Will Putin Lead Us To World War III, Or Die Trying?

30 07 2022

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The UK’s Economist has a comprehensive article or editorial about Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his “grand designs,” which is worth reading in its entirety:

What matters most in Moscow these days is what is missing.  Nobody speaks openly of the war in Ukraine.  The word is banned and talk is dangerous.  The only trace of the fighting going on 1,000km to the south is advertising hoardings covered with portraits of heroic soldiers.  And yet Russia is in the midst of a war.

In the same way, Moscow has no torch processions.  Displays of the half-swastika “z” sign, representing support for the war, are rare.  Stormtroopers do not stage pogroms.  Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ageing dictator, does not rally crowds of ecstatic youth or call for mass mobilisation.  And yet Russia is in the grip of fascism.

Just as Moscow conceals its war behind a “special military operation”, so it conceals its fascism behind a campaign to eradicate “Nazis” in Ukraine.  Nevertheless Timothy Snyder, a professor at Yale University, detects the tell-tale symptoms: “People disagree, often vehemently, over what constitutes fascism,” he wrote recently in the New York Times, “but today’s Russia meets most of the criteria.”

The Kremlin has built a cult of personality around Mr Putin and a cult of the dead around the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.  Mr Putin’s regime yearns to restore a lost golden age and for Russia to be purged by healing violence.  You could add to Mr Snyder’s list a hatred of homosexuality, a fixation with the traditional family and a fanatical faith in the power of the state.  None of these come naturally in a secular country with a strong anarchist streak and permissive views on sex.

Understanding where Russia is going under Mr Putin means understanding where it has come from.  For much of his rule, the West saw Russia as a mafia state presiding over an atomised society.  That was not wrong, but it was incomplete.  A decade ago Mr Putin’s popularity began to wane.  He responded by drawing on the fascist thinking that had re-emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This may have begun as a political calculation, but Mr Putin got caught up in a cycle of grievance and resentment that has left reason far behind.  It has culminated in a ruinous war that many thought would never happen precisely because it defied the weighing of risks and rewards.

Under Mr Putin’s form of fascism, Russia is set on a course that knows no turning back.  Without the rhetoric of victimhood and the use of violence, Mr Putin has nothing to offer his people.  For Western democracies this onward march means that, while he is in power, dealings with Russia will be riven by hostility and contempt.  Some in the West want a return to business as usual once the war is over, but there can be no true peace with a fascist Russia.

For Ukraine, this means a long war.  Mr Putin’s aim is not only to take territory, but to crush the democratic ideal that is flourishing among Russia’s neighbours and their sense of separate national identity.  He cannot afford to lose.  Even if there is a ceasefire, he is intent on making Ukraine fail, with a fresh use of force if necessary.  It means that he will use violence and totalitarianism to impose his will at home.  He is not only out to crush a free Ukraine, but is also waging war against the best dreams of his own people.  So far he is winning.

War is peace

What is Russian fascism?  The F word is often tossed around casually.  It has no settled definition, but it feeds on exceptionalism and ressentiment, a mixture of jealousy and frustration born out of humiliation.  In Russia’s case, the source of this humiliation is not defeat by foreign powers, but abuse suffered by the people at the hands of their own rulers.  Deprived of agency and fearful of the authorities, they seek compensation in an imaginary revenge against enemies appointed by the state.

Fascism involves performances—think of all those rallies and uniforms—laced with the thrill of real violence.  In all its varieties, Mr Snyder says, it is characterised by the triumph of the will over reason.  His essay was entitled “We should say it. Russia is fascist”.  In fact the first to talk about it were Russians themselves.  One of them was Yegor Gaidar, the first post-Soviet prime minister.  In 2007 he saw a spectre rising from Russia’s post-imperial nostalgia.  “Russia is going through a dangerous phase,” he wrote.  “We should not succumb to the magic of numbers but the fact that there was a 15-year gap between the collapse of the German Empire and Hitler’s rise to power and 15 years between the collapse of the USSR and Russia in 2006-07 makes one think…”

By 2014 Boris Nemtsov, another liberal politician, was clear: “Aggression and cruelty are stoked by the television while the key definitions are supplied by the slightly possessed Kremlin master… The Kremlin is cultivating and rewarding the lowest instincts in people, provoking hatred and fighting.  This hell cannot end peacefully.”

A year later Nemtsov, by then labelled a “national traitor”, was murdered beside the Kremlin.  In his final interview, a few hours before his death, he warned that “Russia is rapidly turning into a fascist state.  We already have propaganda modelled after Nazi Germany.  We also have a nucleus of assault brigades… That’s just the beginning.”

Nobody has signalled the growing influence of fascism more loudly than Mr Putin and his acolytes.  Far from Moscow’s prosperous streets, the Kremlin has marked tanks, people and television channels with the letter Z.  The half-swastika has been painted on the doors of Russian film and theatre critics, promoters of “decadent and degenerate” Western art.  Hospital patients and groups of children, some kneeling, have been arranged to form half-swastikas for posting online.

In the 1930s Walter Benjamin, an exiled German cultural critic, analysed fascism as a performance.  “The logical result of fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life,” he wrote.  These aesthetics were designed to supplant reason and their ultimate expression was war.

Today the two faces of the war on television, Vladimir Solovyov and Olga Skabeeva, are caricatures of Nazi propagandists.  Mr Solovyov is often dressed in a black double-breasted Bavarian-style jacket.  Ms Skabeeva, severe and chiselled, has a hint of the dominatrix.  They project hatred and aggression.  They and their guests decry the West for having declared war on Russia and plead theatrically with Mr Putin to reduce it to ashes by unleashing the full might of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

This fantasy Armageddon is matched by real violence, the basis of the relationship between the Russian state and its people.  A Levada poll commissioned by Committee Against Torture (now itself blacklisted) showed that 10% of the Russian population has experienced torture by law-enforcement agencies at some point.  There is a culture of cruelty.  Domestic abuse is no longer a crime in Russia.  In the first week of the war young women protesters were humiliated and sexually abused in police cells.  Nearly 30% of Russians say torture should be allowed.

Atrocities committed by the Russian army in Bucha and other occupied cities are not just excesses of war or a breakdown in discipline, but a feature of army life that is spread more widely by veterans.  The 64th Motor Rifle Brigade, which allegedly carried out the atrocities, was honoured by Mr Putin with the title of “Guards” for defending the “motherland and state interests” and praised for its “mass heroism and valour, tenacity and courage”.  The brigade, based in the far east, is notorious in Russia for its bullying and abuse.

Like much else coming from the Kremlin, fascism is a top-down project, a move by the ruling elite rather than a grassroots movement.  It requires passive acceptance rather than mobilisation of the masses.  Its aim is to disengage people and prevent any form of self-organisation.  The Kremlin and television bosses can turn it up and down.  In the early years of his presidency Mr Putin used money to keep the people out of politics.  After the economy stalled in 2011-12 and the urban middle class came out on the streets to demand more rights, he stoked nationalism and hatred.  During the political calm after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 fascism was turned down as suddenly as it had come up.

Its resurgence in 2021-22 followed the decline in Mr Putin’s legitimacy, protests against the poisoning and arrest of Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader, and the growing alienation of younger Russians who are less susceptible to television propaganda and more open to the West.  To them Mr Putin was an ageing, vengeful and corrupt grandpa who had a secret palace exposed by Mr Navalny’s much-watched YouTube film in 2021.  Mr Putin needed to turn the volume back up again and Ukraine offered him the means.

Freedom is slavery

Russian fascism has deep roots, going all the way back to the early 20th century.  Fascist ideas flourished among White émigrés after the Bolshevik revolution and they were partly re-imported to the Soviet Union by Stalin after the war.  He feared that a victory over fascism, won with America and Britain, would empower and liberate his own people.  So he turned Soviet success into the triumph of totalitarianism and Russian imperial nationalism.  He re-branded war allies as enemies and fascists hellbent on destroying the Soviet Union and depriving it of its glory.

In the decades that followed, fascism was constrained by official communist ideology and by Russians’ personal experience of fighting the Nazis alongside the Western allies.  After the Soviet collapse, however, both of these constraints disappeared and the dark matter was released.  In addition, the liberal elite of the 1990s completely rejected the old Soviet values, sweeping away a strong tradition of anti-fascist literature and arts.

All the while fascism had festered undercover, within the KGB.  In the late 1990s Alexander Yakovlev, the architect of democratic reforms under Mikhail Gorbachev, talked openly about the security services as a cradle of fascism.  “The danger of fascism in Russia is real because since 1917 we have become used to living in a criminal world with a criminal state in charge.  Banditry, sanctified by ideology—this wording suits both communists and fascists.”

Such ambiguity was on full display in “Seventeen Moments of Spring”, a hugely popular 12-part television series made on the KGB’s orders in the 1970s.  On the face of it, the series was nothing more than an attempt to rebrand the Stalinist secret police.  Yuri Andropov, then KGB chief and later Soviet leader, wanted to glamorise Soviet spies and attract a new generation of young men into the service.  As it turned out, the programmes helped introduce a Nazi aesthetic into Russia’s popular culture—an aesthetic that would eventually be exploited by Mr Putin.

The hero is a fictional Soviet spy who infiltrates the Nazi high command under the name Max Otto von Stierlitz.  He is a high-ranking Standartenführer in the SS, whose mission is to foil a secret plan forged between the CIA and Germany near the end of the war.  Played by the best-loved Soviet actors, the Nazis in the film are humane and attractive.  Vyacheslav Tikhonov, who played the role of Stierlitz, was a model of male perfection.  Tall and handsome, with perfect cheekbones, he shone in a sleek Nazi uniform that had been tailored in the Soviet defence ministry.

Ordinary Russians were mesmerised.  Dmitry Prigov, a Russian artist and poet, wrote: “Our wonderful Stierlitz is the perfect fascist man and the perfect Soviet man at the same time, making transgressive transitions from one to the other with subduing and untraceable ease… He is the harbinger of a new age—a time of mobility and manipulativeness.”

Mr Putin was the beneficiary.  In 1999, just before he was named as Russia’s president, voters told pollsters that Stierlitz would be one of their ideal choices for the office, behind Georgy Zhukov, the Red Army’s commander in the second world war.  Mr Putin, a former KGB man who had been stationed in East Germany, had cultivated the image of a latter-day Stierlitz.

When VTSIOM, one of the pollsters, repeated the exercise in 2019, Stierlitz came in first place.  “An inversion has occurred,” the pollsters said.  “In 1999 Putin seemed the preferred candidate because he looked like Stierlitz; in 2019 the image of Stierlitz remains relevant because it is being implemented by the country’s most popular politician.”  On June 24th this year a statue to Stierlitz was unveiled in front of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) headquarters that was part of the Soviet KGB.

For Mr Putin, the fascist aesthetic is matched by a distinctively Russian fascist philosophy.  He and most of his former KGB peers embraced capitalism and rallied against liberals and socialists. They also projected the humiliation they had suffered in the first post-Soviet decade onto the whole country, portraying the end of the cold war as a betrayal and defeat.

Their prophet is Ivan Ilyin, a thinker of the early 20th century who was sent into exile by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s and embraced fascism in Italy and Germany.  Ilyin saw fascism as a “necessary and inevitable phenomenon…based on a healthy sense of national patriotism”.  He provided justification for their self-appointed role as the state’s guardians.  As such, they were entitled to control its resources.

After the second world war, Ilyin rejected what he saw as Hitler’s errors, such as atheism, and his crimes, including the extermination of the Jews.  But he retained his faith in the fascist idea of national resurgence.  In 1948 he wrote that “fascism is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon and, historically speaking, far from being outlived.”  Accordingly, Mr Putin embraced religion, rejected anti-Semitism and eschewed collective leadership for his own direct rule, confirmed by plebiscites.

Ilyin’s book, “Our Tasks”, was recommended by the Kremlin as essential reading to state officials in 2013.  It ends with a short essay to a future Russian leader.  Western-style democracy and elections would bring ruin to Russia, Ilyin wrote.  Only “united and strong state power, dictatorial in scope and state-national in essence” could save it from chaos.

The Ilyin work Mr Putin is said to have read and reread is “What Dismemberment of Russia Would Mean for the World”, written in 1950.  In it the author argues that Western powers will try “to carry out their hostile and ridiculous experiment even in the post-Bolshevik chaos, deceptively presenting it as the supreme triumph of ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and ‘federalism’… German propaganda has invested too much money and effort in Ukrainian separatism (and maybe not only Ukrainian)”.

In 2005, following the first popular uprising in Ukraine, known as the Orange revolution, Mr Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.  Drawing on anti-Ukrainian feelings in Russia, he then set his country on a path of confrontation with the West.  That same year Ilyin’s body was brought back to Russia from Switzerland, where he had died in exile in 1954.  Mr Putin reportedly paid for the gravestone from his own savings.  In 2009 he laid flowers on Ilyin’s grave.

Ignorance is strength

The fact that Mr Putin has embraced fascist methods and fascist thinking holds an alarming message for the rest of the world. Fascism works by creating enemies. It makes Russia the brave victim of others’ hatred even as it justifies feelings of hatred towards its real and imagined foes at home and abroad.

Dmitry Medvedev, a former president and “moderniser”, recently posted on social media: “I hate them.  They are bastards and degenerates.  They want us, Russia, dead… I’ll do all I can to make them disappear.”  He did not bother to say who he had in mind.  But Russia’s hostility has three targets: the liberal West, Ukraine and traitors at home.  All of them need to take stock of what Russian fascism means.

Mr Putin has long sought to undermine Western democracies.  He has supported far-right parties in Europe, such as National Rally in France, Fidesz in Hungary and the Northern League in Italy.  He has interfered in American elections, hoping to help Donald Trump defeat the Democrats.

Even if fighting stops in Ukraine, the devotee of Ilyin in the Kremlin will not settle into an accommodation with Western democracies.  Mr Putin and his men will do everything in their power to battle liberalism and sow discord.

For centuries Russia has been partly European, but Kirill Rogov, a political analyst, wrote recently that the war in Ukraine enabled Mr Putin to cut off that part of its identity.  As long as Mr Putin is in power, Russia will build alliances with China, Iran and other anti-liberal countries.  It will, as ever, be in the ideological vanguard.

The outlook for Ukraine is even more bleak.  A few weeks after the start of the war Ria Novosti, a state news agency, published an article that called for the purging “of the ethnic component of self-identification among the people populating the territories of historical Malorossia and Novorossia [Ukraine and Belarus] initiated by the Soviet powers.”

Ukraine, Mr Putin said, was the source of deadly viruses, home to American-funded biological labs experimenting with strains of coronavirus and cholera.  “Biological weapons were being created in direct proximity to Russia,” he warned.

On Russian state television, Ukrainians are called worms.  In a recent talk show Mr Solovyov joked: “When a doctor is deworming a cat, for the doctor it is a special operation, for the worms it is a war and for the cat it is cleansing.”  Margarita Simonyan, the boss of RT, a state-controlled international tv network, stated that “Ukraine cannot continue to exist.”

The purpose of the invasion is not just to capture territory but to cleanse Ukraine of its separate identity, which threatens the identity of Russia as an imperial nation.  Along with its punitive forces, the Kremlin has also dispatched hundreds of schoolteachers to re-educate Ukrainian children in the occupied territories.  It equates an independent sovereign Ukraine with Nazism.  Either Ukraine will cease to exist as a nation state or Russia itself will be infected by the idea of emancipation that will destroy its imperial identity.

The bleakest of all is the outlook for Russia.  Mr Putin did not plan on a war of attrition.  He imagined that a strike on Kyiv would rapidly lead to a new regime in Ukraine and the submission of Ukrainian society to his will.  So far, Mr Putin has failed to defeat Ukraine.  But he has succeeded in defeating Russia.

Talk of bodily contamination and cleansing is not limited to Ukraine.  Russia also contains alien elements—oyster-slurping, foie-gras-eating traitors who mentally live in the West and are infected with ideas of gender fluidity.  The Russian people, Mr Putin declared in a tv address, will “simply spit them out like an insect in their mouth” leading to “a natural and necessary self-detoxification of society”.

Like Stalin, Mr Putin distrusts and fears the people.  They need to be controlled, manipulated and, when necessary, suppressed.  He excludes them from real decision-making.  As Greg Yudin, a Russian sociologist, argues, they are needed for the ritual of elections that demonstrate the legitimacy of the ruler, but the rest of the time they should be invisible.  Mr Yudin calls this attitude “people on call”.

The war changed everything.  As Hitler told Goebbels in the spring of 1943, “the war…made possible for us the solution of a whole series of problems that could never have been solved in normal times”.  Soon Mr Putin was able to impose de-facto military rule and censorship.  He blocked Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and any remaining independent media, isolated the country from poisonous Western influence and chased anyone who objected to the war out of the country.  Any public statement that challenges the Kremlin’s version of events in Ukraine is punishable by a 15-year prison sentence.

Gregory Asmolov, of King’s College London, argues this new political reality was unimaginable only months ago and is the Kremlin’s most significant achievement in the conflict.  The war has enabled Mr Putin to transform Russia into what Mr Asmolov calls a “disconnective society”.  He wrote that “These efforts are driven by the notion that it’s impossible to protect the internal legitimacy of the current leadership and keep citizens loyal if Russia remains relatively open and linked up to the global networked system.”

So far Mr Putin’s aim has been to paralyse Russian society rather than rally the crowds.  The show of unity and mobilisation is achieved by television operating in the information space cleared of alternative voices.  Among television viewers—mostly people over 60—more than 80% support the war.  Among 18- to 24-year-olds, who get their news from the internet, it is less than half.  This is perhaps why the symbolic representatives of the Z-operation are not working men and women, but a babushka with a red-flag and an eight-year-old “grandson” (painted on murals and imprinted on chocolate wrappers, respectively).  They are the ideal television viewers and reality-show extras.

The combination of fear and propaganda produces what Mr Rogov calls an “imposed consensus”.  The state publicises opinion polls showing that the majority of Russians support the “special military operation”.  The main reason people support Mr Putin is that they think everybody else does, too.  The need to belong is powerful.  Even when people have access to information, they “simply ignore it or rationalise it, just to avoid destroying the concept of self, country and power…created by propaganda,” notes Elena Koneva, a sociologist.

The engine of fascism does not have a reverse gear.  Mr Putin cannot turn back to a reality-based brand of authoritarianism.  Expansion is in its nature.  It will seek to expand both geographically and into people’s private lives.  As the war drags on and casualties mount, the question is whether Mr Putin can mobilise the passive majority or whether they start to grow restive.  The elites in the Kremlin, the army and the security services will watch closely.

Two plus two make four

Victor Klemperer, a German Jew who fought in the first world war and survived the second, wrote that “Nazism permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms and sentence structures which were imposed on them in a million repetitions.”  His book, “The Language of the Third Reich”, describes how the dissociating prefix ent- (de-) gained prominence in Germany during the war.

As Russian tanks stormed Ukraine in the small hours of February 24th, Mr Putin began his war against Ukraine with that same dissociating prefix.  The goal, he said, was denatsifikatsia (de-Nazification) and demilitarizatsia (de-militarisation).  Ria Novosti, the state news agency, later added that “De-Nazification inevitably will be also de-Ukrainisation.”

“Germany was almost destroyed by Nazism,” Klemperer wrote, “The task of curing it of this fatal disease is today termed ‘de-Nazification’.  I hope, and indeed believe, that this dreadful word…will fade away and lead no more than a historical existence as soon as it has performed its current duty… But that won’t be for some time yet, because it is not only Nazi actions that have to vanish, but also…the typical Nazi way of thinking and its breeding-ground: the language of Nazism.”[2]

A fascinating and thought-provoking summary of history, which can change in an instant:

  • “Dead men tell no tales.”  Putin can and may be snuffed out by one or more assassins; or cancer or some other ailment may take his life.

 • I have written extensively about Putin[3], and was in Berlin when the Soviet Union collapsed and its soldiers were selling their uniforms and plumbing fixtures from their barracks, and retreating to “tent cities” in the USSR.

  • Russians may be treated as pariahs globally for at least a generation.

  • What I wrote several years ago is worth repeating:

Russia is weaker today than the former USSR before it collapsed.  It spans nine time zones and includes 160 ethnic groups that speak an estimated 100 languages.  It is by no means monolithic, and may crumble “overnight.”  Once Putin is gone, Russia may be dismembered—never to rise again—with China taking part (e.g., Siberia, which it covets) and the rest becoming independent states like the former Yugoslavia.

Each of the new states will act in its own best interests, just as has been true in the former Yugoslavia, and among the countries that were spun off from the USSR—which have thrived as part of the West.  Putinism will not survive Putin.  It will suffer an ignominious death, like its namesake; and constitute a tragic watershed in history, like Adolf Hitler’s “Thousand Year Reich” and Nazism.[4]


© 2022, Timothy D. Naegele


[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  See, e.g., Timothy D. Naegele Resume-21-8-6  and https://naegeleknol.wordpress.com/accomplishments/   He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service).  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/articles/ and https://naegeleknol.wordpress.com/articles/), and studied photography with Ansel Adams.  He can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See https://www.economist.com/briefing/2022/07/28/vladimir-putin-is-in-thrall-to-a-distinctive-brand-of-russian-fascism (“Vladimir Putin is in thrall to a distinctive brand of Russian fascism”)

[3]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of the Cold War”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/is-putin-right/ (“Is Putin Right?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2021/12/07/a-cowards-approach-to-russias-pygmy-putin/ (“A Coward’s Approach To Russia’s Pygmy Putin?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/ (“Will Putin Seize Ukraine, And If So When?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/24/russias-kgb-trained-killer-putin-may-be-more-dangerous-than-hitler-or-stalin/ (“Russia’s KGB-Trained Killer Putin May Be More Dangerous Than Hitler Or Stalin”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/25/sever-the-head-of-a-snake-and-it-dies/ (“Sever The Head Of A Snake, And It Dies”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/27/putin-must-be-treated-as-a-war-criminal/ (“Putin Must Be Treated As A War Criminal”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/12/terminate-putin-now-and-the-war-in-ukraine-may-end-and-world-war-iii-might-be-avoided/ (“Terminate Putin Now, And The War In Ukraine May End, And World War III Might Be Avoided”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/20/rip-joe-biden-and-vladimir-putin/ (“RIP Joe Biden And Vladimir Putin”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/04/16/putin-must-die-now/ (“Putin Must Die Now”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/04/23/russians-are-the-walking-dead/ (“Russians Are The Walking Dead”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/04/30/russia-must-not-be-crippled-but-destroyed-like-the-soviet-union-before-it/ (“Russia Must Not Be Crippled, But Destroyed Like The Soviet Union Before It”)

[4]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of The Cold War”)



7 responses

30 07 2022
H. Craig Bradley


War is SO Old School. Today, some leaders have a better strategy which applies the principles of jujitsu to a “combatant”. You do not need to slug it out as in a full-on international conventional war, but rather just “Go to The Mat”.

Putin knows the heart of the European Economy is Germany. Germany is primarily an integrated, industrial economy and a major exporter of cars, chemicals, and other high value-added items. Germany requires a lot of energy to make their export machine work and it comes largely from other countries, principally Russia. So, take-out Germany and what’s left? Italy, Portugal, Spain. Don’t make me laugh.

Putin is applying a “choke hold” to Germany by reducing the amount of gas by -80% exported by Gazprom to Berlin via Nord Stream 1. This is “War by Other Means”. Playing chess requires a skill of its own and I would say Germany may soon be crying “uncle” by next Spring. The German conservation program “Save Gas and Be Safe” is a temporary attempt to ration energy supplies inorder to hold-out against what amounts to an old-fashioned Medieval siege.

Putin was planning-out this strategy against Europe, sic. NATO way back in 2012 when an agreement with China was inked to supply gas to Asia and construct a new 2400 mile pipeline from resource rich Siberia to China. The project was called “The Power of Siberia”. The first pipeline was completed and the gas delivery began on Dec. 31, 2019. Now, a second Power of Siberia pipeline is under construction. China needs gas and energy and is happy to have Russia as their business partner.

Its obvious to me at this juncture that Germany and Europe need Russia way more than Putin needs them. Since 2012, Putin has diversified his customer base for Gazprom while Germany sole-sourced with Russia because back then Chancellor Merkle decided the price was right. Leadership in the West has little foresight today. So, they must pay the price of their collective folly. Putin can afford to wait them out.

I have to add that this is no way to treat your neighbors. Recall that just before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President FDR ordered all iron, oil, and natural resource exports to Asia (Japan) be embargoed. Japan’s ruthless occupation of China and its atrocities were the main reason for an export embargo of natural resources to Japan. It was intended to punish Japan. However, we did not think ahead as to what the next step by them might be so many sailors died.

This action more than any other provoked a resource dependent Japan to start a War. So, yes, similar risk here is a new European War could break-out over energy next year (2023). That would make next year the “Year from Hell” for the Western Powers. I half expect it, as its quite foreseeable if each side holds-out in 2022. Which world leader may gain the most by brokering a compromise? President Xi, quite possibly. The world is changing and global leadership is in-motion. Our positioning is not sustainable any longer.

War may be just around the corner. Are we ready? Our military is falling way short of its annual recruitment targets for 2022. NOBODY wants to sign-up for service anymore. President Biden is discharging up to 1/3 of all active duty military personnel if they refuse for ANY reason to take a Covid Vax and Booster. Our military is going full-on Woke. So, we are in no shape for a conventional war anywhere, much less Europe.

President Joe Biden is greatly weakening our military and its now woefully understaffed. This suggests the potential for a mandatory Military Draft to be invoked in the future unless we lower our recruitment standards considerably and go for quantity, not quality.

Looking way ahead, China may not turn-out to be so friendly some day. China could take all the gas in Siberia for itself once its military is ready to go. The time is not yet right for Chinese (military) aggression. However, I would not be surprised to hear its still a long term goal of the Chinese Military. So, Its a long term risk that will definitely outlive both Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden. Our ongoing saga must be continued….The Best is Yet to Come.


30 07 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Craig, as always.

Your first sentence ignores the fact that Man is always the warring, somewhere on the planet. It is his nature, since time began. Some conflicts are small, essentially neighbor-to-neighbor, while others have potential global ramifications.

Unless Vladimir Putin is snuffed out — the only good Russian is a dead Russian — and China’s leadership is thwarted, the USA may be facing a conflict not seen since World War II. And all of this is occurring when we do not have a functioning President in the White House. Rather, we have a brain dead imbecile, with Willie Brown’s former ho Kamala waiting for him to croak.

Yes, I agree about the centrality of Germany. Both Putin and Merkel are products of the DDR, and essentially soulmates. I agree too that an American military draft may be required, of both men and women — and freaks of nature — which will take time.


30 07 2022
H. Craig Bradley


Yes, I agree that in modern times, both Putin and Russia have always been “warring” at-home or internationally since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. However, what have WE been doing abroad since President FDR following the conclusive defeat of the Axis powers in 1945 ? How many wars have we entered into since 1945 and conclusively won? Name just a one win.

Here is what former judge and a (real) constitutional scholar ( Judge Napalitano ) said last Sunday at a Rally in Kingston, N.Y.: ” All the Federal Government has ever done abroad since 1945 is fight new (unconstitutional) foreign wars costing $ billions and killing thousands with no end in-sight”.

All our Federal government has ever done is start wars and kill people with no victory and no Declaration of war by Congress, as required. The President alone in modern times can decide when and if we go to war- NOT Congress.

Only former President Donald Trump tried to end all the ongoing military conflicts abroad, sic. “wars”, such as in Afghanistan and bring (all) our troops home safely. The “Deep State” fought him every step of the way. War is profitable and we want another one (in Europe). All too often, we don’t treat other countries the way we would like to be treated, as a matter- of-fact. This whole argument (issue) reminds me of one (universal) Truth in-particular:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”

We all need to get our house in-order while its still possible. Then, we can worry about belligerents such as Presidents Putin or Xi. Until then, we are not going to be making much headway anywhere, I predict. The first step towards political reform is kicking all the Democrats out-of-power in the upcoming Nov. Midterm elections. This includes Leftist governors like our own Gov. Gavin Newsom.

California is in economic trouble. In fact, California may drag down the whole national economy next year anyway. Too late to avoid or deny a current (official) recession. Let’s hope it does not worsen next year into a global Depression. Otherwise, all of us will have our hands full. A Depression is often associated with a world war. It could happen eventually, if we just let it happen.


30 07 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Craig.

George H.W. Bush won Desert Storm; and then his son George W. Bush lost both Afghanistan and Iraq, at enormous human costs.

Andrew Napolitano is a total joke, which is why no one pays any attention to him anymore.

Donald Trump kept us out of war; and his policies were magnificent, which is why the totally-evil Left has tried to destroy him from Day One.

And yes, your citing of Jesus’ words is appropriate and timely.

I agree with what must be done in November: defeat every Democrat and RINO, beginning with Liz Cheney.

Lastly, I agree that Depressions are often associated with world wars. Tragically, we may be on the cusp of both.


30 07 2022
H. Craig Bradley


Historically, whenever a major global power amasses a large standing army, the temptation to eventually use it in a war has proven to be almost irresistible.


30 07 2022
Timothy D. Naegele



31 07 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

Putin’s Days Are Numbered

See, e.g., https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11066431/Putins-health-fresh-scrutiny-footage-appears-use-limp-right-arm.html (“Putin’s health is under fresh scrutiny as video emerges appearing to show him ‘limping’ and unable to use his right arm as he is attacked by mosquito at event marking Navy Day in Russia”)

Both Putin and Brain Dead Joe Biden may be gone from the world’s stage later this year.

See https://abc7chicago.com/biden-continues-to-test-positive-has-return-of-a-loose-cough-do/12093576/ (“Biden continues to test positive, has ‘return of a loose cough’: Doctor”); see also https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11066871/Putin-official-left-Russia-protest-war-rushed-intensive-care-amid-poisoning-fears.html (“Putin official who left Russia in war protest is ‘feared poisoned'”)

Putin must be put down like a rabid animal now, or his butchery in Ukraine will not end, and may widen into World War III.


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