Point-of-View. “Is the mobilization of nuclear force a bluff, a simple desire to puff up the chest in the face of the difficulties encountered by the powerful Russian army held back by a people armed with slingshots and mobilized by a determination made of tempered steel ?
By Bernard Aubin
“I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff to put the deterrent forces of the Russian army on special combat alert,” Vladimir declared yesterday, staged as he likes. Looking at his military leaders, he gave a clear message, such as: “Here, I am the great leader, the only leader. The leader whose orders are carried out without discussion, with application and by lowering the head as a sign of submission.
This trait of Putin’s character is also the trademark he imposes on those he classifies as “weak”. It has been illustrated many times: by the length of the table that separated him from Emmanuel Macron during the meeting of February 7, by the Molossus that sat in the legs of Angela Merkel, whom he knew to be terrorized by dogs, and by the “beating” (that is the most appropriate term) inflicted on Nicolas Sarkozy just after his election.
A cold-blooded animal
In June 2007, our new President of the French Republic found it clever to brag about a man who has the power, on his own, to raze the entire planet. And who, moreover, is not very adept at political correctness. During the press conference that followed, Sarkozy seemed drunk. The vodka had nothing to do with it: he was still groggy under the effect of Putin’s retort tinged with authority and enhanced with insults.
Putin is a cold-blooded animal. He gauges his interlocutors and divides them into two categories: the strong and the weak. For him, the latter have no right to compassion. He pushes cynicism to the point of playing with them as some predators do before devouring their prey. An attitude that our successive French leaders obviously did not integrate before meeting him. Obvious lack of professionalism !
He announces his moves
Another character trait easily identifiable by simply observing the facts: Putin likes to be deliberately predictable, and he plays it up. So much the better for those who take the time to listen to him and so much the worse for the others. In 2005, the Russian President already warned: “Ukraine could have problems, I say it frankly” if it persisted in wanting to join Nato. Today’s conflict should therefore surprise no one.
At the risk of insisting, let us recall that the facts show that Putin systematically announces his positions in advance. Sometimes in a very direct way, sometimes in a subliminal way. But he never hides his intentions. His strategy is laid out in advance, for those who take the trouble to open their ears wide. And because he hates not to be taken seriously, everything leads us to believe that he will follow through on his intentions. He assumes that, after all, we should have listened to him.
Bluff or not bluff ?
It was in 2005: Putin provoked an electroshock in the minds of world leaders during an intervention on American hegemonism. But the soufflet quickly fell back. And wrongly so. A situation not unlike the recent exchange between Macron and Putin, during which the latter clearly threatened France with serious reprisals if it were to join the camp of its opponents. A sentence very rich in meaning, but totally passed under silence by the media.
The same people are now questioning the importance of Putin’s announcement yesterday. Is the mobilization of the nuclear force a bluff, a simple desire to puff up one’s chest in the face of the difficulties encountered by the powerful Russian army, held back by a people armed with slingshots and mobilized by a determination made of hardened steel ?
The third world war ?
Putin likes to practice humiliation towards others. But let’s be aware that he will not tolerate the opposite. His pride is likely to push him to the extreme, whatever the consequences. Once again, he has displayed his intentions in advance. Emmanuel Macron’s discomfited face suggests that, for once, the threat is taken seriously.
At the slightest slip, the third world war will strike our “small country”. Perhaps even before the United States, if only to set an example. A nuclear conflict could escalate and level our planet.
It will be difficult to calm tensions that are now reaching their peak. But without giving in to catastrophism, let’s stop asking ourselves questions that have no reason to be asked. Putin has, once again, already said everything. And there is reason to doubt the good faith of the Kremlin when it claims to want to find an agreement with Kiev.
We can only hope…