While Russia’s leader may surround himself with tacticians, he is by no means a strategist. There is no such thing as a coherent strategy in the absence of a coherent value proposition. And likewise, tactics seldom lead to meaningful victory when divorced from strategic thought. Like so many other kleptocrats, Vladimir Putin is willing to sink his own country for personal gain. His only motivation is one of self-gratification. He has no real vision for the future of Russia other than to siphon off any remaining equities from its people and to try and recapture past glories.
His terminal ego is looking to re-acquire former Soviet states that have intentionally moved on. He was late to the game in developing a focus on rare earth minerals, instead doubling down on fuels the rest of the world is actively working to phase out. And, he conducts himself in ways that have made him a pariah within the evolving world order. He’s not fooling anyone beyond those whose political discourse is fed exclusively by his state owned media.
Vladimir Putin surrounds himself with yes-men. And those who would keep him honest are Novichok’d, imprisoned, or otherwise marginalized in punitive ways. He has enriched himself at the the expense of the Russian people and plans to siphon the life plasm out of Ukraine in similar ways. The invasion of troops is just a precursor to an invasion by his wholly owned and operated oligarchs. And the outrage expressed by other world leaders only serves to underscore the impotence of the United Nations.
If the UN is unable to purify the body, through the removal of a war-mongering tyrant from the Security Council, than it is unable to hold the mantle as a champion of peace. Unlike the UN, NATO has the option to re-charter in ways that would get it out from under the limitations imposed by the Security Council. Within the UN, Putin can veto any resolution that would put his ego in check. The Security Council is an outmoded relic that may have been justified in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Today, it makes no sense at all. It gives an elevated platform and excessive prominence to those illegitimate leaders that hold power in their home countries, by arbitrary assumption, rather than by popular vote.
John Wycliffe, in the preface to his Fourteenth Century translation wrote: “The Bible is for Government of, by, and for the people.” As inauthentic republics and democracies come down somewhere between wishy and washy with respect to this principle, the world is largely without leadership and politics has eclipsed statesmanship.
This is the question that Putin has thrust upon the entire world. Will we continue to recognize tyrants, from inauthentic democracies, as heads of state? Or will we only recognize governments that are authentic democratic republics? The time for proactively straddling the fence is over. Sanctions that hurt Russian citizens rather than Vladimir Putin and his sycophants, are of limited value.
If Putin wants to recapture the “glory days,” when the Soviet Government was the focus of evil, than we should get focused on the individual that has defined himself as the real enemy. As one might expect, Putin’s value’s are so abhorrent that he must operate under the cover of darkness, suppressing anything that might give the people of Russia a government that derives its authority from informed consent.
On May the 14th in 2021, the government of Russia designated Radio Liberty’s website as a “foreign agent”. The broadcast service’s bank accounts were frozen. The Russian mass media regulator initiated 520 cases against the broadcaster with total fines for the its refusal to mark its content with the “foreign agent” label estimated at $2.4 million. On May the 19th in 2021, Radio Liberty filed a legal case at the European Court of Human Rights, accusing the Russian government of violating freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
It is clear that Putin will not benefit from any close examination of the truth. He fears Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty almost as much as he fears NATO. He knows the broadcasters played a significant role in the collapse of communism and the rise of democracies in post-communist Europe. In light of this history and Putin’s ongoing acts of war, continuous saturation broadcasts into Russia should occur in every conceivable way. Every Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty asset should be brought to bear to insure the Russian people understand just what was taken from them and how.
Putin fully intends to pillage and plunder Ukraine in similar ways. The people of that country want an of, by, and for the people Ukraine. Whereas Putin wants an all for Putin and Putin for Putin Ukraine. Putin has no value proposition that will resonate with the people of Russia or Ukraine. Accordingly, he has no vision for anything beyond his orgy of darkness and death. If the people in those countries want a future of light and life, they must be intentional and work for it.