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Is Putin a C.I.A. Agent?

By MisterLefty following x   2018 Apr 8, 4:53am 436 views   0 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


President Trump’s steadfast reluctance to say anything negative about Russia is so striking that a former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, once observed that Vladimir Putin manages Trump as if he we were a Russian intelligence “asset.” He may be. But if I were a Russian citizen, I’d be asking this question: Is Putin a U.S. agent?

Why? Because Putin has undertaken so many actions in recent years that contributed to the weakening of Russia’s economy and human capital base that you have to wonder whether he’s secretly on the C.I.A.’s payroll.

Beginning around 2007 or 2008, Putin appears to have decided that rebuilding Russia by nurturing its tremendous human talent and strengthening the rule of law was just too hard — it would have required sharing power, holding real, competitive elections and building a truly diverse, innovation-based economy.

Instead, Putin decided to look for dignity for Russia in all the wrong places: by tapping his oil and gas wells, not his people; by strengthening the Russian military, instead of the rule of law; and by enriching himself and his circle of oligarchs while wrapping himself in a cloak of Russian Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism that appealed to his base.

Les Echos, France’s top business daily, recently quoted a Russian techy as pointing out that “Microsoft alone registers more patents than the whole of Russia!” The Russian technology market is not only weak, the story added, but “corruption in the judicial system … makes it difficult to defend your case in court when a predator takes over a successful startup.”

For all his shirtless bravado, and despite all the recent talk about how Putin is proving to be a successful authoritarian, I have one question: Then why is Putin so insecure about his real popularity in Russia that even after nearly 20 years at Russia’s helm, he was afraid to allow a single credible independent candidate to run against him in the latest presidential election?

Here’s the real truth: Putin consistently acts like a farmer who sells his most valuable beef in return for cubes of sugar. That is, he looks for short-term sugar highs to boost his popularity with his Russian nationalist base because he is insecure, and pays for it by giving up real beef, leaving Russia weaker in the long term.

Beef for sugar — not a good trade.

For instance, in 2014 Putin seized Crimea and invaded Eastern Ukraine with disguised Russian troops — to get a short-term sugar boost with the Russian electorate — and in return, he has had to live with long-term economic banking sanctions imposed by the West that help to slow Russia’s growth.

In 2015, to prove that Russia was still a superpower — another short-term sugar high for his base — Putin sent advisers, Russian Air Force jets, special operations teams and surface-to-air missile batteries to Syria to prevent the toppling of Russia’s Cold War ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Putin’s support, along with the help of Iran, has just barely kept Assad upright, but for now Putin is stuck in the middle of Syria and can’t get out, lest Assad falls and Putin looks foolish.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/opinion/putin-cia-weakening-russia.html

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