How Realistic Is Putin?

How Realistic Is Putin?

Paul Craig Roberts

As readers know, I am concerned that Putin’s tolerance of a too-long-continuing-Ukraine-conflict is encouraging the conflict to spin-out-of-control.  I have written about this risk neglected by the Kremlin many times.  On February 27 I was interviewed by Finian Cunningham about this risk.  If the interview is posted online, I will link to it hopefully before it is taken down by the narrative controllers.

There is no doubt that I have been proven correct that the provocations, accepted by the Kremlin with only words in opposition, have increased in severity over the past two years.  

First the West would send to the Ukrainians helmets and sleeping bags.  Then small arms ammunition. Then artillery.  Tanks were mentioned, but Washington and NATO said, “never tanks.” Then tanks were sent. Then, after first being denied, drones and intermediate-range missiles. Then targeting information. Then mercenaries.  Then after being denied, now long-range missiles and US F-16s capable of penetrating deep into Russia herself far from the battlefront are under consideration.  And now the latest, the French President’s proposal to send NATO troops.  “We will never send troops,” declares NATO’s Stoltenberg. But all the denials previously were breached and meant nothing.

So the question before us is:  Has Putin reduced the threat of the conflict spinning out of control by fighting it on a low key basis limited to Donbass and the Russian areas, or has his low-key behavior convinced Washington’s neoconservatives that Putin is a paper tiger who will accept any provocation and any insult.  If the latter, the provocations will increase in severity until the conflict spins out of control.  Clearly from helmets to NATO troops is an immense escalation.  Putin understands that the West intends Russia’s destruction, so why does he prolong conflicts that provide opportunities for the West to expand conflict?

The Kremlin and the Western media whores see the fundamental issue as Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.  The neoconservatives who control US foreign policy seem to think that Putin will stand aside from this just as he did from being called by the President of the United States “the new Hitler” and “a son-of-a-bitch.” No American official of any rank ever spoke in public of Soviet leaders in such terms.  On his way to Reykjavik, Iceland, for his meeting with Gorbachev, Reagan told his entourage that one word of rudeness to the Soviet officials and you were fired on the spot.

Reagan’s goal was to end the Cold War, and he did.  It was the neoconservatives and the US military/security complex that restarted it.

As the deceased Steven Cohen and I emphasized, the threat of nuclear war today is much higher than during the Cold War.  In those years, leaders on both sides worked to reduce tensions and to achieve mutual security that would reduce the danger of nuclear confrontation.  I was part of the effort and perhaps I am one of a small handful of people  still alive who know and lived the experience. 

Once the Soviet Union collapsed when the Politburo placed Russian President Gorbachev under house arrest, the neoconservatives saw their chance at world hegemony and began their assault on Russia.  All of the security-enhancing  agreements worked out over the years of the Cold War were cancelled by Washington.

NATO’ Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is Washington’s puppet.  But he is not sufficiently stupid to knowingly start a war with Russia.  Who can possibly imagine Europe, which is incapable of protecting its own borders from being over-run by unarmed immigrant-invaders, possibly fighting Russia.  The war, if Putin could bring himself to fight it, would be over in a few minutes.

But Stoltenberg, Washington, and Washington’s EU puppet states can start a deadly war by being ever so clever.  Instead of making Ukraine a member of NATO, a red line that not even Putin can accept, the individual NATO countries are signing bilateral security agreements with Ukraine. Both Germany and the British have signed such agreements, and more EU territorial entities (towers of babel no longer nations) have such agreements in the works. 

What his means is that NATO itself doesn’t send troops, but the individual members do.  Why does this matter? It is still a war between Europe and England against Russia.

So again I ask my question:  Why does Putin encourage worsening provocations?  Why does he see Ukraine’s membership in NATO as a red line, a real one instead of Putin’s many-words-only red lines, and why does he think bilateral security agreements between European countries and Ukraine are any different from Ukraine’s membership in NATO?

It is Putin’s refusal to impose restraint on a weak and collapsing West that is leading to nuclear Armageddon.  I am not writing because I want a Russian victory.  I am writing because I do not want nuclear Armageddon. The West is unreasonable. Putin still thinks he can reason with the West.  This is a mistake that is fatal for mankind.



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