Vladimir Putin Plays the ‘Globalism’ Card

On July 7, Vladimir Putin addressed a meeting with the leadership of the Duma, the Russian parliament. This speech got the attention of the international press, more than usual, and it was probably designed to do so, with Putin blustering about how he has not even begun to fight in Ukraine. Aside from that, some language he used was notable for what it might tell us about the kinds of allies he is seeking in the West. By making several references to globalism, he appears to be doubling down on courting Western right-wingers, and he may be about to make “globalist” part of the official vocabulary for his external as well as internal propaganda.

Here are the two relevant sections of the speech, with a bit of context. (You can read the full speech in English translation here on the Kremlin’s official website.) First, in a section where Putin gives the reason for the “conflict” (in this case, a Western attempt to “move on to a new stage in the fight against Russia”) he declares that the West has already lost:

“because this operation also means the beginning of a radical breakdown of the U.S.-style world order. This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world based not on self-serving rules made up by someone for their own needs, behind which there is nothing but we striving for hegemony, not on hypocritical double standards, but on international law and the genuine sovereignty of nations and civilisations, on their will to live their historical destiny, with their own values and traditions, and to align cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality.” [Emphasis mine.] 

Then a little later in the speech, Putin discusses the behavior of U.S. allies—or, as Putin calls them—“countries that are still satellites of the United States,” he castigates “their ruling elites’ blind obedience to their overlord” which “does not necessarily coincide with their national interests, and most often simply and even radically contradicts them.” He attacks these “ruling elites” as “globalist”:

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  • Thank you, Andrew.

    Of all the nonsense in those Putin speeches, "totalitarian liberalism" has to be the most oxymoronic of them all.

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  • Excellent article. Thank you.

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  • Great piece. Thank you.

    It is well know by now that the US enters wars with enthusiasm, loses interest relatively quickly and then turns against them if they last too long. So slow this war down. Make it a long, expensive war of attrition. Try to use propaganda to get one part of the US population against the war. It’s a very good strategy on the part of Putin. Who knows what a GOP majority House would do in terms of supporting Biden’s war?

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  • When you are first taught about the American revolutionary war in grammar school, you are given the *simple* version of the story: that Washington bravely fought off the English red coats and started our country.

    But if you study it any more than that you quickly learn that, strategically-speaking, the **actual US forces** didn't win the war per se, *France* did. Without France, the US would just be called, "Southern Canada" today.

    And when you understand *that*, you come to understand that the *real* American patriot who won the Revolutionary war for the Americans was not Washington, but rather *Franklin*, whose personality allowed him to camp out at Versailles for several years and convince a monarch to support a country dedicated to overthrowing a monarchy (how did that go for him anyhow?).

    A similar bit of subtle history is happening today with Ukraine, which, like the advent of the United States, will affect the entire world, not just Ukraine.

    Ukraine itself cannot fight off Russia and is dependent on the United States. Russia's war against Ukraine, therefore is really a proxy war of sorts between Russia and the United States.

    The US just sent Ukraine 40 billion dollars. Russia's entire military budget is 60 billion. The US did this by peeling off about .3% of its GDP and sending it to Ukraine.

    Hence if you are Putin, you know that you cannot defeat the United States **if the US wants to defeat him**.

    Hence the *real* war in Ukraine is happening *within* the United States: if the US remains resolved to defeat Russia, it will defeat Russia.

    Hence if you are Putin, the *real* real war is in the political landscape of the United States, and *that* battle is taking place within one of its two major political parties, the Republican party.

    Putin knows that if the pro-Putin faction of the GOP takes over the GOP, then polarization will do the rest for him: Trump demonstrated that his party will back *absolutely anything* the leadership of the party says and does even if they opposed it only weeks before. And he knows that even if the GOP doesn't hold a majority, a party dedicated to supporting him--with its powerful Media Complex--will easily tip the war in his favor.

    The stakes of the war in Ukraine could not be higher. If Putin prevails the international implications are almost too horrible to contemplate.

    But the *domestic* implications--Putin's effective control of one of America's major political parties and therefore America--is even worse.


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    1. "the **actual US forces** didn't win the war per se, *France* did. Without France, the US would just be called, "Southern Canada" today."

      Not true. French involvement helped end things a little earlier, but it was American forces that won the day.

      France refused to enter into an alliance until after US forces routed the British at Saratoga, proving they could stand toe-to-toe with the British.

      It was American forces that defeated the British in the Battle of King's Mountain.

      It was American forces that defeated the British at the Cowpens.

      It was American forces that forced the surrender of the British at Yorktown. The main assist the French gave was the blockade of Chesapeake Bay that kept Cornwallis from retreating from Yorktown by sea.

      Your point about Putin may be valid, but your comparison is not.

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      1. Yes, US forces won many battles, but there is simply no way we could have defeated the British without the French. No chance. The British had the most powerful navy in the world and they would have easily chopped us to pieces with it against our non-existence navy. It's not about any one battle, it's about the war.

        The analogy with Ukraine illustrates this as well: if the US turned on Ukraine (viz. if Trump had won) then Ukraine would have absolutely no hope of ever winning for the long term. The US was in the same situation with the British.

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        1. The British may have had the most powerful navy in the world, but there are two issues that come into play here:

          1. Navies cannot do much once you get past the coastal towns and ports. They cannot gain and hold territory, and they cannot pacify a land-based populace.

          2. The British explicitly refused to commit their navy to the battle, partially because there were many sympathizers to the Colonial cause in the British Parliament which prevented England from going after scorched earth tactics like full out naval bombardment.

          The lack of naval commitment was what allowed the French to run off the few British naval ships involved in the conflict and blockade Chesapeake Bay.

          The British army had, at different points in the war, taken New York City, taken (and given up) Philadelphia, taken Savannah, and then Charleston, SC (the most important port city in the south), and they still couldn't force the Americans to surrender. It simply confounded them because we weren't playing by the civilized rules of war.

          By the time Cornwallis ensconced himself at Yorktown the British Parliament was getting increasingly frustrated by the inability of Howe and Clinton and Cornwallis to deal with the Americans. When Cornwallis surrendered it broke the political will to fight. The French played a small part in that surrender, but even if they had not been there it would have still been an American victory.

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          1. This is obviously a long conversation, but every historian I have read concluded the US could not have defeated the British without France's help. Again, the answer lies not in individual battles, but in the larger context of the war. (You could potentially make a case for "eventually" but that gets into the very murky area of alternative history...).

            I did a quick googling on this question and every single result reached the same conclusion. If you have some historians with an alternative view I'm all ears, but my understanding of the military history is that there would have been no chance without France.


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  • It will be interesting to see if Solovyov and other Russian TV personalities also start to harp endlessly on globalism to echo their masters voice!

    Putin and propagandists use of Nazis and fascism vis a vis Ukraine have a small kernel of historical truth most evident w Azov years/decades ago, but even as Ukraine/Azov has changed for the better, Russia's demonizing Nazi mythology has metastasized into something totally disconnected from reality. His propaganda language and arguments may work on Russian reality TV, but they start to shatter and seem "cartoonish" against the real Nazi and fascism history when Finland, Sweden, Poland and other European histories enter the picture.

    When Putin says "we have many supporters, including in the United States and Europe, and even more so on other continents and in other countries" I sincerely hope his black and white mindset (you are with the tsar or against the tsar) leads him to think he has many allies on both the left and the right in the West, when the truth is many of those criticizing globalism are doing so in the long term goal of "improving" (or at least mitigating the acknowledged failures) of globalism. That is, he has a blind spot to Americans who can criticize their own nations' imperialism, colonialism, slavery, etc. yet remain loyal Americans--because in Russia that kind of self-criticism is rooted out.

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  • Another great call-out of Putin’s tactics. Thank you, Andrew, for going though and distilling his disinformation campaigns down to the essence so that we don’t have to. It is difficult for me to read his mentions of Nazis, imperialism, and censorship in your articles, let alone directly reading or listening to his speeches.

    Hopefully, enough Americans are listing to your type of analysis to avoid being manipulated. Unfortunately, I think the Tucker Carlson’s of the world have a larger reach than The Dispatch. ☹

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  • The mere fact Putin is changing his ‘reasons’ for the war on Ukraine means many aren’t buying the old ‘reasons’. I think this is a bad sign for Putin, both inside and outside Russia

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  • Well presented and explained. Puttin and the reactionary Russian view appear to use the Holy Alliance model of 19th Century imperialism as a framework for other arguments of why Russian aggression benefits human kind. These arguments can be tailored for consumption by right or left wing audiences. In the end, all arguments support Russian supremacy.

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  • I'm surprised it took Putin so long to push this narrative, Infowars has been doing it for years. It's been disheartening to see Alex Jones and his ilk get mainstreamed into the right wing media ecosystem. I expect the "Putin anti-globalist ally" message to spread in right wing media.

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