Europe’s New Hitler: Another Psychopath at Work
Vladimir Putin is a murderous despot: Why the West’s response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine matters. And why we must deal firmly with his European enablers.
- Let there be no doubt, Putin is cunning and brutal. He is an abuser, a killer, an assassin. He completely lacks any shred of human decency. He is Europe’s new Hitler.
- There is a darkness to Putin’s personality that is unsettling even to many Russians who certainly had their share of leaders with dark souls.
- Putin is a sociopath in a clinical sense, with strong tendencies towards paranoia and narcissism. He is driven by deep personal insecurities and a need to publicly prove his own virility.
- That Angela Merkel ever dared to claim that the North Stream 2 pipeline was a “private sector project” leads one to wonder which side, the Russian or the Western one, Merkel was actually working on. Her legacy is forever tarnished.
Let there be no doubt, Putin is cunning and brutal. He is an abuser, a killer, an assassin. He completely lacks any shred of human decency. He is Europe’s new Hitler.
A bad leader, even by Soviet standards
Under his reign, the fatal Dutch disease has only spread further, piling hardship over hardship on the Russian people. Putin’s only skill has been consolidating power by eliminating all those opposed, all the while offering a steady diet of making empty promises population at large.
There is a darkness to Putin’s personality that is unsettling even to many Russians who certainly had their share of leaders with dark souls.
A sociopath in a clinical sense
Now, it is critical to understand the underlying pathology of Vladimir Putin. Putin is a sociopath in a clinical sense, with strong tendencies towards paranoia and narcissism.
His actions are driven by the deep insecurities of his own personality, by his constant need for external affirmation.
Putin constantly has to publicly prove his own virility, which – in his mind – is done by displaying violence and cruelty (and getting away with it).
In this vein, Putin is a very simple man. He is also, if one is willing to understand his personal profile, a very predictable man.
Of course, he craves the opposite. He craves to be admired for his smarts and for his vision, but deep inside he knows that he possesses neither.
Enter Western enablers
For more than ten years after the “end” of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain, the American part of the Western world was inebriated by its sense of complete and utter superiority.
And the European – especially German – part of the Western world deluded itself that there was no more reason to have an army.
Germany’s pro-Russian fifth brigade
Initially, all the rage was talk about a “peace dividend.” Subsequently, Germany’s pro-Russian fifth brigade (including a significant segment of the SPD, now the majority party in the German government) shifted its empty-headed rhetoric.
Ever eager to please Putin, the SPD’s demand was that, any time Putin’s Russia acted in a despotic fashion, the West should not engage in “escalation”.
The big error
Falsely assuming that the Russian Bear had been put to sleep at the burial of communism, Western leaders took their eyes of the growing, incrementally mounting threat that Vladimir Putin built.
Western leaders closed their eyes to Russian attempts to intimidate Georgia and the Baltic states and other former states of the Soviet Union.
Western money hustlers
Instead of keeping the eye on the ball, the Western world got all enamored by the – almost always illicitly gained – riches of Russian oligarchs.
London, in particular, became a major money laundering center for their dirty profits, with Germany being a close second aider and abetter.
Angela Merkel, Gerhard Schröder top aide-de-camp
That Angela Merkel ever dared to claim that the North Stream 2 pipeline was strictly a “private sector project” is the height of conceit.
It leads one to wonder which side, the Russian or the Western one, the long-time German Chancellor was actually working on.
After the beginning of the (continued, now massive) invasion of Ukraine, her legacy is forever tarnished.
Self-prostituting sports teams
Sports teams got lucrative sponsorships especially from Russian fossil fuel giants to cement their own legacies, particularly on the European soccer stage.
European soccer stadiums are soiled by Russian oligarchs who occupy the owners’ suites. Europe’s soccer pitches are soiled by players running around in Gazprom jerseys, all in pursuit of grabbing a piece of that deeply human-despising Russian cake of criminal wealth.
Mere spinelessness – or active collaboration?
All of this normalized continuous Russian abuses to such extent that the reactions to Russian “overreach” such as Putin’s annexation of the Crimea region or murders or attempted murders of dissidents on foreign soil received little more than a shrug of the shoulders.
This stance was so engraved in the lazy heads of Western electorates that they voted or kept in power the forces that idly stood by the mounting atrocities of the serial killer, Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump, Russia’s very active, ex-sleeper agent
Putin-puppet, Donald Trump, was even elected President of the United States with the help of Russian intelligence.
While none of this has gone unnoticed and some of it has been – at least temporarily – reversed through the “unelection” of Donald Trump, who just a couple of days ago praised Putin as a “genius” for his Ukraine actions, it is mystifying, to a degree, how it was and is possible.
But is it too late now?
The invasion of Ukraine is in full effect. It is difficult to imagine that it will be reversed or stopped because only a NATO military response could bring that about. The risks of a nuclear war would seem too great for that to happen.
But by understanding the key takeaways from how we got here and why, we ought to be able to design the kind of actions that would contain Putin’s westward drive.
Four main principles
Without delving into a detailed list of sanctions/actions that the West must take (the list is long), these sanctions/actions should be guided by a set of four main principles.
1. The long-term goal of these actions must be to contain Russia beyond Putin. This implies, for example, that Europe must develop a detailed long-term plan to completely and permanently end energy dependence on Russia.
Obviously, an aggressive (and credible, meaning executable) move towards renewable, clean energy sources would not only meet that goal but also help saving the planet.
2. Europe must understand that self-defense, credible self-defense is the most effective weapon in preventing war.
To discard ill-advised pacifism or to overcome reasonable historic guilt does not equate imperialism. Rather, it is in full recognition of all historical lessons ever learned. It’s the best guarantee for peace, we have.
3. While fully aware of the unlikelihood of Russian adoption of democratic values anytime soon, Europeans and Americans must launch a full-fledged effort to highlight that Putin’s aggression, or the aggression of future Russian leaders will only further impoverish the Russian people.
And they must directly address the Russian people to drive this point home. Social media are an excellent medium to promote such campaign. Radio Free Europe played a role during the Cold War, but it was a bit player when compared to today’s social media.
4. Everything has a price. Nothing comes for free. These are not catch-phrases. These are “unconventional truths”.
We are all creatures of comfort. The recent pandemic should have steeled us though, teaching us that the unexpected does happen and that we must take sometimes controversial and always painful actions in order to protect the greater good.
In following these principles, the actions/sanctions against Putin and – yes, Russia itself – become fairly self-evident.
Our response will determine not only how Russia’s flappy wings will effectively be clipped, but also how we are going to address the looming threat of China.