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Putin's Worldview

YYW
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3/29/2014 12:39:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
First, I'm going to talk a bit about Putin's past/who he is. Secondly, I'm going to attempt to analyze what that past might mean . Thirdly, I'm going to loosely sketch a few of the most salient implications for Putin's worldview may have on international politics.

Putin attended Leningrad State University in 1975, and began work as a KGB intelligence officer. He was later stationed in the DDR (East Germany) until 1989. Putin briefly worked for the Mayor of Leningrad in the early 1990s, where his political acumen began to show. Later, Putin worked for Boris Yeltsin's administration and was in charge of federal relations with regional government. Putin later would be promoted to Yeltsin's cabinet. Following Yeltsin's resignation in 1999, Putin was appointed president until elections in early 2000, which he won. After the 9/11 attacks, Putin historically announced Russia's commitment to stand with the United States in a global war on terror. Putin was reelected in 2004, but term limited by the Russian constitution to only serve two consecutive terms. He appointed Dmitry Medvedev to take his place, whereupon Putin relegated himself to the auspicious role of Prime Minister. Putin would later run for reelection in 2012, and win again.

Since Putin's 2012 election, he has taken a number of political measures which were unfavorable to Washington and the United States. In 2012, Putin made it illegal for Americans to adopt Russian children. Putin likewise offered asylum to Edward Snowden, who leaked highly classified documents revealing the scope and extent of the NSA's domestic and global surveillance. Putin likewise passed what may be the most homophobic law in the Western world, which made it illegal in Russia to discuss homosexuality in the presence of minors.

In late 2013 Putin facilitated the Assad Regime's circumventing Barack Obama's "red line" in response to Assad's using chemical weapons against innocent civilians. Putin and his foreign minister (Sergey Lavrov) were internationally credited as having diplomatically resolved an intensely precarious geopolitical crisis in Syria. Putin maintained that Assad did not use chemical weapons against civilians, that the chemical weapons attacks were perpetrated by Syrian rebel factions (some of whom had ties to Al Qaeda) and argued then that any effort to punish the Assad regime for its crimes against humanity would be misguided. Putin's claims stand counter to the internationally recognized findings of all major Western intelligence communities, the official positions of Washington, London, Paris, Berlin and UN investigators.

Putin won the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia. Despite the nearly $50b USD spent on the games, Sochi was hardly equipped to handle the crowds. Shortly following the olympic's conclusion, Putin ordered non-uniformed Russian troops into Crimea. Putin's aggression marked the single greatest geopolitical crisis between East and West since the end of the Cold War. Putin and many Russians believed that Crimea's rightful place was in Russia because the Crimean region was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 by Khruschev. Ukraine and the West regarded it as, paraphrasing US Secretary of State John Kerry, an unwarranted exercise of '19th century aggression'.

It is salient to note that Putin is the child of a fallen Soviet empire. He regards Moscow's place in the world as having waned since 1989, and having deteriorated since 1991. He regards NATO as an imminent threat to Russian economic interests and Russian national security and believes that any influence the United States or Western Europe exerts in post-Soviet bloc nations and most parts of the Middle East comes necessarily at Moscow's expense. Essentially, Putin views political power through a zero-sum framework and has therefore sought to expand Russian influence wherever possible.

Writing in the New York Times, Mikheil Saakashvili (former Georgian president with his own personal share of experiences with Putin's imperialistic tendencies) wrote that "Czar Vladimir's" Russia is "crippled by crime and corruption." Putin described the USSR's dissolution as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century" and therefore Putin's objective in Eastern Europe today is to "restore the past" and recreate the fallen Soviet empire. If Putin's 2008 invasion of Georgia and 2014 invasion of Crimea are any indicators, it would seem as if Czar Vladimir is making progress to that end.

While Barack Obama and his administration have made efforts to facilitate a "reset" of US-Russian relations since shortly after Obama's election in 2008, those efforts have proven more or less futile. John McCain wrote in a New York Times opinion piece that

"For Mr. Putin, vacillation invites aggression. His world is a brutish, cynical place, where power is worshiped, weakness is despised, and all rivalries are zero-sum. He sees the fall of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." He does not accept that Russia"s neighbors, least of all Ukraine, are independent countries. To him, they are Russia"s "near abroad" and must be brought back under Moscow"s dominion by any means necessary."

But, as Tom Friedman adroitly observed:

"Any man who actually believes, as Putin has said, that the breakup of the Soviet Union was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century is caught up in a dangerous fantasy that can"t end well for him or his people... For a long time, Putin has exploited the humiliation and anti-Western attitudes NATO expansion triggered to gain popularity, but this seems to have become so fundamental to his domestic politics that it has locked him into a zero-sum relationship with the West that makes it hard to see how we collaborate with him in more serious trouble spots, like Syria or Iran."

Ostensibly, there is tremendous irony in Putin's methodology. While he is able to manipulate the Russian people though his propaganda machine, RT (previously known as Russia Today), the West has looked upon Putin's most recent actions with insurmountable scorn. Indeed, to the extent that Putin (or any major world leader) violates international norms, their credibly on the world stage precipitously erodes -and Putin's actions will ultimately result in Russia's isolation from the world. Early signs of that isolation can be found in Russia's being ousted from the elite Group of 8, which is now the Group of 7. Russia has been subject to preliminary sanctions by the United States and Europe, and Russia's place in the world will continue to erode as Czar Vladimir continues to use 19th century political maneuvers to restore a fallen 20th century empire in 21st century international politics.
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Jifpop09
Posts: 2,243
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3/30/2014 12:04:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/29/2014 12:39:47 PM, YYW wrote:
First, I'm going to talk a bit about Putin's past/who he is. Secondly, I'm going to attempt to analyze what that past might mean . Thirdly, I'm going to loosely sketch a few of the most salient implications for Putin's worldview may have on international politics.

Putin attended Leningrad State University in 1975, and began work as a KGB intelligence officer. He was later stationed in the DDR (East Germany) until 1989. Putin briefly worked for the Mayor of Leningrad in the early 1990s, where his political acumen began to show. Later, Putin worked for Boris Yeltsin's administration and was in charge of federal relations with regional government. Putin later would be promoted to Yeltsin's cabinet. Following Yeltsin's resignation in 1999, Putin was appointed president until elections in early 2000, which he won. After the 9/11 attacks, Putin historically announced Russia's commitment to stand with the United States in a global war on terror. Putin was reelected in 2004, but term limited by the Russian constitution to only serve two consecutive terms. He appointed Dmitry Medvedev to take his place, whereupon Putin relegated himself to the auspicious role of Prime Minister. Putin would later run for reelection in 2012, and win again.

Since Putin's 2012 election, he has taken a number of political measures which were unfavorable to Washington and the United States. In 2012, Putin made it illegal for Americans to adopt Russian children. Putin likewise offered asylum to Edward Snowden, who leaked highly classified documents revealing the scope and extent of the NSA's domestic and global surveillance. Putin likewise passed what may be the most homophobic law in the Western world, which made it illegal in Russia to discuss homosexuality in the presence of minors.

In late 2013 Putin facilitated the Assad Regime's circumventing Barack Obama's "red line" in response to Assad's using chemical weapons against innocent civilians. Putin and his foreign minister (Sergey Lavrov) were internationally credited as having diplomatically resolved an intensely precarious geopolitical crisis in Syria. Putin maintained that Assad did not use chemical weapons against civilians, that the chemical weapons attacks were perpetrated by Syrian rebel factions (some of whom had ties to Al Qaeda) and argued then that any effort to punish the Assad regime for its crimes against humanity would be misguided. Putin's claims stand counter to the internationally recognized findings of all major Western intelligence communities, the official positions of Washington, London, Paris, Berlin and UN investigators.

Putin won the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia. Despite the nearly $50b USD spent on the games, Sochi was hardly equipped to handle the crowds. Shortly following the olympic's conclusion, Putin ordered non-uniformed Russian troops into Crimea. Putin's aggression marked the single greatest geopolitical crisis between East and West since the end of the Cold War. Putin and many Russians believed that Crimea's rightful place was in Russia because the Crimean region was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 by Khruschev. Ukraine and the West regarded it as, paraphrasing US Secretary of State John Kerry, an unwarranted exercise of '19th century aggression'.

It is salient to note that Putin is the child of a fallen Soviet empire. He regards Moscow's place in the world as having waned since 1989, and having deteriorated since 1991. He regards NATO as an imminent threat to Russian economic interests and Russian national security and believes that any influence the United States or Western Europe exerts in post-Soviet bloc nations and most parts of the Middle East comes necessarily at Moscow's expense. Essentially, Putin views political power through a zero-sum framework and has therefore sought to expand Russian influence wherever possible.

Writing in the New York Times, Mikheil Saakashvili (former Georgian president with his own personal share of experiences with Putin's imperialistic tendencies) wrote that "Czar Vladimir's" Russia is "crippled by crime and corruption." Putin described the USSR's dissolution as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century" and therefore Putin's objective in Eastern Europe today is to "restore the past" and recreate the fallen Soviet empire. If Putin's 2008 invasion of Georgia and 2014 invasion of Crimea are any indicators, it would seem as if Czar Vladimir is making progress to that end.

While Barack Obama and his administration have made efforts to facilitate a "reset" of US-Russian relations since shortly after Obama's election in 2008, those efforts have proven more or less futile. John McCain wrote in a New York Times opinion piece that

"For Mr. Putin, vacillation invites aggression. His world is a brutish, cynical place, where power is worshiped, weakness is despised, and all rivalries are zero-sum. He sees the fall of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." He does not accept that Russia"s neighbors, least of all Ukraine, are independent countries. To him, they are Russia"s "near abroad" and must be brought back under Moscow"s dominion by any means necessary."

But, as Tom Friedman adroitly observed:

"Any man who actually believes, as Putin has said, that the breakup of the Soviet Union was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century is caught up in a dangerous fantasy that can"t end well for him or his people... For a long time, Putin has exploited the humiliation and anti-Western attitudes NATO expansion triggered to gain popularity, but this seems to have become so fundamental to his domestic politics that it has locked him into a zero-sum relationship with the West that makes it hard to see how we collaborate with him in more serious trouble spots, like Syria or Iran."

Ostensibly, there is tremendous irony in Putin's methodology. While he is able to manipulate the Russian people though his propaganda machine, RT (previously known as Russia Today), the West has looked upon Putin's most recent actions with insurmountable scorn. Indeed, to the extent that Putin (or any major world leader) violates international norms, their credibly on the world stage precipitously erodes -and Putin's actions will ultimately result in Russia's isolation from the world. Early signs of that isolation can be found in Russia's being ousted from the elite Group of 8, which is now the Group of 7. Russia has been subject to preliminary sanctions by the United States and Europe, and Russia's place in the world will continue to erode as Czar Vladimir continues to use 19th century political maneuvers to restore a fallen 20th century empire in 21st century international politics.

Oh sweet, you made it. I am concerned with his attempts to retake areas in the iron curtain.
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YYW
Posts: 36,252
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3/30/2014 12:49:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 12:04:27 AM, Jifpop09 wrote:
Oh sweet, you made it. I am concerned with his attempts to retake areas in the iron curtain.

Elaborate.
Tsar of DDO
Jifpop09
Posts: 2,243
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3/30/2014 1:00:34 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 12:49:50 AM, YYW wrote:
At 3/30/2014 12:04:27 AM, Jifpop09 wrote:
Oh sweet, you made it. I am concerned with his attempts to retake areas in the iron curtain.

Elaborate.

For example, you don't find the Russians moving in land into Georgia, Moldova, and Crimea aren't suspicious. Come on, they have obvious territorial ambitions, and these puppet states are a clear indicator. We probably wont get a response on the Transinistria request until after the Crimean crisis comes to a conclusion. If you ask me, they want complete access to the Black Sea, and its going to happen to Armenia next.

The problem of sanctioning Russian oil though, is that it causes islamic fascist states to in return raise their prices.
Leader of the DDO Revolution Party
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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3/30/2014 1:12:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 1:00:34 AM, Jifpop09 wrote:
At 3/30/2014 12:49:50 AM, YYW wrote:
At 3/30/2014 12:04:27 AM, Jifpop09 wrote:
Oh sweet, you made it. I am concerned with his attempts to retake areas in the iron curtain.

Elaborate.

For example, you don't find the Russians moving in land into Georgia, Moldova, and Crimea aren't suspicious. Come on, they have obvious territorial ambitions, and these puppet states are a clear indicator. We probably wont get a response on the Transinistria request until after the Crimean crisis comes to a conclusion. If you ask me, they want complete access to the Black Sea, and its going to happen to Armenia next.

The problem of sanctioning Russian oil though, is that it causes islamic fascist states to in return raise their prices.

Russia is pretty closely allied with Armenia, as is Iran. Russia has a military presence in the country already, and Armenia has very icy relations with Turkey, making any NATO allegiance highly unlikely. What makes you think they'd need to invade them?
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Jifpop09
Posts: 2,243
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3/30/2014 1:19:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/30/2014 1:12:47 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 3/30/2014 1:00:34 AM, Jifpop09 wrote:
At 3/30/2014 12:49:50 AM, YYW wrote:
At 3/30/2014 12:04:27 AM, Jifpop09 wrote:
Oh sweet, you made it. I am concerned with his attempts to retake areas in the iron curtain.

Elaborate.

For example, you don't find the Russians moving in land into Georgia, Moldova, and Crimea aren't suspicious. Come on, they have obvious territorial ambitions, and these puppet states are a clear indicator. We probably wont get a response on the Transinistria request until after the Crimean crisis comes to a conclusion. If you ask me, they want complete access to the Black Sea, and its going to happen to Armenia next.

The problem of sanctioning Russian oil though, is that it causes islamic fascist states to in return raise their prices.

Russia is pretty closely allied with Armenia, as is Iran. Russia has a military presence in the country already, and Armenia has very icy relations with Turkey, making any NATO allegiance highly unlikely. What makes you think they'd need to invade them?

They wont invade for no reason. They will wait for unrest or civil war, intervene, and establish a puppet nation in which only they recognize. The Russian Federation has used this tactic three times, so its likely they might just do it again.

As for Armenian relations with Turkey, I do realize that things are icy since the genocide, but their relations with Azerbaijan are worst. They would rather join NATO then face another conflict with Azerbaijan. It probably wont happen anytime soon, or maybe ever, but its a possibility.
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