Putin’s Folly

By Lloyd Graff

Why did Vladimir Putin start this war to take Ukraine?

I’ve heard and read a dozen theories about why he started this evil venture, which now appears to be both madness and failure. I think that a year ago or even a decade ago this invasion would not have seemed foolish to him because he was so blinded by what he saw as his destiny and his foes’ weakness. 

Putin grew up in the Cold War in the Soviet Union. His college was the KGB, which hated the West. He was stationed in East Germany when the Berlin Wall was pulled down, and it seemed like that sowed the seeds of revenge for the humbling of the Russia he loved.

Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states dumped Russia as soon as they dared. Those events must have sickened him and left him with a burning rage. It appeared to grow as he got older and he shrewdly seized more power year by year. Putin never seemed to mellow with age.  

The KGB experience taught him to mistrust everybody. It also seems to have inculcated in him the belief that everybody could be corrupted and those who sought power and wealth were the easiest to corrupt and blackmail.

His corrupting of the German head of state, Gerhard Schroeder, must have reinforced this belief as he attempted to weaken Germany, the strongest European country economically, by making it almost totally dependent on Russian natural gas with the Nordstream pipelines. 

After Schroeder left government, he became the economic head of the Nordsteam company, though Putin and his henchmen held the real power. It was the ultimate buying of a prominent politician, and it must have confirmed Putin’s belief that he could own anybody by putting enough money in their pockets

Putin’s cynicism about Europe and America is limitless. He surrounds himself with KGB types, sycophants, and oligarchs who owe him their wealth and power. 

The photo of Putin sitting at the head of an endless table with generals and spies at the other end became the symbol of his regime. He isolated himself in his castle like a czar. He listened only to people who saw the world like he did. His observations of the prosperous Western countries surely galled him as his lust for power and revenge festered.

Russia took over Crimea in Ukraine in 2014 and then a Russian speaking region after that. If he could capture Ukraine, with its agricultural resources and its Black Sea port of Odessa, he would be well on his way to putting the Soviet Union back together. The Baltics would be pushovers. America was divided with no taste for war. The Afghanistan pull out only confirmed that view. NATO countries were captives to Russian energy exports and intimidated by his nuclear bombs and missiles as he saw it.

Vladimir Putin as the shirtless horseman

It must have seemed like the perfect time to invade Ukraine. Its head of state was an actor and former comedian, almost a perfect counterpoint compared to Putin, the virile shirtless horseman.

Putin trucked 150,000 troops into Ukraine and nobody raised a finger in Europe or America. NATO did nothing. It was all so easy. 

Then it all fell apart. Zelinsky stood up to the bully. Ukraine did not fold or give up. Zelinsky did not flee. Putin’s army was soft, and his tanks were the helpless elephants of WWII. All Russia could do was shoot missiles at civilian targets, kill helpless people, and destroy cities. 

Overnight, Vladimir Putin became the new Hitler. Western countries attacked the Russian economy with potent sanctions. He became a pathetic a joke. His reputation was shattered and the weaknesses of Russia—rampant alcoholism, an average lifespan of 10 years less than the rest of Europe, a bankrupt army, poorly led unmotivated soldiers, and a war criminal running the country—became obvious.

Vladimir Putin is finished as a world leader. He is a victim of his own folly, blinded by a pathetic desire to avenge the demise of the Soviet Union. Suicide is a more likely ending for him than a trial as a war criminal.

Question: How do you think the war in Ukraine will play out?

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7 thoughts on “Putin’s Folly

  1. Wendell Good

    If he commits suicide it may be by triggering nuclear war. I doubt this happens. I think he will destroy as much of Ukraine as possible as he looks for a face saving exit internal to his own country. Every day the war drags on increases the likelihood that there will be no face saving exit available and that some disaster like the Chernobyl nuclear plants will be destroyed with terrible radiation releases. I have no good answer. Best case may be to give up Crimea, end the war, rebuild Ukraine, and hope the Russia leadership proceeds to implode.

  2. Marc Klecka

    Lloyd – It is in the hands of the Russian people. They had a taste of democracy, and some semblance of freedom. Was it enough to allow them to see through their ongoing barrage of propaganda?

  3. Jim Hanna

    If that was the best excuse for a horse that Putin could find for a promotional photo he can’t be nearly as smart as he thinks he is!

  4. WJM-12

    Great article in NYT about how Putin may not have miscalculated anything. If the goal was to heist the energy and wealth from eastern Ukraine territories and steal the valuable ports… while leaving the poor western Ukraine as another welfare state for the EU and West to absorb financially, he has already won this conflict and fooled our state department yet again.

  5. Nancy

    Again, please speak to the corruption in Ukraine implemented by our USA regime in 2014 Hilary Clinton and Obama and the Biden Family, holding positions on Burisma Energy Co.
    BioLabs producing BioWeapons and we send billions for the Corrupt Zelensky’s (who is a comedian and actor) and involved with the Biden families. WOW, WAKE UP to what is going on. How do these Politicians become so wealthy?
    They are bought and paid for by China. Christine Fang (Rep Eric Swalwell’s girlfriend) was on the China Airline crash a few weeks ago—coincidence? Nancy Pelosi had placed Rep Eric Swallwell on the Intelligence Committee in 2020—coincidence? Please speak to this as our Bankrupt “government” brings us into another WAR.

    1. Joey

      Not speaking to your conspiracy theories at all, but I will say President Zelensky has proven to be a great leader for Ukraine. He has stayed in the country fighting for his people. Being an actor does not disqualify you from being a great leader, is anyone here old enough to remember Ronald Reagan? He was also a charismatic, strong leader. May God bless Zelensky and the hard fighting people of Ukraine!

  6. MCK

    Russia will lose, Putin will die, democracy will prevail. Could be weeks, months or years, but that will be the ultimate outcome. Ukrainians have proven they will not go gentle into that good night.


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