Russia’s Trump?

Six days ago, I wrote of the Russian state media’s calls for Vladimir Putin to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons in response to NATO’s alleged nuclear threats against Russia. At that time, I wrote:

In short, Russia, in desperation and about to suffer the most humiliating military defeat since the United States scurried away from the Taliban like the frightened rats they have all too often turned out to be, is ramping up its doomsday solution for saving face — at the expense of destroying itself and everyone else — by starting a nuclear war in Europe, while pretending that they are merely responding to supposed provocations.

Now, less than a week later, comes the inevitable official version of that propaganda test run.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff,” Putin said in a televised address to the nation.

Citing NATO expansion towards Russia’s borders, Putin said the West was plotting to destroy his country, engaging in “nuclear blackmail” by allegedly discussing the potential use of nuclear weapons against Moscow, and accused the United States, the European Union and Britain of encouraging Ukraine to push military operations into Russia itself.

If we were not talking about the obliteration of civilization, Putin’s pathetic games would actually be most amusing. In fact, they are amusing even though we are talking about nuclear annihilation. For it would be most apt and, if we may put it this way, typical, for the human race to destroy itself through the ego-saving delusions of a vain and trivial man. 

After years of watching Donald Trump cater to and idolize Putin, are we now watching Putin, reduced like his idolater to the inescapable reality of humiliating defeat, “pulling a Trump”? To those who might say the stakes are much higher in this case, and Putin’s self-serving lies aimed at a graver level of destruction than Trump’s, I reply that you are perhaps prone to the modern materialist fallacy of assuming mere physical demise to be the worst possible outcome. Trump has nuked the souls of millions of decent Americans who succumbed to the fatal weaknesses of excessive fear and desperation — and in many ways nuked the very heart of modernity’s greatest political idea — with his vainglorious, face-saving lies. What could Putin’s bombs do to top that? Nothing, I daresay.

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