In The Mind Of Caesar
Greer often says that during the collapse of empires, people often turn to charismatic figures to lead them. This article gives a good glimpse into Putin's mind and the way that too many under-estimated him.
"Understanding Vladimir Putin, the man who fooled the world"
"Even though western intelligence services had warned for months that Russia was poised to attack, many experienced Putin-watchers, both in Russia and the west, refused to believe it. After more than 20 years of his leadership, they felt that they understood Putin. He was ruthless and violent, no doubt, but he was also believed to be rational, calculating and committed to Russia’s integration into the world economy. Few believed he was capable of such a reckless gamble. Looking back, however, it is clear that the outside world has consistently misread him. From the moment he took power, outsiders too often saw what they wanted and played down the darkest sides of Putinism.
In fact, the outside world’s indulgence of Putin went much further than simply turning a blind eye to his excesses. For a rising generation of strongman leaders and cultural conservatives outside Russia, Putin became something of a hero and a role model. As his admirers saw it, the Russian leader had inherited a country humiliated by the breakup of the Soviet Union. Through strength and cunning, he had restored its status and global power, and even regained some of the territory lost when the USSR broke up. And he had delighted nationalists and populists the world over by successfully defying self-righteous American liberals such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, was not simply spouting propaganda when he said in 2018: “There’s a demand in the world for special, sovereign leaders, for decisive ones … Putin’s Russia was the starting point.”