There is a lot of speculation about Putin’s state of mind

Determining the Russian leader’s state of mind has become a top priority for the US government, according to a report by CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Katie Bo Lillis and Evan Perez.

It’s a tall order, getting into Putin’s head, and the United States has been interested in it for a very long time.

The US intelligence community has spent decades cracking down on the former KGB officer, who has effectively ruled Russia since 1999. But while the US has considerable institutional knowledge of the man, it has a notoriously poor view of him. their day-to-day decision-making. . The Kremlin remains what intelligence officials call a “hard target” – incredibly difficult to penetrate by traditional espionage.

In addition to some source information described in the report, there is a lot of speculation.

U.S. officials are also, according to the CNN report, “on the possibility that Putin’s strategy is to project instability, in an attempt to pressure the United States and its allies into giving him what he wants out of fear. he couldn’t do worse.”

Richard Nixon did just that when it came to Vietnam, and Donald Trump’s unpredictability had a clear effect on American foreign policy.

Some of Putin’s behavior borders on the strange. He is literally isolated from people. French President Emmanuel Macron refused a Russian Covid-19 test ahead of talks with Putin in the Kremlin last month, but social distancing does not justify this huge table.
Nor does it explain the even more distant meeting Putin had with his generals on Sunday, when he ordered them to put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert.
Last September, Putin isolated himself after Covid-19 swept away some of its staff.
His speech to justify the invasion of Ukraine, mixed with conspiracy theories, struck many – especially in the West – also bizarre since Putin has long been seen as calculating and deliberate.
People who think today’s Poutine is different. Putin struck Macron as different, according to CNN’s Melissa Bell. A French presidential source called the tone of Putin’s announcement to invade Ukraine ‘rigid and paranoid’, and said Macron thought the Russian leader was ‘more rigid and more isolated’ than he believed. had been in the past.

Macron met Putin several times before the Covid-19 pandemic, but no more before a marathon five-hour meeting on February 7 in Moscow.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice echoed Macron’s position the Putin of today.

“He’s a different Putin,” Rice said on Fox Sunday. “He was always calculating and cold. But that’s different. He seems erratic.”

Former Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Robert Gates put it more bluntly.

“It all seems to me in some ways, it’s gone off the rails,” Gates said on CNN on Sunday.

There is also open speculation among politicians in Europe.

“I think this guy has lost touch with reality, actually,” Bernard Guetta, a journalist and member of the European Parliament, says in Bell’s report. “American realities, Western European realities, Ukrainian realities and even Russian realities.”

Putin, for example, tried to justify his invasion of Ukraine as an effort to denazify the country. An absurd assertion – especially since Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, is Jewish.

In fact, Zelensky appealed to Jews around the world, posting on Facebook in Hebrew and asking them to speak out against Russia’s aggression, according to the Jerusalem Post.

What does a psychiatrist say who studies world leaders? Dr Kenneth Dekleva is a psychiatrist who previously worked at the US Embassy in Moscow and specializes in leadership analysis and political psychological profiling for national security purposes.

When CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Dekleva on Tuesday if there had been any noticeable changes in Putin’s behavior, he replied, “Yes and no.”

Putin has always been ready to resort to violence. The Russian leader’s decision to attack Ukraine is not proof of any kind of instability, Dekleva said. Putin ordered attacks in Grozny, Chechnya in the late 1990s, Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014, and Syria in 2015 and 2016. Putin is also suspected of ordering the poisoning and attacks on nerve agents against Russian dissidents abroad.
But he is a changed Putin compared to the one who took power. He is a different Putin, Dekleva argued, from the one announced in 2000, when he seemed ready to warmly make Russia a part of Europe.

But Dekleva disagreed with Rice and Gates and suggested that Putin’s recent behavior had more to do with frustration with the pace of the Russian invasion.

“No, with all due respect to my senior colleagues, I think what we have here is an intelligence failure by Putin’s intelligence agencies,” Dekleva said, arguing that the Russian leader’s behavior demonstrates his frustration with an invasion that faced fierce resistance.

“I don’t think he’s erratic or changed, but he’s definitely in more rushed,” Dekleva said, arguing that Putin could easily have stopped before the invasion and continued to play the West.

“The saddest thing here, the most tragic thing, is that Putin has gone from being a respected world leader when he came to power to … he looks more and more like the Russian Slobodan Milosevic “, said Dekleva.

Milosevic, for those who don’t know, is the Serbian autocrat who died in The Hague in 2006 while awaiting trial for war crimes.


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