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Sunday, April 3, 2022

On the former Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg:

The Putin Whisperers are a disconcerting crew.

The late Ivan Ilyin, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, Alexsandr Dugin. Bad news, all.
 
 
Putin's worldview is violently messianic, irrational.
 
Some of my current background reading relating to Putin.
 
I have seen firsthand just how vulnerable America is to the political afflictions that have befallen Russia. In the second half of this book I offer an account of my own experiences of populist politics in action inside the Trump administration. I share what I learned from this and my observations of how Donald Trump began to follow “the authoritarians’ playbook” scripted by Vladimir Putin and other “strongman” leaders. By November 2019, when I was subpoenaed as a fact witness in the first impeachment trial of President Trump and found myself in the international spotlight, I knew that America had embarked on an authoritarian swing of its own. When the global coronavirus pandemic hit, the U.S. teetered on the verge of a system failure. We needed to address our opportunity crisis and pull ourselves back from the brink.

Hill, Fiona (2021-10-04T23:58:59.000). There Is Nothing For You Here. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 
ANNE APPLEBAUM
THERE IS NO LIBERAL WORLD ORDER
Unless democracies defend themselves, the forces of autocracy will destroy them.

By Anne Applebaum

There is no natural liberal world order, and there are no rules without someone to enforce them. unless democracies defend themselves together, the forces of autocracy will destroy them. i am using the word forces, in the plural, deliberately. many american politicians would understandably prefer to focus on the long-term competition with china. but as long as russia is ruled by putin, then russia is at war with us too. so are belarus, north korea, venezuela, iran, nicaragua, hungary, and potentially many others. we might not want to compete with them, or even care very much about them. but they care about us. they understand that the language of democracy, anti-corruption, and justice is dangerous to their form of autocratic power—and they know that that language originates in the democratic world, our world.

this fight is not theoretical. it requires armies, strategies, weapons, and long-term plans. it requires much closer allied cooperation, not only in europe but in the pacific, africa, and latin america. nato can no longer operate as if it might someday be required to defend itself; it needs to start operating as it did during the cold war, on the assumption that an invasion could happen at any time. germany’s decision to raise defense spending by 100 billion euros is a good start; so is denmark’s declaration that it too will boost defense spending. but deeper military and intelligence coordination might require new institutions—perhaps a voluntary european legion, connected to the european union, or a baltic alliance that includes sweden and finland—and different thinking about where and how we invest in european and pacific defense.

if we don’t have any means to deliver our messages to the autocratic world, then no one will hear them. much as we assembled the department of homeland security out of disparate agencies after 9/11, we now need to pull together the disparate parts of the u.s. government that think about communication, not to do propaganda but to reach more people around the world with better information and to stop autocracies from distorting that knowledge. why haven’t we built a russian-language television station to compete with putin’s propaganda? why can’t we produce more programming in mandarin—or uyghur? our foreign-language broadcasters—radio free europe/radio liberty, radio free asia, radio martĂ­ in cuba—need not only money for programming but a major investment in research. we know very little about russian audiences—what they read, what they might be eager to learn…
RED SQUARE IN LONDONGRAD. THE RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS' UK HAVEN
 

UPDATE
Putin's Blunder and Europe's Gamble
A conversation with Russia expert Thane Gustafson on Putin's blunder, the Ukraine war, and the role of energy in the future of Europe and Russia.

By Tom Nichols
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