Obama and Putin are both Frozen in the Past
The free web is making it possible to see politicians more clearly than ever before, and yes, they all have feet of clay. Obama’s personal psychology has been discussed so much that even the Left is beginning to take notice. Videos of Vladimir Putin are surely being studied by Poli Sci 101 students all over the world.
P and O have amazing similarities. Both are profoundly frozen in the past. This is not good, since, like those clichéd generals, they are blindly fighting the last war.
Neither one has come to terms with the biggest challenges of the present day: the Jihad war, and large-scale cyberaggression by both state actors and legions of cocky little amateurs around the world.
Narcissists are thought to harbor a sense of injury about some past event -- abandonment as a child, identification with a victim group, or just plain “I get no respect.” Their grandiosity is an attempt to compensate for experiences that made them feel inferior. Obama’s sensitivity about his big ears apparently bothered him so much that he told his fawning media in 2008 to please not mention them in public. Our fair and honest media obliged, naturally, and nobody has heard a word about ears since then.
That’s a small example. The real burr in Obama’s saddle is his idealized biological father, the Kenyan socialist Obama Sr., who lived a life of rage and sexual adventurism against the white capitalist world, at exactly the time when European empires were falling apart. After Kenyan independence Obama Sr. went back to Nairobi and tried to push Jomo Kenyatta in a more radical direction. He failed, was fired, and died after two consecutive drunk driving accidents.
Obama has never missed an advantage in his luxurious life, but he was emotionally abandoned by both his father and mother. Still, his stated lifelong anger is against white imperialism. This was standard radical talk when he was going to college, under the heading of “Third World Socialism.”
In the real world white imperialism is old news, having ended two generations ago. Countries like India have come to terms with the British Raj, and still speak English with Victorian words and phrases that sound pleasantly old-fashioned. India has discovered the benefits of freer markets, and its GDP is rising quickly. India has kept the Anglosphere style of self-governance.
Looking back, the British Empire was far more beneficial than rule by Mughul emperors or local maharajahs. There may be Indian radicals who still hate the Brits for the history that ended sixty years ago, there are far more Indian IT specialists who are rising economically because their talents now have a worldwide market. Indians generally don’t carry Obama’s lifelong chip on their shoulders, because Obama lives in the past, and they live in the present. What drives his racial animus has nothing to do with today. That is why Obama has been such a huge failure as a source of racial healing. It turns out that the president is another Al Sharpton instead.
With his reckless use of power, Obama’s fixation on slavery (which ended in the 1860s) and European imperialism (ended around 1950) make no sense at all. His bowing apology tours to the King of Saudi Arabia and the Emperor of Japan only makes sense in a certain radical leftist cult fantasy about the past. It is obvious to most of the world that the worst recent kind of imperialism was not run by Western countries. It was Marxist-Leninism -- just look at North Korea today.
Obama lives in a sort of videogame version of reality that became fixed and frozen in college. This is bad news for the United States and the world -- as if Georgia’s favorite son Jimmy Carter was never able to get beyond the War Between the States.
Putin has his own narcissistic wounds -- especially the crumbling of the Soviet Union (1989). Like Obama, Putin is a driven man, and he sees the world through distorting filters, in which the “internal contradictions” that caused the empire to fall apart were the result of Western aggression. This is a huge misreading of history, and Putin’s obsession with it makes him want to invade the Ukraine, Crimea, and Georgia -- and to threaten the Baltics and Balkans just like Stalin did in 1940s.
Like Obama, Putin has gambled recklessly in foreign adventures, not based on realistic calculations that would benefit his country, but based on outdated grievances. His tank invasion of the Ukraine has not gone well. Kiev has put up stiff resistance, and the outcome is still a toss-up. This means a big loss of face for Putin. In reaction to Putin’s aggression, Europe is realizing with a shock that it must rearm, both psychologically and materially. That glorious future of peace and prosperity that the EU has been promising all these years is a delusion.
Putin’s policy reflects remarkable misconceptions:
1) Putin believes the West is hostile to Russia.
This is sheer, unadulterated nonsense. Since the Empire crumbled in 1989 the West has been desperate to help Russia recover stability -- because a rogue Russia is not in anybody’s interest. We have dealt with the former USSR and its colonies much as we did with Germany and Japan after WWII -- not because we are angels, but because the world needs aggressors to become peaceful.
Frau Merkel has visited Putin more than once to explain that Germany was willing to pay very high prices for Russian natural gas, to avoid any recurrence of the nightmare of Germany militarism. Russia would control the German energy supply -- until it proved itself to be an unreliable supplier.
Yet Putin interprets Western actions as if Napoleon were still alive, ready to invade Czarist Russia to the thunder of the "1812 Overture".
2. Another false belief is that the United States is Russia’s biggest danger today. But the U.S. has absolutely no interest in making trouble for Russia.
In spite of a vicious war fought by Putin against the Muslim terrorist rebels in Chechnya, he is unable to see the worldwide Jihad war equipped with nuclear weapons as a danger. Putin is supplying Iran with nuclear power plants, enabling reckless proliferation.
Unlike the Social Democrats of Western Europe, who have suicidally imported 44 million Muslims from the badlands of Pakistan and the Middle East, Putin does not sentimentalize Muslims. He has publicly threatened them with castration if they should make trouble. But he fails to see that the Muslim conquest of Europe is bound to threaten Russia as well. (Imagine German soldiers deeply indoctrinated in Muslim jihad war ideology, and you get the idea.)
3. Putin is not taking the breakout of nuclear proliferation with any visible seriousness. Like Stalin and Mao, he is gambling that the enormous territory of Russia could sustain a first strike and simply turn any aggressor into a smoking wasteland.
But this is absurd. Russia has only two vital centers, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Two nuclear strikes would leave the Russian heartland intact, but abolish its identity as a nation and a power in the world. China would be the next logical conqueror, having hungered after Russian territory for enturies.
4. Putin is failing to deal with the new, veritable explosion of unconventional oil and gas drilling technologies, which are changing the global energy market even as we speak. Russia’s position as an energy supplier is bound to be weakened in the coming years, as fracking technology spreads from the U.S. to China, Europe, South America, and elsewhere. The price of oil is dropping today for that very reason.
Rather than anticipating the decline of OPEC price fixing, Putin is alienating Europe and the US by invading weak nations like Georgia and Ukraine. The benefits of pushing Ukrainians around are purely emotional. The downside is overwhelming.
Putin has made his motivation very clear: It is his personal need for vengeance about the fall of the Soviet Union 25 years ago. This is not rational.
If Putin wants a great role in world affairs, there is one waiting for him: the defense of Europe against Jihad. While Britain, France, and Germany have recklessly imported tens of millions of easily radicalized Muslims, to show how compassionate and openminded they really are, Putin is the kind of guy jihadis are used to dealing with: a despot with some degree of enlightenment. Like Muslim dictators, Putin has no hesitation about killing his domestic enemies.
Flabby Eurosocialists can only turn their nations into Big Brother societies, even though 90 percent of the people are perfectly innocent. Liberals choose that rather than ”profile” all the adolescents named Mahmoud who regularly visit jihadi mosques and websites. Pinpointing actual terrorist types is very easy -- they are practically waving that flag in our faces. But the U.S., UK, and other governments aren’t focusing on the dangerous 1 percent. Contrary to all common sense, they are frisking little old ladies at airports.
The decadent EU is playing helpless in the face of clear and present danger -- even though Europe has more than 300 million productive people, making it one of the great industrial powers in the world. The fundamental reason is that nobody really trusts the Germans even now, and the EU is believed to tie Germany to France and the UK. That is sheer nonsense again: Germany, with France as a junior partner, is running the EU with no electoral legitimacy from the voters. The EU gamble has flipped upside-down. Europe resembles a self-castrated giant that will not fight jihadi aggression.
The obvious answer is for Europe to buy protection. The United States has provided a credible nuclear umbrella to Europe for sixty years, but with Obama we are buggin’ out of town, fast.
In five years Russia will be broke, but it will have one formidable bargaining chip: its ruthless way with dangerous enemies. Putin does not seem to be acting on that fundamental understanding. Russia is historically always torn between Europe and Asia, and Putin’s expressed turn to China and against the West makes no sense when Russia can have beneficial relationships with both.
John Le Carre’s famous spy novel The Looking Glass War explained the Cold War as a mirror-image conflict. At the end, the two spymasters, Smiley and Karla, finally meet across an East-West bridge in Berlin, symbolically uniting the two antagonists.
Today we have a very odd repetition of that mirror-image pattern.
Obama is actually a Marxist-Leninist, representing Russia’s past, not its present and certainly not its future. Obama falsely believes that the undeveloped world must have its revenge against the developed world, which he thinks of in purely racial terms. This is nutso in its own way, of course, especially with the fast rise of India and China into first-world status.
Yet six years of Obama has pushed us into a completely false grasp of reality.
Meanwhile Vladimir Putin is replaying his own inner nightmare about the fall of Soviet power 25 years ago, as if that is reality today. This is “false consciousness,” in the old vocabulary.
War is said to be politics pursued by other means. Today, Obama and Putin are pursuing a kind of mental warfare against imaginary foes. In a world where reason should prevail, this is an aberration. A new leadership is desperately needed.