“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, February 01, 2015

George W Bush gave Putin the affectionate nickname Pootie-Poot - Treating unstable psychopaths as if they are normal, reasonable people doesn’t work

A secret war in Ukraine, murder in London, incursions into others' airspace. His behaviour is getting worse

Everyone knows the saying about people who fail to learn the lessons of history being condemned to repeat it. It’s a slight misquotation, but the idea that we should be able to avoid making the same mistakes by studying the past is undeniably attractive. So what does history tell us about the behaviour of Europe’s biggest country, Russia, which is currently fighting an undeclared war with its neighbour, Ukraine?
I’ll come back to that in a moment but Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, singled out Russia’s military ambitions in a speech on Friday, describing 2014 as “a black year” for European security. He revealed that the alliance recorded more than 400 incursions into foreign airspace by Russian warplanes last year, around four times as many as in 2013. The previous day, British fighters were scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers over the English Channel, an episode that resulted in the Russian ambassador being summoned to the Foreign Office.
Around the time Stoltenberg was giving his assessment of the Russian threat to peace, the reality of the situation in Ukraine was brought home by the shelling of a cultural centre in Donetsk, killing at least six people. In theory, the conflict is between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists who have declared a breakaway republic, but no one seriously believes that Russia isn’t behind the fighting. More than 5,000 people are believed to have been killed since April yet public attention, which suddenly turned to Ukraine after the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger plane in July last year, is focused elsewhere.
While the terrorist organisation Islamic State (Isis) is responsible for huge numbers of casualties, it has killed far fewer people in Europe than have died in the Ukrainian conflict. It could be argued that the spectacular type of warfare favoured by Isis has actually done the Russian government a favour, deflecting attention with a series of attention-grabbing atrocities. Russia’s tradition of covert warfare is long-established, and some Kremlin officials visibly enjoy the process of repeating denials which are bare-faced lies.
In a repeat of recent history, dead Russian soldiers are once again being returned to their families without any information about where they were killed. The names of more than 260 have been published on a website run by opponents of President Putin, along with a map of eastern Ukraine showing where they died. The Russian government denies involvement but 10 Russian paratroopers were captured in Ukraine in August. The mother of a Russian soldier, whose body was returned with his legs blown off, said he had phoned her to say his unit was being deployed to Donetsk.
When something similar happened during the second Chechen war, the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya interviewed bereaved mothers and wrote about what was going on. She was assassinated in Moscow on President Putin’s birthday in 2006, a month or so before the Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London. At a public inquiry last week, Litvinenko’s death was described as “an act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city”. Ben Emmerson, the QC representing Mr Litvinenko’s widow, said the trail led directly to Putin and called for him to be “unmasked by this inquiry as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state”.
This is a staggering statement. Some commentators are reluctant to accept it, arguing that Putin genuinely feels under threat from Nato; Greece’s inexperienced new government, led by the coalition of left-wing parties known as Syriza, is making friendly overtures towards Russia. No one wants a new cold war but the evidence suggests they’re making a mistake of epic proportions: what European leaders are dealing with here is  classic psychopathic behaviour. Putin displays a complete absence of empathy and is painfully thin-skinned; he found being mocked by the punk band Pussy Riot so intolerable that two of the women ended up in penal colonies. Even more alarming is his lack of fear and enjoyment of risk, which means he enjoys baiting people he sees as opponents.
All of this brings me back to the problem with learning from history. The leader-as-psychopath is far from unusual: Saddam Hussein displayed similar characteristics, although a closer parallel in this instance is Stalin. The question is what to do about it, and it would help if people who make excuses for Putin stopped fooling themselves about how dangerous he is. I’ve believed this ever since the assassination of Politkovskaya, whom I knew slightly, and I’ve watched the evidence accumulate: at least 29 journalists have been murdered in direct connection with their work since Putin came to power: opponents have had their assets seized and been sent to harsh prisons in Siberia; neighbouring countries live in fear of cyber-attacks, such as the one on Estonia in 2007, or military invasion.
The Conservative MP Rory Stewart, who chairs the Defence Select Committee, described last week’s incident over the Channel as “a symptom of a much bigger pattern which means we got Russia wrong”. I think it’s more accurate to say that world leaders got Putin wrong, treating him as an authoritarian who would nevertheless keep his behaviour within recognisable boundaries. Remember when George W Bush gave him the affectionate nickname Pootie-Poot? If history teaches us anything, it is that treating unstable psychopaths as if they are normal, reasonable people doesn’t work.
Psychopaths love attention, so allowing Putin to host big sporting events such as the Winter Olympics and the World Cup is a mistake. They like to feel important, so he shouldn’t be invited to attend summits with other world leaders. His behaviour is escalating as economic sanctions start to bite, which is why he is sending military aircraft to test the air defences of other countries. He isn’t going to give up power of his own accord, which means that keeping open  back-channels to people around him is vital. Europe didn’t pick this fight, but we should be in no doubt that Russia under Putin is an unpredictable rogue state.


  1. February 1, 2015
    Psychopathic Behavior and Leaders
    By James G. Long

    When talking to experienced persons during my seminars and conversations, I find some who have never heard of psychopathy, some whose knowledge of psychopathy ends with the fictional Hannibal Lecter, and some who have a vague memory from a course in college. But the most interesting responses are always from those who have worked for a boss whom they thought was "crazy" and who are utterly confused by their experiences, just as I was when I first worked for a psychopath forty-nine years ago. Statistically, about one-half of all workers will work for a psychopath within their lifetimes. I have had both women and men come up to me in tears after a seminar, grateful to learn that there was an explanation for their devastating experiences. Psychopathy is the world's worst and most destructive mental disorder, and ignorance is not bliss.

    When discussing psychopaths herein, I will try to designate as psychopaths those whose psychological state has been clinically assessed by a professional. There are many psychopath-type personalities who are deceased or who have not been formally assessed, such as Vladimir Putin................

    I knew the nasty pecker was nuts when I saw him fly fishing without a shirt.

    1. The pattern since Milosevic (and before) has been to demonize a foreign head of state and to take the US to war to get rid of him.

  2. Jan 30, 2015 9:06am
    MOSCOW – Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled unannounced plans to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week, a U.S. official told ABC News.

    The two were expected to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, where the United States blames Russia for arming and funding the separatist forces. The U.S. has also accused Russia of sending its troops across the border to bolster the rebels. Russia has denied the accusations.
    The decision to cancel the visit came just days after an alleged Russian spy ring was broken up in New York, and after last weekend’s offensive by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. This week, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew suggested the United States could expand sanctions on Russia as the fighting in Ukraine continues.

    Kerry is still expected to attend next week’s Munich Security Conference, and the possibility remains he may meet his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, there.

    On the same trip, Kerry will stop in Kiev, where he will meet with Ukrainian leaders, including President Petro Poroshenko. In a statement, Kerry’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said the visit aimed to demonstrate “the United States’ steadfast support for Ukraine and its people.”
    Secretary Kerry would have been the first cabinet-level U.S. official to visit Russia since the Ukraine crisis began last year. Kerry’s last trip to Russia came in May 2013, shortly before former NSA contractor Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow, harming U.S.-Russia relations.
    President Obama visited St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit in September 2013, but canceled plans for a summit with Putin in Moscow during the same trip after Snowden received asylum in Russia.

  3. Tell us Deuce, since you think that Israel has no right to exist, why do the arab nations or even America have that right?

    1. Israel exists by right of might.

    2. What nation exists due to thier charming personality?

      Deuce you call Israel a theft of Arab lands, did they Arabs create their presence and domination thru their charity and charming personality?

      Israel sits on a tiny sliver of land in a virtual see of violent savages why should they not have the right to be unless you belive the Arabs are the supreme race, that by Allah, has rights to all

    3. Then why should engage in the concept of land for peace, by UR suggestion? Israel should drive the Arabs of the west bank and gaZa into the sea as they have cried and tried to do? By force!!!! Since that is the only way why allow them to live anywhere near Israel? Israel should act more like Syria, you know that nation that exists solely by use of force

  4. The Arab peoples left Arabia in the 600's ce and conquered (or stole) most of the modern day middle east, Subjugating Christians, Jews, Druze, Anminists, Berbers and dozens of other natives to the region.

    What right do Arabs have to come in and steal other people's lands and form nations today?

  5. They did it without subsidy from US, so it is not an interest of the US, "O"rdure.
    Isreal would not exist without the support it has received from the US, so US interests are involved.

    That is the price Isreal pays, to exist.

    1. There is no "isreal" your lack of ability to type a proper name shows your true colors any point you try to make? Worthless

    2. Try looking it up

      Israel exists

      Isreal is your bastardization once again. Just like the other 1/2 dozen names u have invented

      You are an ass

  6. Before we get all het up about Putin we need to identify just how much of this information that "we" are being fed is hyped-up bullshit.

    After all, it was Us, not Putin, that started that Ukrainian mess.

    1. True enough.

      It was the US that financed the Coup that deposed the elected government of Ukraine, just as it did in Iran in 1952/53.

      Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson tried to blame the Soviets, for US actions in Iran, too.
      It is a song that the US plays.
      "Blame the Other Guy"

    2. "Draft Lottery Winner" BobSun Feb 01, 10:30:00 AM EST

      And "Draft Lottery Winner" Bob was right to do so, Criminal rat Professional Asshole Liar Self Admitted Moron Dead Beat Dad and Cowardly Jew Hating Scum hawkins.


    3. In Vino Veritas

      BobSun Jun 22, 01:42:00 PM EDT

      When did I ever say I was a scholar??

      I don't recall saying that.

      I have a college degree in English Lit. from U of Washington.

      To avoid being drafted in part. ...

  7. It is praise for Parry’s column, “‘Group-thinking’ the World into a New War.” Read it.

    The pattern since Milosevic (and before) has been to demonize a foreign head of state and to take the US to war to get rid of him. That way the secret agenda is achieved under the cover of the necessity of deposing a bad or dangerous ruler.

    Parry describes this well. Group-Think plays the important role of preventing any dissent, any suspicion of the case against the demonized person, and any examination of the real agenda that is being pursued.

    Now it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who is being demonized. As Parry and I and Stephen F. Cohen, the most knowledgeable of the Russian experts, appreciate, Putin is not Saddam Hussein and Russia is not Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, or Iran. To foment conflict with Russia that could lead to war is worse than irresponsible. Yet, as Parry writes, “from the start of the Ukraine crisis in fall 2013, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every mainstream U.S. news outlet have behaved as dishonestly as they did during the run-up to war with Iraq.”

    When Professor Cohen pointed out, correctly, that the lies about Russia, Ukraine, and Putin were hot and heavy, the propagandists had to get rid of the man with the facts. The New Republic, a hang-out for low IQ fools, called America’s leading Russian expert “Putin’s American toady.”

    From Parry’s reporting, it appears that Group-Think has spread from the media and foreign policy community into the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which has decided that academic careers require adherence to the government’s propaganda line, which means the neoconservatives’ line.

    As I have written on a number of occasions, facts no longer play a role in American political life. Fact-based analysis is also disappearing from academic life and no longer plays a role in official economic reporting. A matrix has been created, an artificial reality that channels the energies and resources of the country into secret agendas that serve the interests of the ruling private interest groups and neoconservative ideology.

    The United States government and the American people cannot contend with reality, because they do not know what the reality is.

    In America’s make-believe world, neoconservative toadies such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, set the Group-Think tone, while knowledgeable experts such as Stephen Cohen are tuned out.

    1. .

      Old news.

      They all do the same thing.

      Germany did it, Italy did it, China did it. Russia has done it going back centuries.


  8. (Reuters) - The United States and its allies have carried out 26 air strikes in Iraq and eight in Syria since Saturday in continued attacks on Islamic State targets, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

    The bulk of the strikes were near the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, while in Syria most of the strikes were near Kobani, where Kurdish forces have driven out Islamic State militants, said a statement by the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force which is leading the operation.


    New Sunni military recruits in Iraq's Anbar province.
    Nathan Frandino reports.


    In Iraq's Sunni heartland of Anbar, new recruits train for the fight against Islamic State. These Sunni Muslims join the fight as Iraq's new government tries to reverse the gains made by IS over the past year. But it won't be easy. Here in Anbar, the recruits say they are outgunned by the militants. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RECRUIT, NOURI HUSSEIN SALEH, SAYING: "We are here preparing and training and there are enough of us. But what we lack is the equipment needed by a combat soldier including helmets, body armor, arms, vehicles and the like." But these soldiers are making the best of what they have - training with PKC machine guns, rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. This is the second recruitment class of Sunnis, a group that had felt so marginalized by the majority Shi'ites in Iraq that, last year, many began to support the ultra-hardline Sunni Islamic State. But the new government is trying to be more inclusive of the Sunnis... and an increasing number are now realizing that IS is a threat to all Iraqis, and that it's in their interests to overcome their differences to face a common enemy.

  10. How many aliases are you going to use today, Criminal rat?

    Are you going to be posting as Bob today?

    Good day to do it as Bob is going to special occasion church today, then watching the Super Bowl so the field will be clear.

    Cheers !

    1. Rat remains the focus of your thinkingSun Feb 01, 10:39:00 AM EST

      So ...

      Happy Trails to you, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson ...

      Until we meet, again

      Happy Trails.


  11. Its third attack in a week on Maiduguri came as Chadian forces launched a winning offensive, acting on an African Union directive for Nigeria’s neighbours to help fight the spreading Islamic uprising by Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram extremists.

    International outrage has grown over attacks across the border into Cameroon and increasing ferocity that culminated in the slaughter of hundreds of civilians in Baga on Jan. 3.

    A Chadian jet fighter supported by ground troops bombed the extremists out of Gamboru and Kolfata on Saturday and from Malumfatori on Thursday, witnesses said.

    Chadian troops in Kolfata were “dancing around their country’s flag and chanting,” farmer Awami Kolobe said, quoting refugees who returned across the border from Cameroon. The towns had been under the sway of Boko Haram for months. Gamboru is about 140 kilometres (85 miles) northeast of Maiduguri, and Baga is another 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Gamboru, on Lake Chad, where Nigeria’s borders converge with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

    African leaders at a summit Saturday authorized the creation of a 7,500-strong multinational force to fight Boko Haram.

    Boko Haram warned against the coalition and said it will attack Niger, if it sends troops, just as it has attacked Cameroon, according to a message posted Sunday by the SITE intelligence monitoring service.

    In Maiduguri, a senior army officer said the militants were “everywhere,” attacking from all four roads leading into the city.

    Another officer said hundreds of insurgents, as many as 500, were killed before they took flight Sunday and many weapons were recovered including artillery guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Both officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not supposed to speak to reporters.