Thursday, November 03, 2016

Postmodem Putin

Great article

...the unanimous [Really? Unanimous?] view out of Moscow, regardless of analysts’ political proclivities, whether they hate Putin or love him. [is that] The desired result in this election has not necessarily been the presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, he seems to them to be rather disposable. The mission is sowing disruption, chaos. And in doing that, Putin will have accomplished something for himself, regardless of who wins next week: a deeply fractured American system, once held up as a shining alternative to Moscow’s style of power, now tarnished beyond recognition.

[All true: that's Putin's mission and regardless of the outcome on Tuesday, that is what he has gotten:
"a deeply fractured American tarnished beyond recognition" that cannot be used to shame Putin with.]

Even more importantly, Putin will have shown himself to be able to project power far beyond where anyone would have suspected. It’s no longer just in his backyard, like in Georgia and Ukraine — not even in the Middle East. Putin is now able to bring his tactics of asymmetric warfare deep into the belly of his greatest foe, the world’s last superpower. “Putin wants to show himself as a player who can’t be forced to do what America wants and that he can do what he needs, whether the others like it or not,” says independent political analyst Masha Lipman. “Today, everyone understands that you might not like Russia, you might hate it, you might be scared of it, you might want to punish it, but you can’t do anything about it. It can do what it wants. For Putin, Russia’s place in the world is extremely important, both symbolically and practically.”

“Of course we like what Trump says,” [Sergei, head of pro-Putin think tank and the deputy head of the international cooperation committee in the Civic Chamber.]Markov affirms. “We have a sense here that there are realists standing behind his back and that this coterie of internationalists and neocons that we’re so sick of, we hope that he’ll shake them up.”

[Like the Mad Jewish woman, like the Mad Irish woman, like the Mad African-American Woman, like all those responsible for NATO's expansion.]
“[Trump's] not very experienced, so he will be unpredictable,” Markov went on. “He has a strong super ego, and he might become a hostage to his promise to be a cool guy, even cooler than Putin. Because that’s why he praises Putin, not because of his policies, but because he’s a cool guy, and I worry that Trump is going to be constantly trying to prove that he’s a cool guy.”

[The Russians have made a thorough analysis of Trump's psyche, of which this "strong super ego" stuff is just the tip. I do not understand the "cool guy" analysis, though. Cool like not rash or cool like a rock star? "Hostage to his promise to be a cool guy"?...I don't understand. Whatever meaning to "cool," why would that cause a Putin-ik "worry"? I don't understand.]

“If Trump wins, of course they’ll drink champagne in the Kremlin..."says former Putin advisor and political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky. “...the election of Trump will lead to more chaos. But that’s what we’re selling — chaos.”

If Clinton wins, Putin won’t mind that he’ll be dealing with a president who had to climb over a mountain of Kremlin propaganda and interference to get to the White House.
“They never believed Trump would win,” says Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist and associate professor at RENEPA. “Every indicator was always clear that Clinton would win. So [the Putiniks] need to show her that we’re always nearby, in your phone and your email, breathing down your neck.” 

[Again, the deep psychology that this hints at.]

Clinton’s hawkishness toward Moscow, and her bad blood with Putin, is not necessarily a bad thing for Russia. She will continue proving a convenient foil, the image of a warmongering United States bent on humiliating Russia. On a political, practical level, she’s a known quantity. “She’s just a continuation of a trend,” Markov says. “When she was secretary of state, you couldn’t call her an extremist.” Her presidency would just mean more of the same stagnant standoff between Moscow and Washington..."

 [Independent political analyst Masha Lipman]: "There is stagnant thinking on both sides. It’s all too far gone; no one is making any compromises. The American establishment only talks about punishing Russia, 

[True! When is the end date on Ukraine sanctions?]

and Putin just says you’re provoking us 

[What, by sanctions? What did sanctions provoke Putin to do? Shoot down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine? Bomb the UN convoy in Syria?]

and we’re the only ones with the right policy. It’s hard to imagine that Putin and the administration of Hillary Clinton will overcome this. We have a long confrontation ahead, and things will continue to rot until a new generation of politicians come[s] to the fore.”
“Moscow understands that the level of unpredictability in American politics is going up in any case,” Markov says. Trump is anti-establishment and unpredictable, and “Clinton will be under constant threat of impeachment, 

[For what? The emails? No.] 

and she will be forced to overcome this challenge. Plus, she’s very hysterical.… 

["Hysterical"? Really? When?]

Both will be in conflict with Congress, which is good,” Markov says. “Let them focus on domestic politics. The less they focus on foreign policy, the better for the rest of the world.”

[I admit to thinking, and I have written these thoughts, that the rest of the world, and America, would be better off if we weren't pivoting hither and yon and just stayed home.]
“It doesn’t matter who’s president,” Lipman says. “Any kind of turmoil or internal split that’s hard to overcome, that is good for Russia. If your powerful opponent is disabled from within, it works to your advantage...." ...They said our elections are no good, but look at their elections, look at this much-touted democracy. That is much more important than a single person. Everything that’s happening around the elections in the U.S. — belief in the system isn’t as strong as everyone thought, got two candidates no one likes, the system doesn’t work! It’s not a shining city on a hill.… That’s very useful for Russia.”
“This is that trick of postmodernism,” Schulmann says, “where the idea isn’t to show that there is one truth and it’s yours, but to water down the idea of truth, paint a picture of a world where there are no moral standards... [Then] it’s only important which side you’re on. And if everyone’s the same, then you play for your own team.”

[Look at you, talking about postmodernism and contingent truth! That is the pragmatist's, the "realist's" mantra. As is "there are no moral standards." It's the "You're an asshole, I'm an asshole" variation on "I'm Ok, you're ok." Tres Russian! That is what the Russian universe-view has been since 1917. And that is its fatal flaw, that is why Russia, whether the Soviet Union or the Federation, has always failed. They cannot win an argument of ideas, can't win "the battle for the hearts and minds" because they have no heart, no soul with a moral compass. They can only win battles by force.

I am extremely impressed by the Russian intellectual rigor and depth here. Especially, the psycho-analysis! The vast majority of the analysis rings absolutely true. Truly, well done. Great article by fp.]