The Putin delusion

Ralph Peters:

RUSSIAN Prime Minister Vladimir Putin doesn't play defensive ball - he's all offense, all the time. First, he invaded Georgia. Now he's invading our presidential election.

Thursday, Putin and his propaganda agents "explained" that the Georgia crisis - simmering for 20 years - was cooked up in the Bush White House.

Russia's thug-in-chief would have us believe that US political hacks duped tiny Georgia into launching a war that would dismember it, and that they did so in order to fabricate an image of a menacing Russia - thus frightening Americans into voting Republican.

Well, I can tell you from inside sources that every American involved in Georgia counseled its president to ignore Russia's bloody provocations. Ultimately, though, President Mikheil Saakashvili had to respond to the deadly attacks on his own people. And Putin got his war.

But the truth doesn't matter - and Putin knows it. When it comes to sizing up opponents, he's the greatest intelligence operative of our time.

Putin gets us. He knew he only had to toss out a "Wag the Dog" scenario and the Western media would bark - and the White House would have to respond on the defensive.

He also realized that conspiracy junkies (and European pols) would snap up the story and keep it alive through November.

Putin's repeating his Georgia gambit: Tell a Big Lie blaming the victim for what the perp just did.

It's shameless, and it works. Yesterday morning, NPR's Diane Rehm-usually an admirable host - led a "serious" discussion about Putin's charge.

Putin's reinvented the show trial for the 21st century: You hold it in the media. Once the accusation's made, the accused is guilty. Putin's so good he might've outplayed Stalin.

Russia's latest strongman just committed the most flagrant intervention in a US presidential election by any foreign leader, purposely casting blame on the party he wants to lose in November. And the Western media didn't call him on it. Instead, they ran with the story.

Yet Putin unwittingly made a rare mistake: He showed fear.


What has been interesting to me is the reactions of Russians to the story. While Peters is saying the US media swallowed the story, the Russians are complaining because the whole interview was not presented. I think it is still a dumb story that only left wing kooks might buy. What makes it dumb is that Putin is saying that he fell into a trap set by the US.

Imagine, the US persuaded him to station all those troops and tanks on the border with Georgia which poses zero threat to Russia, then the US tricked him into invading Georgia so that John McCain would win the election.

It is hard to decide whether he is the bigger fool in this scenario or he thinks the US voters are. I think he misjudges the voters for sure. If voters think those who don't like favor one candidate, they are likely to vote for the other.

The Russian commenters on this blog act like the US media is controlled by the Bush administration. People so misinformed are hard to persuade with the truth. Many of them sound like the stereotype of bluster and misinformation from the cold war days, but at least they are seeing the other side on the internet these days.


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