Armstrong Economics Blog/Russia Re-Posted Mar 7, 2022 by Martin Armstrong
QUESTION: Thanks Marty – would you agree that the west does not understand the Russian mind? For them it’s not all about economic considerations, therefore “sanctions” take a back seat to security and strategy which we can’t comprehend. Americans playing checkers, Russians playing chess.
REPLY: Our greatest problem is that people have characterized Putin as a madman and then they paint all of Russia with the same brush. But that is a distraction from trying to understand what is the real confrontation with Russia all about and replacing Putin will by no means be the solution. You may find someone far worse, but historically Russia will never TRUST the West for many reasons. We must understand how Russia looks at this and that transcends Putin. His views of Russian security are not unique and all leaders have taken the same ideas. So a Putin successor is not likely to change the Russian mindset.
What is the backdrop to ALL Russian leaders historically? There are no mountains in eastern Ukraine, which has made this region the gateway through the great expanse of flatland that is the European Plain which throughout history has been the curse of the Russians. It allowed the Mongols to destroy the Russ in their capital which was Kyiv in 1240. This great expanse has been such inviting territory for the invaders who have attacked Russia from there repeatedly through history. In truth, Russia has never invaded Europe, but Europe has repeatedly invaded Russia as has been the case from Asia.
Putin, like Russian leaders before him, has always been deeply concerned and has at least tried to control the flatlands to protect Russia’s western front. This geography deeply impresses history upon the Russian mind. Russia sees this region as hard to defend, and where for centuries leaders have far too often tried to extend power into Russia.
People judge others by themselves. Americans have never had tanks rolling down the streets destroying everything. We do not understand the memories of others for we are human and that means we judge others by ourselves. The fool is robbed because he does not think of robbing others. Those who are criminally minded, see everyone else must have the same intent.
Western leaders clearly have difficulty understanding Putin and prefer to cast him as a madman for they do not understand the history of Russia that always remains in the back of their mind just as Americans fear the return of a Great Depression and Germans instinctively fear inflation because if the hyperinflation of 1923. We always judge the future by our past experiences. Even in relationships, if a previous partner cheated on them, they then look for signs that their current partner will do the same.
Putin responded to Syria in defense of the attempt to run a pipeline through Syria by the US to undermine its hold of energy to Europe. From Russia’s view, the West is constantly trying to undermine their economy in some grudge match against Putin personally. The events in Ukraine are again trying to undermine Russia’s flow of energy to Europe even if this is for Climate Change which they see as an excuse for the same old hostility. Winston Churchill in 1939 made an observation that Russia “is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside of an enigma.” Britain is an island and that too is not easily invaded. Unfortunately, Britain and America do not fully understand the Russian mind and their history of being vulnerable to invasion from Europe and Asia.
My father was with General Patton from North Africa to Berlin. He told me that Patton, aside from believing he was reincarnated to fight the war, was a student of history and read Rommel’s book on tactical warfare. Hence, Patton defeated Rommel only by understanding his strategy and how he thought. Putin is not a madman. He is a brilliant strategist. He thinks of Russia in its historical context and the main objective of the Soviet Union was to control territory to prevent future invasions. Putin’s military interventions abroad in the context of Russian leaders’ longstanding attempts to deal with geography for Russia has also the greatest landmass which is not easy to defend. Putin’s motives are not so mysterious after all if we also spend some time trying to understand the mindset of Russia they have learned the hard way.
Russia with its largest landmass among nations confronts both Europe and Asia. In the past 500 years, Russia has been invaded several times from the west. The Poles came across the European Plain in 1605. They were followed by the Swedes under Charles XII in 1707 who sought to conquer Russia. That was again followed by the famous invasion of Napoleon in 1812. Then the Germans tried to conquer Russia, not once, but twice during world wars, in 1914 and 1941. Yet the demonization of Putin clearly overlooks history. Then in 1999, the US bankers, with a nod from the Clinton Administration, sought to blackmail Yeltsin and install a puppet which is when Yeltsin realized the plot and turned to Putin. NEVER once has Russia invaded Europe. The bankers wanted the richest – oil, gold, diamonds, and rare piles of earth. This seems to be always the reason – their rich resources. Obama even wanted to invade Syria to stop the pipeline they hoped would kill the Russian economy and end the dependency of Europe on Russia for fuel. Yet the West always paints Russia as evil.
In Poland, the flat plain is only 300 miles wide stretching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Carpathian Mountains in the south. After that narrow pass, it opens up to a geographic opening with a width of about 2,000 miles near the Russian border. That provides an open and flat route straight to Moscow. This is why Russia has repeatedly sought to occupy Poland throughout history.
We MUST understand the Russian thinking just as General Patton was able to defeat Rommel by reading his books. As long as we just demonize Putin, all we will do is propel the world into a catastrophic war, and Western Civilization as we have known it will fall. To Russia, this is NOT the ego of just Putin. This is the historical mindset of Russia and if the West killed Putin, they will get someone far worse and there will be no solution but inhalation of the world we have known.
All we have done is raise the Iron Curtain ourselves. Everyone is now blocking Russia isolating it as if this will do anything but confirm that there is no resolution but war. We lack a statement like Nixon. In his historic move to divide China and Russia, he explained that the Soviet Union had more forces deployed along the border with China than it did on the border with Europe. “Since you do not know me, you shouldn’t trust me,” Nixon said in a declassified transcript of his first historic meeting with China’s leaders in Beijing. “You will find I never say something I cannot do. And I always will do more than I can say.” There is no leader today with that understanding.
The United States has sought nothing but confrontation. This tape shows the US was covertly supporting the Civil War in Ukraine as a proxy war against Russia even back in 2016. You will recall Lindsey Graham smashed his Phone because Trump did not support this agenda. McCain refused to allow Trump to even speak at his funeral and handed the fake Russian documents to the FBI Comey to try to prevent Trump from being elected.
They hated Trump because he was not interested in starting a war with Russia. They used the same psychological warfare tactic to get people to hate Trump as they are doing once again against Putin. So Lindsey is back with his hatred of Putin he expects countless people to die because of his personal hatred.
However, history is about to repeat. The hatred of Russia in the US is systemic. Back in 1980 when Russia invaded Afghanistan, the US was there to provide advisers, training, and funding to the Mujahideen. The problem was when Russia withdrew from Afghanistan, those forces became the Taliban which then turned on the United States that had backed them., They used the training and weapons to kill Americans.
Now the US has been funding extreme-right Ukraine’s Azov Battalion which prides itself on being Natzis. I have verified that the head of this, Dmytro Kotsyubaylo, did indeed tell the press that he feeds the bones of Russian-speaking children in the Donbas to his pet wolf. The hatred of Russians goes back to Stalin who killed 7 million Ukrainians by starvation. So while the press only raises Zelensky as some sort of hero of freedom, the treatment of the civilians in the Donbas has been anything but humane. There is dissent in Ukraine against Zelensky which the Western press will not report. Will the forces we are funding be the start of the rise of another Natzi era?