Putin: Crazy like a Fox?
Recently, Professor Victor Davis Hanson said of President Biden: "An addled and non-compos mentis Joe Biden only nominally remains the leader of the West." Hanson describes President Putin as, "Aged, ailing and paranoid." For the leaders of two of the worldís nuclear powers to be out of their minds at the same time does not bode well for humankind. But Biden* might not be the first deranged U.S. President.
Dr. Sigmund Freud thought President Woodrow Wilson was, at times, deranged. In 1966, Dr. Freud, and former U.S. Ambassador William C. Bullitt, co-authored: Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study. The authors claimed that Wilsonís Super Ego sabotaged the Treaty of Versailles and prevented Wilson from accepting the reasonable compromises offered by U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge with regard to the League of Nations Treaty. For sure, Wilson had a medical history of debilitating strokes. For the last two years of his presidency a major stroke put his second wife, Edith Galt Wilson, in virtual charge of the White House. Wilsonís well-documented rants against African-Americans add context to the idea that Woodrow Wilson was mentally ill for part of his life.
Fast forward to Vladimir Putin whose failing health and paranoia do not disqualify Putin from being crazy like a fox. Putin, like the late Rodney Dangerfield, complains, "I donít get no respect." But he should. After all, Russia saved Western Europe from the Mongol hoardes, defeated Napoleon, and defeated Hitler when the Allies who, without Stalinís Russia, did not have enough military power to defeat Hitler.
Although Napoleon looted Moscow for 36 days, the even more militarily powerful Germans have twice almost brought the totality of Mother Russia to her knees. Recall, In 1914, the Germans humiliated Russia at the Battle of Tannenberg. Many Russians believe there is something in the German character that compels them to militarize and march to the East, in search of lebensraum. Recall, crushing Poland in its path, German military might charged for Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad, killing millions of Russians and scorching the earth along the way.
Maybe a vengeful Putin is using his invasion of Ukraine toward a larger objective: the total destruction of Germanyís ability to ever attack Russia again. But wait, even a feebly-led U.S. cannot permit NATO-member Germany to be destroyed. So, maybe Ukraine is a diversion away from gas pipelines being shut down and even sabotaged. Ergo: Putin may have opted for a "strategy of the indirect approach" Chess game:
Chess move one, fund Germanyís Green Movement. Then, induce the Germans to shut down all coal-fired and nuclear-powered energy sources, relying solely on solar and wind. Chess move two, once Germany is totally dependent on Russia for heat, wait for Old Man Winter. Rather than freeze to death, the Germans might agree to leave NATO, dismiss their armed forces, and dismantle their defense industry. The U.S. and NATO would be helpless to stop such a process.
But Putinís plan -- assuming this is it -- isnít working. Instead. Germany is drawing closer to NATO. Thus, a castrated Germany is probably not the bequest the aging, ailing, and paranoid Putin will be able to leave to Mother Russia.
Nota Bene: As Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
Suggested reading: The Morgenthau Plan. A 1944 memorandum from then Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. entitled: Suggested Post-Surrender Program for Germany. Strategy: The Indirect Approach by Sir Basil H. Liddell-Hart, 1954.
©2022. William Hamilon.