Mark Galeotti’s response to Putin’s plea for reason: lies & penis jokes

The Guardian produced two responses to Putin’s speech of March 1, in which he both unveiled far-reaching new Russia weapons systems and used this as a platform to (once again) plead for an end to Western warmongering. Both of them display both the intellectual/educational/ethical impoverishment of the authors (an impoverishment that is now systematic in corporate media), but also the completely delusional world they inhabit. Today we take a look at Mark Galeotti’s Putin’s new arms race is all about his need to be taken seriously.

The Guardian’s caption for this image reads: “Putin was not so much seeking to start a new arms race abroad, as trying to keep alive an old myth at home.” Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Mark Galeotti, who is apparently (believe it or not) “senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague and head of its Centre for European Security” went full idiot in the Guardian yesterday with a short piece entitled Putin’s new arms race is all about his need to be taken seriously.
The mere fact the title carries with it the implication that we don’t need to take the elected president of the largest country in the world with enough nuclear weapons to eradicate all life in earth “seriously” is enough to tell us all about the level of Mark’s contact with veridical reality. He clearly lives in that well-populated Washington/Langley logic-free dream zone where Russia is both a dangerous rogue state with enough reach to “hack” the US election and “attack” America, and a silly little rusty nowhere country to be mocked and patronised into oblivion.
In this piece Mark’s taking the ‘Nowheresville’ tack with added and cringeworthy willy jokes.
He tells us the weapons Putin talked about might sound “terrifying” but that’s ok because they probably won’t work (you know, much like the F-35), and anyhow, the animations in the presentation were “clunky”, and gee gosh, it’s all so frickin funny. Except (abrupt change of take in para 4) it is actually quite a “serious” shopping list that (no discernible irony) “go[es] against the letter or spirit of arms control treaties”. But then, just as abruptly, (para 5) it’s funny again, because…

It is easy to wonder, with a snigger, quite for what Putin is (over)compensating.

In case his sledgehammer wit is too subtle for you, Mark means Putin has a small penis. Yes, apparently he really thinks this comment says more about Putin’s manhood than about Mark Galeotti and his imbecilic reductionism.
But Mark doesn’t just use denial and penis jokes to make his case – he also lies. He describes the president whose government managed to reduce poverty by 75% in 14 years, raise the birth rate, rebuild industries and increase national incomes as a “failure” as a “nation-builder.” He calls the man with a 60-80% approval rating a “failure” as a statesman, and the man who has averted world war at least once during is years in office, a “failure” as a “peacemaker.” Because, of course, in Mark’s dream zone reality consists of whatever you choose to say is true.
But the lie that really tells us what we are up against is this one:

Perhaps the most telling line, after all was when [Putin] directly connected this armament programme with his efforts to make the world, which really means Washington, acknowledge Russia’s status as a great power: “Nobody wanted to listen to us. Well, listen to us now.”

Hmmm. Let’s just put that cherrypicked quote back into its real context, shall we? Re-insert a few words Mark left out. This is what Putin actually said:

No, nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now.

“The core of the problem” he’s referring to is the US withdrawal from the ABM treaty and its deployment of the Aegis system. It’s clear to anyone who reads Putin’s speech and has listened to anything he has said on the topic for the last sixteen years, that he is very very worried the effective cancellation of the MAD doctrine might result in a nuclear war. It’s clear he sees the restitution of balance to be as much about reducing that risk as about defending his homeland.
The fact Mark either doesn’t understand these basic facts or thinks it’s safe to ignore them is in truth a personification of that massive “problem”. And until Washington and its babbling idiot mouthpieces can wake up to this, realise they don’t actually “make a new reality” simply by talking about it, the future of the human race continues to hang by a thread.


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