"How To Plant Propaganda: 'Putin has been weakened. Russia is crumbling.'"
Moon of Alabama (June 27, 2023)
On Sunday the U.S.Secretary of State went on four morning shows to play the same distinct melody over and over again:
Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Margaret Brennan of CBS Face the Nation
SECRETARY BLINKEN: And it was a direct challenge to Putin’s authority. So this raises profound questions. It shows real cracks. We can’t speculate or know exactly where that’s going to go. We do know that Putin has a lot more to answer for in the weeks and months ahead.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: These create more cracks in the Russian façade, and those cracks were already profound. Economically, militarily, its standing in the world – all of those things have been dramatically diminished by Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. He’s managed to bring Europe together. He’s managed to bring NATO together. He’s managed to get Europe to move off of Russian energy. He’s managed to alienate Ukrainians and unite Ukraine at the same time. So across the board this has been a strategic failure. Now you introduce into that profound internal divisions, and there are lots of questions he’s going to have to answer in the weeks ahead.
Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Chuck Todd of NBC Meet The Press
SECRETARY BLINKEN: ... So I think we’ve seen more cracks emerge in the Russian facade. It is too soon to tell exactly where they go and when they get there. But certainly we have all sorts of new questions that Putin is going to have to address in the weeks and months ahead.
This is just the latest chapter in a book of failure that Putin has written for himself and for Russia. Economically, militarily, its standing in the world – all of things have plummeted. We have a united NATO that’s stronger than ever before, a Europe that is weaning itself off of Russian energy, Ukraine that Putin has managed to alienate and unite at the same time. Now, with trouble brewing from within, this, as I said, just adds more questions that he has to find answers for.
Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Dana Bash of CNN State of the Union
SECRETARY BLINKEN: But we can say this. First of all, what we’ve seen is extraordinary, and I think you see cracks emerge that weren’t there before ...
We’ve seen this aggression against Ukraine become a strategic failure across the board. Russia is weaker economically, militarily. Its standing around the world has plummeted. It’s managed to get Europeans off of Russian energy. It’s managed to unite and strengthen NATO with new members and a stronger Alliance. It’s managed to alienate from Russia and unite together Ukraine in ways that it’s never been before. This is just an added chapter to a very, very bad book that Putin has written for Russia.
Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Jonathan Karl of ABC This Week
SECRETARY BLINKEN: But I think we can say this much: First, we’ve seen some very serious cracks emerge.
But we’ve seen, I think, lots of different cracks that have emerged in the conduct of this aggression, because everything Putin has tried to accomplish, the opposite has happened. Russia is weaker economically. It’s weaker militarily. Its standing in the world has plummeted. It’s managed to strengthen and unite NATO. It’s managed to alienate and unite Ukrainians. It’s managed to get Europe off of dependence on Russian energy.
In piece after piece, issue after issue, what Putin has tried to prevent, he’s managed to precipitate. And Russia’s standing is vastly diminished as a result. Now, add to that internal dissention. Again, we can’t speculate on where this goes. We have to remain and we are focused on Ukraine, but it certainly raises new questions that he’s going to have to address.
The very same (false) talking points, repeated over and over again, are a sure sign of lies and an organized propaganda campaign. [emphasis added]
For the record. Progozhin was all alone in his mutiny attempt. Not one element of the Russian government or civil society joined him in his ride. So where are the cracks? There are none. Also Russia's military is now larger and better equipped then before the war. Russia's economy is fine and growing. Its standing in the world has increased.[emphasis added]
But Blinken's propaganda works well because the U.S. media are trained to pick up any sheet of music an administration hands out and to sing its tune over and over again. [emphasis added]
I could quote dozens of participants in that game to make that point. But the Washington Post has made it easier for me when it asked eight of its columnists to comment on the issues. All but one, a neocon who wants to see more action, repeat Blinken's message: "Putin has been weakened. Russia is crumbling." [emphasis added]
Opinion What happened in Russia — and what happens next? Our columnists weigh in.
David Von Drehle: Even failed coups have consequences
Putin evidently had no more confidence than Prigozhin as to the outcome of the clash. Rather than test the loyalty and strength of government forces to crush the uprising, the Russian leader grabbed the first exit he was offered — a sign of weakness that might invite another attempt. ... The bad news: A weakened Russia has weakened leaders and is spinning out of control. Putin has taken his country into a disaster, and there is no one in sight to save it.
Max Boot: Prigozhin has made Putin’s weakness clear to everyone
Putin, has now had his own legitimacy undermined by the revolt of Prigozhin and his Wagner Group mercenaries. Whether the damage is fatal remains to be determined. ... Even if Prigozhin is gone, the discontent he has revealed will remain an Achilles’ heel for Putin.
David Ignatius: After dodging the bullet, Putin will need to show he’s in control
Putin’s vulnerabilities were vividly on display last weekend, but so were his uncanny survival skills. He got inside Prigozhin’s conspiratorial plot and stopped it. ... Putin will need to show that he’s in command now, after this near-death experience. That’s the bad news for Ukraine and Russia both.
Eugene Robinson: Putin is likely to survive this crisis
The revolt by the mercenary butcher Prigozhin did reveal Putin’s regime to be more brittle than it had appeared from afar.
Charles Lane: Prigozhin is the only Russian to publicly speak the truth
Vaclav Havel insisted that truth still exercised a mysterious, but latent, power.
It can unexpectedly “issue forth … in something visible: a real political act or event, a social movement, a sudden explosion of civil unrest, a sharp conflict inside an apparently monolithic power structure, or simply an irrepressible transformation in the social and intellectual climate,” Havel wrote. “And since all genuine problems and matters of critical importance are hidden beneath a thick crust of lies, it is never quite clear when the proverbial last straw will fall, or what that straw will be.”
Spy, oligarch, warlord — Prigozhin was an unlikely candidate to confirm Havel’s prophecy. But in a way, he did.
Jason Willick: Chances for escalation in Ukraine have gone up
Some observers might be overstating Putin’s weakness — he did suppress the mutiny quickly, after all — but the spectacle has clearly dented his image of control.
Josh Rogin: Prigozhin’s failed gambit is an opportunity for the West
Now that the Kremlin can no longer pretend Wagner is a separate entity, Russian government and defense officials must also be held accountable for Wagner’s worldwide crimes, which include credible allegations of mass murder, torture, rape and other atrocities.
Megan McArdle: Turmoil in Russia shows the fragility of illiberalism
Nominally, Putin controls a massive army, a substantial police force and a population that returned him to office in 2018 with a resounding 77 percent of the vote. But when push came to shove, those same folks were indifferent between him and a murderous warlord — or, at least, didn’t care enough about the distinction to risk getting shot. Putin survived, but the risk to his regime has risen now that it is clear how little actual support he has.
The overall tone: Putin did not fight the loon Prigozhin but found a peaceful solution. This shows that he is weak. [emphasis added]
This begs a question. If eight columnists at one paper come to the very same (but false) conclusion, just issued in different words, why hire and pay all eight of them? Clearly, one would suffice. [emphasis added]
Oh, that would show a lack diversity? The religious believe in individualism where all humans must differ - but for the opinions they are allowed to espouse?