Nucking Futz

Putin has gone around the bend.

78 replies
  1. 1
    AxelFoley says:

    Maybe Merkel was right–this muhfucka IS in his own world.

  2. 2
    lamh36 says:

    Senator Menendez said on MSNBC that Putin responds to “strength”. My question, what type of strength is Menendez et al advocating…troops, bombing Putin… i.e. how much “strength” will satisfy these idiots

  3. 3
    Alex S. says:

    Putin makes his own reality.

  4. 4
    Woodrowfan says:

    no wonder the righties in the US love Putin. Maybe they all live in the same bubble…

  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @lamh36: too soon to tell and all the usual caveats, Putin “responded” to the crashing ruble and a lot of quiet grumbling at home, just like Merkel’s primary concern isn’t the Russian retaking East Germany or even democracy in Ukraine but interfering with Germans’ supply of gas and oil

    also, too, repost, blind squirrel finds nut

    Ross Douthat
    Calling Russia our #1 geopolitical challenger only makes sense if geopolitics is confined to Russia’s near-abroad.

  6. 6
    Nerull says:

    There hasn’t been an open thread in a while, so I’ll just post this here.

    Yet another bitcoin exchange has been emptied out by thieves:

  7. 7
    chopper says:

    jesus, i know obama is lucky in that most all of his enemies are ridiculous, but i never imagined this effect would fuck up Putin.

  8. 8
    chopper says:

    as an aside, if this situation does in fact de-escalate, the american media and pundit class is gonna have one hell of a case of blue balls.

  9. 9
    japa21 says:

    I have also heard some reports that Putin is getting frustrated because none of the Ukraine military has fired any shots at the Russians. It appears, according to some reports, that the Russians are trying to provoke the Ukraine forces into firing first but the Ukrainians are not even carrying their weapons with them.

    This is not working out the way Putin had planned.

  10. 10
    jonas says:

    Now we know why Dubya could look into this guy’s soul and see a kindred spirit — a deluded, rambling, incoherent, reality-denying kindred spirit.

  11. 11
    David Fud says:

    Crazy like a fox, if that is what you mean. He’s not going to announce to the world that he invaded Ukraine when he has the scapegoat of local Russians to take it for him. He’s not crazy, and he’s not stupid.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    So now we know: there’s no master plan behind what Putin’s doing in Ukraine, this is merely him having a psychotic break. (Reassuring thought, that.) So what now?

  13. 13
    James E Powell says:


    Senator Menendez said on MSNBC that Putin responds to “strength”. My question, what type of strength is Menendez et al advocating

    I have to assume he means that Obama should give bellicose speeches and increase Pentagon spending on useless stuff like SDI. The right-wingers are convinced, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, that it was things such as these that won the Cold War.

  14. 14
    kindness says:

    Putin crazy???

    Crazy for TeaHaddist fanbois. They still lurvs them some shirtless hunk of mandom.

  15. 15
    ruemara says:

    I am much less comforted, now that I know this wasn’t a dastardly plan by a clever, powergrubbing dictator and just a craven, egomaniacal move by a madman.

    OT: headed to NAB in April (networking! oi vey). Juicers over there in Vegas wanna do some rabble rousin’?

  16. 16
    EconWatcher says:

    Gorbachev effectively lost his hold after the attempted coup in August 1991, when he looked weak and pathetic, although it all took a few more months to play out. Putin is looking pretty weak and pathetic right now….

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    Eleven One-dimensional chess.

  18. 18
    Paul in KY says:

    @jonas: I think Dubya must have been telling the truth there. Pretty stunning (him telling the truth).

  19. 19
    jl says:

    @japa21: That is good news. The real U.S. history is that, when we were weak and squeezed between two large ruthless powers (that is stating the facts of history, not an implication of equivalence between US and Russia today), we behaved with extreme prudence and caution, and were willing to put up with a lot of insults and injury without providing any pretexts for foreign aggression. And when we did decide enough was enough, finally, in 1812, we almost lost the country. And surprise surprise, the war did not go at all as predicted. Resolve and firmness and grand plans and statements meant nothing in the face of force and chance.

    Maybe some weaklings in the Obama administration gave the Ukrainians some advice on how to take the long view. Let’s hope for the best.

  20. 20
    Paul in KY says:

    @ruemara: It might be too soon to come to that conclusion. Let’s give it another week & see.

  21. 21
    Jane2 says:

    @David Fud: It suits the American narrative to make out that the dictator of the day is crazy and makes every move in the context of US politics.

  22. 22
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Paul in KY: he could, it just was not his preferred choice..

  23. 23
    EconWatcher says:


    I think there’s pretty good evidence that Putin is living in a bubble. He was taken by surprise, for example, when it turned out that large numbers of his countrymen were not thrilled when he re-installed himself for a third term. And in this situation, he thought he could control all of Ukraine by bribing its shaky leader.

    In his delusional belief that he can control the world, he reminds me of nothing so much as a neocon.

  24. 24
    Tommy says:

    @lamh36: Obama should go all Pulp Fiction on Putin:

    There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17.

    “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.”

    Obama in the Rose Garden saying this. I quote this cause it seems to me the Republicans want Obama to act like some movie President. Not in reality, but the reality they seem to hold. A reality not based in said reality.

  25. 25
    rikyrah says:

    Putin’s actions cost the money men $54 BILLION on the Russian stock market yesterday.

    You don’t think phone calls were made?

    I’m just sayin’.

  26. 26
    jl says:


    ” Gorbachev effectively lost his hold after the attempted coup in August 1991, when he looked weak and pathetic, although it all took a few more months to play out. Putin is looking pretty weak and pathetic right now….”

    Interesting observation. People who like to preen self-righteously over how awful Putin is. But the real question is, over the long term, what kind of leaders can we expect Russia to produce? So far, we have had the progression from Gobachev to Yeltsin to Putin. Is that a trend on the upswing?

    Would Putin being so weak he has to worry about losing power a thing to wish for?

    Not sure any Russians or people who know about Russia here, but would be interesting to hear from anyone who has a good idea.

    Edit: I like to look on the bright side. Probably can rely on Putin being sober more often. There is that.

  27. 27
    Paul in KY says:

    @Woodrowfan: You are correct, of course. He could tell the truth when it suited him.

  28. 28

    Just read the summary of Putin’s press conference in RT. Apparently, the Mighty Wurlitzer’s song today is that Putin is crazy.

    Anyone here old enough to Grenada and the threat to Americans?

  29. 29
    Paul in KY says:

    @jl: The last decent pre-Gorbachev leader they had was either Kerensky or that tsar that freed the serfs.

    So, in a way, they aren’t really used to having good leaders.

  30. 30

    So many Cold Warriors here.

  31. 31
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Nerull: HaHaHaHa….. Bitcoins are secure….

  32. 32
    wenchacha says:

    If POTUS were to come out swinging, with provocative and aggressive “bring ’em on” blather, his opponents would decry his saber-rattling. Or something.

  33. 33
    EconWatcher says:


    Well, not sure if I count, but I’m married to a former Soviet citizen and lived in Russia for a while.

    The truth is, Putin has been so effective in nipping potential challengers, it’s anybody’s guess who or what kind of forces would emerge, except you can be pretty sure it wouldn’t be pro-Western liberals. They are completely discredited; rightly or wrongly, Russians think they were raped by this type in the 90s.

    But a relatively mild, nationalist, reformist is a possibility. That’s the image Alexei Navalny projected, before he started keeping nasty company.

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    @japa21: Also, he’s evidently being his old Soviet KGB self and not taking into consideration the fact that nowadays, when he tells the rest of the world to go fuck itself, that rest-of-the-world includes investors in his nation’s economy that weren’t there during his politically formative years. Instead of simply boosting his ego, his bullying is boomeranging around and putting a dent in his own economy, in the form of a tanking stock market, venture-capital folks saying “Fine, I know when I’m not wanted,” and a central bank paying through the nose to stop the free-fall of the ruble. Gas and other resource exports will of course limit the long-term damage, but Russia isn’t the Amazing Invincible Imperial Premier Show anymore, and Putin has not gotten this through his head.

    ETA: What rikyrah @ #25 said, too.

  35. 35
    Paul in KY says:

    @Paul in KY: Would like to edit my comment to note that when Lenin 1st came to power, he was objectively alot better than Nicholas II (not a high hurdle to cross, I would say). When he abandoned the NEP, it all started going bad for all Russians who were not in CPSU.

  36. 36
    Tommy says:

    @EconWatcher: In 1993 I spent three weeks with a group from Russia that came to my college to learn how the “West” works. One of the guys, old enough to be my father, worked for Pravda on a nuclear sub. He said he wanted to stay with me. See America, outside of the dorm rooms we gave them. I let him stay with me.

    Took him around.

    When he found out my father worked for the DoD we had long conversations. That we didn’t mean them any harm. Nor did they mean us any harm. It was a Cold War thing done by politicians.

    I have to think this mindset has not changed in Putin’s Russia.

    My gut is if he keeps pushing here it will not work out so well. Maybe he can clamp down but not so sure.

  37. 37
    Joey Maloney says:

    @lamh36: My question, what type of strength is Menendez et al advocating

    We send Palin to Moscow to crush his head between her GMILFy thighs.

  38. 38
    John M. Burt says:

    @Paul in KY: They aren’t used to having a real choice in their leaders, which is part of the problem.

    We think we don’t have real democracy? We’re flippin’ spoiled.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    @Paul in KY: The serfs? Was that Eric Von Zipper?

  40. 40
    Paul in KY says:

    @John M. Burt: Agreed, John!

    That’s one of our main problems: No one remembers how bad things have been in USA at times (thinking back to Great Depression & Jim Crow days). Our own supporters get fat & happy & think things can never revert. Even if they couldn’t, there’s a whole party that would like to give it a shot.

  41. 41
    Trollhattan says:

    @James E Powell:

    We should airdrop the 23rd Armored Roomba Division into Crimea, stat! That’ll learn ’em.

  42. 42
    cleek says:


    Senator Menendez said on MSNBC that Putin responds to “strength”

    this is the standard claim by anyone who wants to get his war on. it’s boilerplate for “we must fight!”

    where ‘we’ = ‘someone fighting in my name cause i just can’t be bothered, but i’ll tell you if it’s done incorrectly.’

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @Trollhattan: They are on leave.

  44. 44
    Napoleon says:


    So far, we have had the progression from Gobachev to Yeltsin to Putin.

    I have a feeling that in the long view of Russian history Gorbachev will be viewed as one of the greats. It was really unfortunate that he was turned out of office.

  45. 45
    Gin & Tonic says:

    As tension has somewhat subsided for a day, some humor has been floating around. Slavs are very good at humor, since it was for a long time the only outlet available to them. Translated for your pleasure.

    “The Press Office of Ukraine’s President-in-Exile Victor Yanukovych informs that there has been an official meeting between Victor Yanukovych and Edward Snowden at Sheremetyevo Airport, during which the head of state was briefed on the operating hours of the toilets, cafés, and news kiosks in the Departure Zone, as well as essential information about establishing sleeping arrangements on the floor.”

  46. 46
    dr. luba says:

    @japa21: It’s the official government policy–avoiding Russian provocation.

  47. 47
    lamh36 says:

    Ugh…this dude here…

    It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression. #Ukraine

  48. 48
    Paul in KY says:

    @raven: Yes, yes it was. :-)

  49. 49
    Paul in KY says:

    @Trollhattan: Wonder what a ‘combat roomba’ would look like? I already know one would cost $21 million.

  50. 50
    Sasha says:

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Putin is pulling a Nixon?

  51. 51
    eric says:

    @Tommy: they want him to act in an impeachable way. that is all.

  52. 52
    jl says:

    @Sasha: Yeah, I suggested that possibility in reaction to a commenter in an earlier thread. My historical reference was more recent: GW Bush.

    Hopefully Putin has more Nixon and less GW Bush in him.
    (Edit: not that I am saying that would be a good thing, just probably the best we can hope for)

    Putin may need to act like he might be a little crazy and unreasonable to get anyone to pay attention to Russia in the aftermath of the disastrous and humiliating end to the previous pro-Russian Ukrainian administration.

    To have the Ukrainians and the rest of the world go on their merry way with barely a nod to the Russian interests may have been intolerable to his military, and to his domestic standing with voters. And being a little crazy and implacable with his local military advantage may have been the only way he could do it.

    This is all speculation of course. But I think a little speculation based on how leaders have actually thought and acted historically is nice change from Putin and Russian gloom and geopoltiical bondage S&M p r 0 N.

  53. 53
    Elie says:


    While I don’t think that the US should take actions from just our perspective, I do think that there is a benefit to characterizing Putin as crazy and in his own world… it makes it that much harder for him to sell that he is making a rational decision within the frame of international law… anything to deny him acceptability and cover…

    Anyway, just my thoughts…

  54. 54
    Trollhattan says:

    @Paul in KY:

    It could look like a round MRAP but I’d rather go steampunk and make it after the turret on the USS Monitor. Because of kitties’ love of Roombas, each combat Roomba would have a Maine Coon atop it. Of course ol’ Lindsay would want unicorns instead.

    The critical thing is whatever the design, they’d tidy up after themselves.

  55. 55
    Elie says:

    @Ash Can:

    And for all his fleshy manbreasts, Putin is flesh and blood and very mortal — therefore controllable by money men and others…

  56. 56
    jl says:


    ” rational decision within the frame of international law ”

    How many successful national leaders who manage to stay in power worry about that, if there are any important stakes for them on the table? I don’t think very many.

    And I think Putin can claim to have made rational decision within the frame of international law. Even the US admits the Russians had the right to take substantial action in their security interests around their bases. Putin just pushed to the absolute limit by taking control of the whole Crimea. Right up where it was about to flunk the laugh test immediately at face value, and right up the the point that any kind of military challenge to it by anybody, including the Ukrainians would be extremely difficult, and to the point where the likelihood of any cost to them in the short run, or risk of things spinning out of control, was minimal. Was that a coincidence? I don’t think so.

    Edit: On second thought, not sure that the risk of things getting out of control was, or is, all that minimal. Maybe ‘deemed accceptable’ would be better.

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @EconWatcher: There was a line in the Julia Ioffe article:

    “Putin really believes that, if given a free choice, the people will choose a strongman like him.”

    However, we also know that Putin refused to give the people a free choice. he arrested any threatening (strong) politicians, or did not let them run, and he still practiced ballot box fraud.

    So deep down, he does not actually believe after all. Cognitive dissonance.

  58. 58
    Trollhattan says:


    After what they found in Viktor Yanukovych’s Man-Compound (really dude, a zoo? Isn’t that a little too drug cartel kingpin even for you?) I’m expecting to find Putin has a dacha somwhere where he’s re-created Neverland, only with more weaponry and fewer young boys.

  59. 59
    eric says:

    @Trollhattan: Xanadu.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    Did anyone else notice the “Give him Crimea, it is a drain on Ukraine anyway” way to respond?
    Looking at a map, that sounds reasonable. It is practically an island.

    It also solidifies the rest of Ukraine in opposition to Russia.

  61. 61
    Paul in KY says:

    @Trollhattan: Like the steampunk look. Would have to use caseless ammo, so it didn’t litter the ground with spent casings. Tear gas should also have a pleasant smell.

  62. 62
    lamh36 says:

    welp. graham has really stepped into, when Michelle Malkin’s minions are ragging him over that tweet.

    @DCPlod 8m
    …aaaand Twitchy’s going after @GrahamBlog over that tweet. Ginger, get the popcorn. …

  63. 63
    Paul in KY says:

    @Trollhattan: Any young lady who doesn’t make the senior rythmic gymnastics team has to intern there.

    Very cut-throat competition, I hear.

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @lamh36: “It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression. ”

    I was thinking back to the USS Liberty. Maybe that is why the Israelis are such assholes to us.

  65. 65
    Chris says:


    Within the frame of international law, I don’t know if it’s rational.

    Within the frame of great power politics… it kind of is. Russia’s been freaking out about Western expansion in their direction for over twenty years. They know they can’t push us all the way back to the middle of Germany, but they’ll be damned if they’re going to accept a(nother) Western puppet (as they see it) on their immediate doorstep. They made that clear in Georgia, and they’ve been making noises about Ukraine for years. As they see it, a friendly president has just been ousted by Western supporters, so they’re putting their foot down.

    And of course they don’t care about Ukrainian or Georgian opinion, any more than the United States ever stopped and wondered whether Nicaraguans might actually prefer the Sandinista government, or the Guatemalans might prefer Arbenz, etc.. And for the same reason: it’s their backyard and their right as a great power to decide what happens there.

    Ugly mentality – hell, yes. But the concept of a great power being terrified of losing control of what it sees as its sphere of influence really shouldn’t be that hard to understand. It doesn’t make Putin crazy, any more than Eisenhower was crazy for supporting that coup in Guatemala – just an utter asshole.

  66. 66
    Trollhattan says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Adding rythmic gymnastics to the Olympics gave me a newfound respect for Bulgaria. “Bring me the nubiles with the ribbons, stat!”

  67. 67
    Trollhattan says:

    @Paul in KY:

    They’ll greet us as liberators, with candy and flowersgreen tree car air fresheners.

  68. 68
    Jay S says:

    @Sasha: I thought the appropriate term was “Crazy Ivan” from the Russian submarine maneuver.

  69. 69
    Karmus says:

    @Tommy: That’s great, but the reality is that only the last bit of that ‘verse’ is from Ezekiel 25:17. The rest of it, as best as I can tell, is originally from an obscure movie starring Sonny Chiba, “Karate Kiba” or something like that. If anyone can shed further light, I’d love to have it. Apparently Tarantino is a movie fan. Who knew?

    At any rate, a quick check with Google of “Ezekiel 25:17” will at least solidly confirm that this isn’t lifted whole-cloth from the Good Book.

  70. 70
    Captain C says:


    But the real question is, over the long term, what kind of leaders can we expect Russia to produce? So far, we have had the progression from Gobachev to Yeltsin to Putin. Is that a trend on the upswing?

    Since the Mongols were expelled by the princes of Muscovy in the mid-1400s (basically the start of modern Russia), and especially since the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the mid-late 1500s, Russia has alternated between periods of strong rulers (Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Stalin) and weak leaders/usurpers (Boris Godunov for the latter,Yeltsin, Paul, and Nicholas II as examples of the former). Reformers have existed (Alexander II, Krushchev, Gorbachev) but have usually not fared well in the end (assassinated, deposed in an intra-Party coup, lost his position due to the USSR ceasing to exist, respectively). Given this history, and the deadly chaos (which has included foreign invasion–cf. the Time of Troubles in the early 1600s when Poland attempted to place a friendly-to-them Tsar on the throne). which has often reigned during the weak periods, many Russians believe that Russia needs a strong ruler to keep things reasonably ordered and running, and to keep foreigners from coming in and taking advantage (a la the late 1800s in China, when every European power with a trading fleet was trying for a piece).

    Would Putin being so weak he has to worry about losing power a thing to wish for?

    Given the current political landscape, no. Given Putin’s suppression of political opposition (i.e. no obvious successor), chances are he’d either be replaced by someone more nationalistic and ruthless, or we’d enter another period of chaos and internal political jockeying (and with nukes in play, this could be truly awful). Also remember that a lot of what he does politically is already geared towards enhancing his own domestic position. For non-Russian interests, it’d probably be best if he was weakened enough that he had to focus on domestic issues due to worry about being replaced, but not so much that it was an imminent danger. Given his (and many other authoritarians’) tendencies for foreign adventurism as a distraction from domestic troubles, this is a highly unlikely scenario in any reality-based world. In other words, Putin is a case of the devil-we-know at this point; the best thing to do would probably be to make sure he can’t cause too much trouble outside of Russia’s borders.

  71. 71
    Captain C says:


    To have the Ukrainians and the rest of the world go on their merry way with barely a nod to the Russian interests may have been intolerable to his military, and to his domestic standing with voters

    I think this not only explains a lot of the situation, but generalize it more, and it explains many of his actions overall.

  72. 72
    Captain C says:

    @catclub: Or either believed, or took advantage of the fact that enough of his supporters and potential supporters believed or could be easily convinced, that credible opposition candidates were really stalking horses for outside interests.

  73. 73
    Mike in dc says:

    Never mind that the “self defense” forces are carrying Spetnaz-exclusive gear and that all their trucks seem to have Russian license plates. Clearly there are no Russian troops in the Crimea.

  74. 74
    Citizen Alan says:


    Has anyone considered the possibility that Putin is pulling a Nixon?

    Saddam Hussein tried that. He ended up swinging from a noose.

  75. 75
    Heliopause says:

    It’s bad enough we have to hear this “Putin is crazy” stupidity from establishment pundit hacks on TV, do we really have to read it on Balloon Juice as well?

  76. 76
    Elie says:


    You are not reading patiently enough and with enough to understand that most people know that “crazy” label can be used for a variety of reasons by both sides. Its not a for real judgment but a spin and interpretation to be used to shape the arguments to each side’s benefit…

  77. 77
    Heliopause says:


    Isn’t that more or less what I just said?

  78. 78
    Flatlander says:

    I wonder if it would be an appropriate response for the Ukrainian government to say:

    “We thought those were Russian troops, and that would have been bad enough. But Putin says they’re not Russian troops. That means there are armed men not belonging to any country’s army seizing control of military installations in Ukraine. The only conclusion we can reach is that these unidentified men are terrorists. We appeal to the world community for help in securing our military facilities from these unidentified terrorists, before they use these facilities to commit atrocities on a massive scale.”

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