Who leaves money on the table like this, just because they don’t like the other guy? Is Vlad really any worse than baby-eating Joe Stalin? Something is up, something serious is going on behind the scenes for the Washington crowd to be making this big a mistake.

    The big event I’m waiting for is the invasion of Taiwan, or the sinking/shooting down of a US boat/plane in the South China Sea. You know it’s coming. It will be our generation’s ‘German mobilisation’ or ‘invasion of Czechoslovakia’ moment: the moment when everyone realises that it’s now on: the other guy is serious and the time for talk is over; and everyone starts arming up, going to confession and steeling themselves for what is to come.

    Comment by Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — March 20, 2021 @ 4:16 am

  9. Also:

    The Chinese are confident that the East is rising while the West is declining. This is certainly true in relative terms. And I think it accounts for much of the arrogance and aggression that the Chinese are displaying, which will only intensify.

    But I think like the Germans in 1914 they’ve miscalculated. The US looks like an absolute and complete clown world clusterfrack at the moment, probably due to there having been no external threat for 30 years causing everyone to fight over the prizes at home. But once the ‘invasion of Czechoslovakia’ moment arrives I suspect that will all change, and the elite and people will (mostly) unite. As well, the US has immense resources and for the moment a technological lead to draw on. I don’t think the Chinese realise what they’re getting themselves in for.

    And so history repeats, again.

    I suspect Putin will be happy to sit this one out.

    Comment by Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — March 20, 2021 @ 4:51 am

  10. @Peewhit

    The real danger is not that the US sends an army, but that it sends food unconditionally when Russian “great power” delusion naturally ends in starvation again. Thus allowing them to continue mass-murdering their neighbors with no “Nuremberg” prospective to worry about.

    Comment by Ivan — March 20, 2021 @ 5:06 am

  11. I can attest, at a personal level, that 8/8/08 was a turning point as I was living in Russia at the time. When I went to the office that day, the mood was very, very cold. People were talking about it, of course, but were very obviously avoiding me. I heard one snide remark, but otherwise everyone was civil. A seed was planted that day that perhaps it was becoming time to leave. For the first time, I felt uncomfortable there. To the end, everyone was good to me, but a wedge was clearly driven between us that was fully different than all the other divides our countries have had before. It seemed to cement their belief that they needed to go their own way, even to their detriment.

    Comment by Howard Roark — March 20, 2021 @ 8:59 am

  12. Simulacrum president – heh! Myself, every time I see Biden I think of von Hindenburg. Take your pick: either the senile old man signing the Enabling Act, or the “incident on NAS Lakehurst.”

    Comment by Michael — March 21, 2021 @ 8:18 am

  13. @Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break: I think that the end of the demographic dividend and the increasing difficulty of innovation-led GDP growth (vs. catch-up growth) will significantly curtail Chinese ambitions in the next 10-15 years. That, combined with China being more integrated with the global economy and world-order than the USSR ever was, might give us a good chance to never see an “invasion of Czechoslovakia” moment. Or so I hope anyway…

    Comment by HibernoFrog — March 22, 2021 @ 8:21 am

  14. I’m still waiting for Biden to deliver a beating to Vlad. That is if he can make up the stairs.

    Comment by The Pilot — March 23, 2021 @ 2:49 pm

  15. “ The real danger is not that the US sends an army, but that it sends food unconditionally when Russian “great power” delusion naturally ends in starvation again.”

    Note that Russia is a significant exporter of grains, soybeans, meat…

    Comment by rkka — March 24, 2021 @ 7:09 am

  16. “It will be our generation’s ‘German mobilisation’ or ‘invasion of Czechoslovakia’ moment: the moment when everyone realises that it’s now on: the other guy is serious and the time for talk is over; and everyone starts arming up, going to confession and steeling themselves for what is to come.”

    That moment didn’t actually occur until 10 May 1940. Up to 23 August 1939, Neville thought that Adolf was a sincere anticommunist. After 23 August 1939, Neville continued to believe in “…Germany and England as two pillars of European peace & buttresses against communism.” but would have no further dealings with Adolf. Before 10 May 1940, Brit bombers weren’t authorize to release bombs that might land on anything other than a German warship.

    Comment by rkka — March 24, 2021 @ 9:27 am

  17. @rkka

    “Note that Russia is a significant exporter of grains, soybeans, meat…”

    Note that this does not contradict anything I wrote. The USSR was a significant exporter of grains during at least one of the artificial famines.

    Comment by Ivan — March 24, 2021 @ 1:16 pm

  18. shutting the pipelines and suspending permits for future oil exploration, is a great reward for putin, or how did the joker put it, will the wagner corps be inconvenienced as in the last administration, will they still send offensive armaments to the ukraine, these are the tell tale signs,

    Comment by miguel cervantes — March 24, 2021 @ 3:41 pm

  19. “ Note that this does not contradict anything I wrote. The USSR was a significant exporter of grains during at least one of the artificial famines.”

    To purchase US factories during the Hoover Administration. This seems to upset you. It looks like you prefer that Russia had faced Adolf’s war of racial extermination without the weapons those factories produced.

    However, present Russian food exports do not seem to be causing Russians to starve at the moment.

    Comment by rkka — March 26, 2021 @ 1:14 am

  20. @rkka

    “It looks like you prefer that Russia had faced Adolf’s war of racial extermination without the weapons those factories produced.”

    I would prefer that Adolf had not been able to wage that war at all, and he would not be, but for the unwavering economic and military support of his allies from Moscow.

    But you are kinda illustrating my original point: after Nuremberg, it is not comme il faut among the Germans to explain away genocide by good reasons. Nothing short of will stop the Russians from repeating the vicious cycle indefinitely.

    Comment by Ivan — March 26, 2021 @ 7:58 am

  21. @Pat. That’s the internal enemy, and one objectively (and arguably subjectively) allied with China.

    Comment by cpirrong — March 31, 2021 @ 2:12 pm

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