Luongo: The Russian Regime-Change Trap

 Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

Regime change in Russia is all the rage right now. It’s another episode of MI-6’s longest running show, “Russia – Putin’s Fragile Playground,” playing daily in our intelligence co-opted media.

Luongo: The Russian Regime-Change Trap

And, hey, thanks to Elon Musk that’s no longer a conspiracy theory, despite the protestations of the bad guys.

The current picture is one punctuated with regular stories of Ukrainian drone attacks on a Russian air base or power station. There’s even now a major article making the rounds about how Russia is facing organized sleeper cells of saboteurs operating without restraint to take out critical infrastructure.

Not that I doubt that it’s true, of course the US and its “key NATO ally” (*cough* the UK *cough*) are fully committed to taking down Russia, but it’s the fact that it’s happening now as Russia makes big moves to reorganize its military to fight this war for the long haul is what’s interesting.

This implies that all of a sudden now there is significant pushback to the scale of that commitment within the EU. I have serious doubts about that.

The recent admission by Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Minsk Accords were just a time-buying exercise to arm Ukraine for the war can be interpreted in a number of ways.

But for me, knowing that the dominant narrative has been to frame this as a US-led proxy war versus Russia, Merkel’s admission plays into that perfectly. Remember, I’ve always made the distinction between The Davos Crowd and the Neoconservatives.

I’ve always viewed the Neocons as the Useful Idiots of the more Leninist Davosians. Merkel is a committed Davosian lieutenant if there ever was one.

Merkel is adding to that hyper-aggressive US narrative by trying to frame her part in Minsk as something demanded by the US that she went along with.

This is a US-led train that the EU has been held hostage on like its the freaking Snowpiercer.

Yeah, ok.

It makes much more sense if we’re getting all revisionist about things to argue that Merkel used her good relations with Putin and his blind spot for Germany to negotiate Nordstream 2, knowing full well it would be a geopolitical minefield.

Seriously, when you stop to think through the entire NS2 saga, if Merkel was sincere in buying time to go to war with Ukraine then if follows the pipeline was just another Minsk strategically; waste not only Russia’s time but also billions of dollars on a project that was never going to pay them back?

In that view, the money spent on NS2 was one of the first casualties of this war which has been going on since the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in 2014.

When viewed through that lens it makes the current situation even more dangerous and more tenuous than ever. Because that leaves you realizing the depth to how angry the Russians are, and how committed they are to the war.

This means their best strategic play is trapping the West in a Ukrainian meat grinder economically, politically, and militarily of its own devising.

And that brings me to a recent post by Martin Armstrong. Martin is looking at the cycles and forecasting a cluster of them coinciding around the March/April 2023 time frame in relation to war and Putin.

As always, salting to taste Martin’s computer modeling of the future is quite necessary, but I’m happy to engage it if it yields insight.

I understand that Martin Armstrong is very worried about how these next few years play out, and rightly so. The psychopaths in charge across the West don’t have a reverse gear. They only attack.

If you are confused about what it is these people really believe about where the future of Russia is headed, this recent article at the Hudson Institute – about as normie Neocon an institution as you can get — should clear things up.

This article isn’t an opinion piece about potential goals or to be read as a wish-list of crazy people. It is a fervently held set of beliefs that stem from their view of demographic analysis of Russia and their mission to stamp out the remains of the Soviet Union.

This is an ideological fight for the neocons. Ending Russia is their religion.

It is why they are so easy to manipulate. It makes them the perfect useful idiots in Davos’ larger game.

To the neocon mind (sic), it is a foregone conclusion that Russia is going to collapse. I refer you to my article from the other day about models, ‘laziness,’ and the gulf between knowledge and the pretense thereof.

It is this attention to the order of operations that is important in trying to make sense of what’s going on in the world today.

One of my most common complaints with my ‘libertarian brethren’ is that they are always jumping to ‘end-game’ while not thinking through the moves that get us there.

In monetary theory we can do the math and realize the system is doomed. By taking that variable and adding it into the political mix we can solve the geopolitical equation and then make grand pronouncements about the where everything winds up.

And when that happens people arrogantly settle into their conclusions and then their confirmation bias takes over. Each data point then confirms what they want to see and they ignore the Black Swans on the horizon.

Luongo: The Russian Regime-Change Trap

The neocons and Davos have already mapped the future end-game and have, frankly, checked out on the day-to-day moves. They are like the libertarians I described above, just waiting for the collapse that may never come.

And I have to thank Martin Armstrong for helping me get past that arrogance personally. His relentless attention to the ‘order of operations’ is his greatest contribution to the commentariat.

This is where I think Martin’s anxiety about Putin and Russia comes from, and again, fair enough. Personnel is policy, after all. But that’s on both sides of the political divide.

I believe he is misreading the situation in Russia when it comes to Putin.

In fact, despite having ‘deep sources’ in Russia, Martin’s analysis of Putin has been fairly weak.  Just because the neocons believe they can just foment enough chaos internally, they can overthrow Putin doesn’t mean that it will finally occur.

Did this work in 2015, when Putin disappeared from the public sphere for two weeks in February and Armstrong himself told us that he was dealing with an internal coup attempt within the Kremlin, which Putin put down with his characteristic understatement?

They faced lesser sanctions then but had a bigger monetary problem than they did in 2022 because in 2014 Russia wasn’t prepared for all-out economic warfare.  Putin warned his SEO giants like Gazprom and Rosneft to pay down their dollar-denominated debt and diversify their payment structure. 

They didn’t and it nearly cost Russia everything.

Putin, with Xi’s help, bailed them out.  But, as always, it’s pretty obvious he got something in return, more loyalty from them.

Martin’s fears stem from not believing Putin always understood his position vs. the West.  It’s naïve on his part to think that Putin who called the west “Not Agreement Capable” in 2015 believed that Minsk was ever going to be implemented or that the UK wouldn’t cross every red line.

While Minsk bought Ukraine time to arm itself, it bought Putin time to build the weapons and systems needed to stop it, while proving to the world that the West was preparing for war on them as well as Russia.

The strategy he employed in dealing with Gazprom and Rosneft in 2015 to secure the domestic allies he’d need today was also used to curate the friends he’d need internationally.

c.f. 2022 as proof of this.

Putin’s strategy has always been allow their strategy of aggressive military and economic strangulation to develop and use diplomacy and honest brokering to accumulate allies around the world for that moment when the West decided to strike in Ukraine.

Then he struck before they were ready.

Martin is, in my view, projecting his fears onto Putin with this analysis.

And I don’t think he does himself any favors by publishing his “Putin Cycle” chart because it doesn’t line up with any of Putin’s big moves. 

Luongo: The Russian Regime-Change Trap

This cycle missed Putin accepting Crimea into Russia (March 2014), his 2015 UN Speech and move into Syria, which his grand Economic Confidence Model picked up (Sept 28-30th 2015). It missed his speech where he outlined his strategy to beat the West at the Munich Security Confernece of 2007.  It missed his State of the Union address in March 2018 where he unveiled the weapons which set us on this path where the Neocons realized their window for taking down Russia would close permanently if those weapons ever went into mass production.

I don’t want to be too harsh here because it’s obvious Martin is simultaneously sincere, well informed, and rightfully concerned about Putin’s predicament.  It’s obvious that Putin’s being targeted for termination.  He is the captain steering the Russian ship and the crazies in Moscow are being given every excuse to get rid of him.

But I remind you that Russia like Iran and more so than China, is a civilization first and a system second. Because of that, external pressure and internal infiltration won’t have the same effect as it has here in the West.  

Yes, both Iran and Russia are corrupt, but they are corrupt in different ways than in the West. Iranians and Russians understand this corruption far better than egghead analysts at Langley feeding think tanks on K-Street.

And that, I think, is the difference here.  Putin may have to fend off another round of treasonous activity in the Kremlin in 2023, but I don’t think for a moment that he’s not aware of it.  In fact, what I would say is that his strategy with domestic traitors is no different than how he deals with his Western adversaries; allowing them to think they have him on the ropes and then crush them after they’ve exposed themselves.

That’s Colonel Doug MacGregor’s assessment of Putin’s strategy on the ground in Ukraine.  It’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t pursue the same strategy inside Russia herself, if MacGregor is correct.

Personnel, again, is policy.

None of this is to say that it won’t be a treacherous path for Putin in 2023.  It will be.  

The West believes the humiliations that they have inflicted on Putin will force him from office.

But today’s Russia seems to be, as Alex Mercouris put it in a recent video, “Embarrassment-proof.”

This is what Martin is worried about, that the embarrassments of drone attacks and lack of military success will create unrest for Putin at home.

I would be more worried that Putin makes a big move in the coming weeks in Ukraine.  That he again, “Goes First,” and pre-empts what the West has planned by attacking.

The drone strikes inside Russia are part of these humiliations. But, I think Armstrong, like the neocons, is assessing the political damage to Putin as if he were an American politician.

We are the ones with this air of invincibility.  Russians, thanks to Putin’s successful framing of the conflict, propaganda if you like, are under no illusions about the situation.

They understand their government is dysfunctional.  They understand the West is inconsolable about their refusal to be colonized or wiped off the earth.  And lastly, they understand that Putin isn’t perfect but he’s no globalist traitor.

An airstrike here or a failed offensive there isn’t evidence of anything more than what they’ve always known.  They aren’t starting from the position of imperial arrogance.

We are the ones whose psyches are fragile.  They are the ones who have gone through the fire (the 1990s) and survived.  

This is why we’re more likely to collapse if our vaunted military might falters, or worse, is defeated. Now go back to my arguments about Merkel, Minsk and NS2 and tell me you can’t see the trap that Davos has set for the Neocons and the US political establishment living in the bubble of their foregone conclusions.

The goal of these provocations is, again, to get Russia to go off halfcocked and give the West the moral high ground to mobilize for total war.  

Russia is a country trying to rise, or at least not be swallowed up by attrition. It is not a colonial power trying to stave off the inevitable dissolution.  Time is its ally here.  

Putin will have to respond to these attacks.  He will need a big political win in the next few months.  If you are handicapping his political situation right now, one big negative is his canceling his annual marathon Q&A, but that can be read two ways.

It’s a lot of work to put that event on. Spending weeks preparing for a show he shouldn’t waste his time on it while running a war is the right message to send to his people, not pledging state resources to fix a broken toilet in Irkutsk.

The West wants you to believe he doesn’t want to face an angry populace for his unpopular war.

Honestly?  My answer to that is, “Ok, Boomer.”

Now ask yourself who’s allocating $4 million per member of Congress for “personal security” in a bill that they ram-rodded through post-election?

What should unnerve you about this whole situation is that the one person who is supposedly months away from being destroyed is the one who is calm, understanding his fate.

“Do you know what they say among the Russian people? Those who are destined to hang, do not drown.”

– VLADIMIR PUTIN

You know, now that I think about this quote, I’m not so sure Putin was only just describing himself.

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