What Everyone Is Missing About the Putin/Carlson Talk

“The Vorlons say, understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side, and the truth”
— John Sheridan, Babylon 5

The biggest media story of 2024 so far has come and gone. Tucker Carlson interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin last week.

Everyone, even the Davos/UK dominated media, has put forth their opinion on it. I gave out a quick take for my Patrons the morning after just like everyone else. And like everyone else I missed the biggest takeaway from this interview.

Now, if you go through the commentary what you will mostly see is people, as always, doing what traders call “talking their book.” In other words, as opposed to dealing with the information presented and the motivations of the people involved, most media outlets and commentators put forth their opinion on whether this interview satisfied their needs from it.

So, for the hardcore geopolitical types and armchair psychoanalysts, we heard a lot of opinions second-guessing Putin’s strategy to open the interview with a nearly thirty minute recitation of Russian/Ukrainian history. Why would he do this, was the common refrain.

I’ll use my former-bellwether-for-normies, Scott Adams, as an example of this.

How many of you thought Putin was “all there” in the Tucker interview?

If he seemed lucid to you, it’s because Biden is your comparison.

I thought Putin seemed unhinged. The history lesson was not a good sign. https://t.co/VZiEIHRZ2t

— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) February 9, 2024

This was the kindest of the ‘bad takes’ I found on this. But I’m having one of Scott’s “One movie, two screens,” moments here. Because Putin looked anything other than “unhinged.” In fact, he looked as calm as I’ve ever seen him, taking a relaxed posture to put Carlson, who was clearly unsure of where he stood at the beginning of the interview, at ease.

But this is the message that Adams wanted to see, framing Putin in relation to Biden, because he needed something unique to say to justify his even being in the conversation.

By contrast, Martin Armstrong had a great post curating all of the crazy Neocon takes from the “media” on his blog over the weekend.

What’s obvious from those is that they understood that Putin’s 30 minute opening monologue would put off a lot of casual watchers who would tune him out at that point. So, their “analysis” focused on steering the conversation to Putin’s ‘false history’ of Russia and Ukraine.

This way that ‘false history’ would dominate everyone’s opinions the next day, managing the Overton Window of the entire interview, making it all about that. This would be the basis of how they discredit Putin.

Then to discredit Carlson, people like Hillary Clinton was trotted out to lie about Tucker Carlson, calling him a “useful idiot,” and “puppy dog” and a joke in Russian media, which is an outright lie. Hillary’s harpy laugh made an appearance alongside a sycophant interviewer as they joked about Carlson’s having been fired from every legitimate news agency.

We were treated to a common sight: Two Beltway insiders laughing inside their echo chamber and only our sick fascination with roadkill makes it even remotely interesting.

So, the whole exercise is reframed as Puppy Dog Tucker throwing softballs to Liar Putin to distract us away from the sum and substance of their talk.

I know… in other news water is wet and women want more sex when they’re fertile.

And I also know that it is fatuous to bring up these panicked attempts to marginalize this event. They started days before Carlson was even rumored to be in Moscow.

On the one hand we have people intentionally missing the point because they need to have their opinions validated. And on the other we have people intentionally leading those truly curious away from the purpose of the interview: to get an unfiltered look at Putin’s motivations for how he governs Russia.

Why? Because, as we already also know, the warmongers are in charge in the West and they will not be deterred by some prep school gadfly and a dirty Slavic ruler with pretensions of adequacy.

So the war show must go on.

But buried beneath these layers of surreality are these men’s motivations for having this talk. Carlson’s motivation is illuminated quite effectively in his first appearance after his talk with Putin (watch the first 90 seconds).

His outrage at being denied this interview for three years by NSA/CIA spying on him is what drove him. The worst thing the gatekeepers ever did was fire Tucker Carlson from Fox News; making him independent freed him from the restraints of the corporate media.

Knowing that Tucker tried for three years to get this interview with Putin, we should assume that Putin would come into the room prepared. So, it makes sense that Putin wanted to give us a history lesson because he assumes, rightly, that most Americans do not have any clue about Russia’s history.

He didn’t do this to bore us, he did this to inform us and set us at ease. To tell us that he is a man with a perspective that he believes he can justify. He’s not a frothing-at-the-mouth cannibal who desires world domination.

No, Putin’s aim was to elucidate, calmly, the nature of the conflict, laying out the missteps made along the way. And I believe he was effective to those that stayed with him. Because, never once did Putin talk down to his audience.

How many Americans learned that Putin asked Bill Clinton for Russia to become part of NATO, thus ending NATO’s raison d’etre?

Or that Bush the Lesser unilaterally abrogated the ABM Treaty?

Or that the Minsk Agreements were our last hope for a settlement of the differences between the Donbass and Kiev, and that Putin was the one pushing to make them work?

There are at least a half-dozen other things people learned in this interview, if they had ears to listen, I’m looking at you Scott Adams.

And given that this conflict is hurtling towards a war that only very select gatekeepers and power-brokers want, that should have been enough to sharpen everyone’s focus to give Putin an honest hearing.

Now, that said, Putin did present his version of history, of the truth. Shouldn’t we expect that?

But, as I’ve painstakingly laid out here, much like Putin himself, focusing on that is focusing on the wrong thing. It’s the wrong framework to view this interview given the current stakes of this conflict.

And this is what everyone missed about this interview. It literally does not matter one whit whose is right and who is wrong here. Putin’s version of history isn’t what’s at stake here.

It doesn’t matter whether Putin violated international law by crossing the post-USSR border. As Putin pointed out, NATO violated Serbia’s borders by bombing Belgrade for six months in 1999. So, borders only matter when it behooves certain actors?

It doesn’t matter if Putin is overstating the level of ‘Nazification’ of Ukraine to justify defending the Donbass, whether he jails journalists, cracks down on free speech, or rules Russia with a thinly-veiled form of democracy.

It doesn’t matter if you believe he pulled off a coup in Crimea in 2014, poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Alexi Navalny is a freedom-fighter or he helped get Donald Trump elected (and I’m looking at YOU Hillary Clinton!).

What does matter is that is how Putin views this conflict. And we have to deal with it. Period.

What also matters is that those who stand behind Putin are even less patient and circumspect than he is.

In order to avoid that bigger war only the oligarch class wants, we, as people, have to accept some responsibility for it getting to this point. Without that there can be no basis for a negotiated settlement.

This conflict between the West, and this includes all of Europe, the UK as well as the US, and Russia is one with existential consequences.

What Putin said, quite clearly, is that this ball is in our court. We can either sit down and have an honest discussion of a negotiated future or we will be at war. If that is what we in the West want, it is what we will get. Putin has put his sons on the line in eastern Ukraine. Are we?

You can dig in on being right or we can have peace. But, we cannot have both.

The Victoria Nulands and the Ursula Von Der Leyens of this world represent people who refuse to accept that Russia and/or China are not systems, but rather civilizations. They aren’t the current bogeyman ‘ism du jour, like Communism or authoritarianism, they are a people, a culture, an ethnos. The ‘ism is just the thing they’ve adopted now to help them preserve those things inherently Russian or Chinese.

Our leaders are this way because they don’t believe in those things for us no less anyone else. And they spend all their time trying to convince us that that is what divides us. But it isn’t. It’s simply their greed, their emptiness.

Because of this they lack any sense that these civilizations 1) have any right to exist and 2) deserve any empathy. So, logically, none of Russia’s demands are valid.

Putin put how he feels about history on the table. He’s angry about it. The West keeps saying, “Your version of history is wrong. So you have no right to be angry.”

Have you ever had an argument with someone important to you and they did this to you? I’ve done it and had it done to me. In my experience the argument doesn’t get resolved. It escalates.

And it escalates, eventually, even if it goes on for a long time, say, in a marriage, to the point of estrangement if not outright hatred. If you want to repair the relationship in some way then you have to lead with, “Okay, I hear you.”

Then you have to learn how to mean it.

That’s where we are today. The Russians are done with our leadership. We use diplomacy as a basis for betrayal, not as the foundation of a future.

They see us as a failing empire, a failing civilization on the long historical time line, because we have embraced cynicism and allowed the rapacious and the perverse to run our world.

This is why there is no basis for diplomacy at the head of state level. This is an argument between two people one of whom wants nothing to do with the other (The West) while the other one is insisting that no matter what the other does, they will survive (Russia).

Rock, meet Hard Place…. choose between chisels or sledgehammers.

Putin came to the interview with his argument. He laid it out carefully for us, the people of the West, to review. Carlson tried to call him out for not talking to President Biden and open negotiations and Putin rightly set him straight.

Who can he call up and talk to? Who has the political or even moral authority to negotiate? Is there anyone on our side even willing to negotiate? He made it clear that he’s open to someone calling him up. He continues to hold out hope because, as he said, “Stop supplying weapons, and this war will be over in weeks.”

And if your knee-jerk response to that is, “Well, Vlad, you can just leave Ukraine…” then you are part of the problem because you are not even trying to listen.

Because this war is in our hands now. That’s who Putin was speaking to through Tucker Carlson.

The architects of this war have led us to a perilous moment. Putin doesn’t have to invade Poland or Germany to defeat the West. All he and Russia have to do is survive our collective rage. Our leaders are bankrupting us, as he pointed out, trying to defeat Russia.

If you want peace, deal with the facts of this war by acknowledging the feelings of the people on the other side of it while truly examining your own.

Either way, history will not judge any of us kindly.

Reprinted with permission from Gold Goats ‘n Guns.

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