Putin’s Soviet-style Power Politics
By Cliff Kincaid
As many have commented, the release of former Soviet military officer Viktor Bout demonstrates the weakness of Joe Biden and the strength of Russian President Vladimir Putin. America was humiliated. But Ukraine will suffer as a result. At a time when Ukraine had turned the corner against Russia in the war, Putin has achieved an incredible propaganda victory that can keep the war going and even turn the tide in Russia’s favor.
Biden is more concerned about the feelings of a black lesbian who smokes pot than the brave and courageous people of Ukraine. By contrast, Putin saved a Soviet military officer from an American jail who has now become a Russian hero singing the praises of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He specialized in killing people for the fun and profit of Red Russia.
Keep in mind the difference between the two cases. Bout was caught by the Americans planning to kill Americans and arm communist terrorists. Brittney Griner tried to smuggle a marijuana canister device into Russia, where she was supposed to play basketball for $1 million. She pleaded guilty.
The outcome demonstrates these are dangerous times for America – and Ukraine.
The former KGB colonel running Russia believes this confirms his determination to continue the war on Ukraine. He now has reason to believe that the weak-kneed Biden will ultimately pressure Ukraine to make a deal with Russia, rewarding Putin for his military aggression.
The release of the “Merchant of Death” also demonstrates the relationship between the Soviet Union and Russia today. One is an outgrowth of the other, and no clear break between the two exists. That fact, of course, was always visible in Putin himself. He was a Soviet KGB colonel.
It must be recalled, as we detailed in our book, Back from the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire, that Putin never repudiated the Soviet state. His invasion in 2008 of Georgia, the former Soviet Republic, was evidence of his true intentions. The invasion of Ukraine in 2014 (under Obama) and then in 2022 (under Biden) confirmed the direction he is taking. For Putin, there is no turning back.
Putin perceives that Biden put more value on a lesbian WNBA pothead than the security of Ukraine. After all, Viktor Bout is an arms dealer who knows how to arm anti-American states and movements. He says he supports the war and would “certainly go as a volunteer” if he could. But he will be called back into service to figure out more ways to kill the people of Ukraine. Supporters of Ukraine have to take this fact into account. Russia now has a potential military edge that was not anticipated. Bout’s connections, just like the remnants of the old KGB, are still available for military operations and terrorism.
With Bout back in the Russian arsenal, we can anticipate a new phase in the war.
There is a lesson here for conservatives and Republicans. The ranting against Ukraine by figures such as Tucker Carlson has to be understood as rhetoric that only motivated Putin to fight harder and take advantage of Biden. Of course, conservatives have to understand as well that Biden bears ultimate responsibility for this catastrophe. Biden encouraged the “minor incursion” unto Ukraine in the first place. When it happened, he had no alternative but to supply Ukraine with some self-defense weapons. But he drew the line at supplying war planes, which could have turned the tide against Russia.
The result has been hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, not to mention another refugee crisis for Europe. All of this is Russia’s fault. Of course, Europe ignored former President Trump’s advice to prepare for Putin’s oil blackmail scheme. That made the problem into a global economic crisis.
With the release of Bout, America now has to prepare for more war and respond accordingly. Unfortunately, America is still saddled with Biden, a weak vessel doing the bidding of Barack Hussein Obama, who laid the groundwork for Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine. We are also saddled with “conservative” commentators like Tucker Carlson, who have been arguing against war with Russia but in fact have made it possible for Russia now to expand that war.
To surrender to Putin at this point might be Tucker’s position. But it would be a disaster not only for Ukraine but a geopolitical disaster for the United States. We have no alternative but to insist on more funding for Ukraine’s self-defense needs.
The answer to Biden’s capitulation to Putin is not to hold hearings or investigate, as we have done in regard to his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which turned that country over to terrorists. The answer is to help Ukraine take the war to Russia itself. This is an urgent matter. Congress has to respond by making sure there are no “rules of engagement” that hobble Ukraine’s war effort.
It’s fine to audit the money and arms going to Ukraine. We have a right to know that the country gets everything they need. We also have a right to know that our money isn’t being wasted.
But let’s keep our eyes on the ball. With Biden’s release of this arms dealer, it should be clear, even to the pro-Putin commentators on Fox News, that Putin is a holdover from the Soviet days who is deadly serious about taking back the former Soviet republics. Biden, by contrast, is a political weakling who never intended to pursue a “peace-through-strength” victory over this former KGB colonel.
If Ukraine can survive Biden, perhaps America can, too.