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Open Letter to Putin Lovers

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Vladimir Putin %282018-03-01%29 03 %28cropped%29%28a%29.
Vladimir Putin %282018-03-01%29 03 %28cropped%29%28a%29.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Пресс-служба Президента России)
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Dear Putin apologists:

Give it a rest, already! Look, I know you mean well. You're trying to make people understand that what is happening in Ukraine isn't as black-and-white as it is being portrayed in the mainstream media. That's understandable, and you have done a great job explaining the complexities of geopolitics and US foreign policy in the past. The problem is, people who never paid attention to you then are paying attention now, and it's making the situation worse. It may even be making it harder to talk about these difficult issues. It's a basic psychological principle that when people are in a moral panic, they don't listen too well when you try to discuss complexities.

This isn't to say that it isn't worth the effort of trying to present a different perspective on the current situation than the mainstream media. They are, after all, stenographers for self-interested politicians who score political points playing their part in the information war that is half the battle in modern warfare. It is important to remind them that both pols and pundits are serving the interests of war profiteers. I'm just saying that perhaps now is not the time to try to change the subject. You may be making them more resistant to learning what most of you have worked so hard to learn. After all, few of us are fortunate enough to have been taught geopolitics when we were young.

Please stop trying to explain why Putin invaded Ukraine to people who are angry and who think they already know. In their emotional state, people who only get interested in foreign policy during a media buildup to a war are not interested in nuance. It only makes them more upset. They don't want to hear how this war could have been prevented years ago, or how it could have been stopped months after the media drumbeat started. Trying to make them consider these things in their agitated state is confusing and uncomfortable. It interferes with their cathartic experience of hating on a perfect villain.

Let's face it, in the heat of moments like these, people forget that the Fourth Estate rarely asks the questions you would expect from those who consider themselves the "Guardians of Democracy." In fact, most citizens who don't view the war news critically have probably never noticed that they are routinely presented with a very limited viewpoint on major issues, both foreign and domestic. Certainly not those whose view of the world is shaped by MSNBC, FOX, CNN or NPR. It should come as no surprise that if you've never considered that the truth may not be in the middle but somewhere else entirely, it takes time to get used to the idea that the government and its media stooges lie to them about foreign affairs not occasionally, but as a matter of course.

If you really want to get people who don't already know what you're talking about to listen, try this: agree with something they believe before you hit them over the head with everything they don't want to believe. It's not as hard as it sounds. How many of you have admitted that Putin's refusal to talk to Zelensky on the eve of the war was not okay or maybe even stupid, PR-wise? Can you admit that there may not be a defensible strategy behind his placing Russia's nuclear forces on high alert? These are good places to start.

Even if you are someone who has been an admirer of Putin's calm and wit in public when under tremendous pressure, his deft handling of outrageous provocations by the US and its vassals, and what until now has been what you consider a remarkable ability to anticipate and respond in a restrained but effective manner to the machinations of the Empire, you have to remember that no one is perfect. And this guy's under a lot of pressure! Just look at him in the recent broadcast on Russian TV and compare it to his TV appearance discussing Donbass just last June.

Once you find a point of agreement, you might become a more effective advocate for the cause of waking up people to the fact that the US is at the head of an empire, one that is well on its way to full spectrum global dominance of a world ruled by corporate governance. Then you might be able to help them understand that Russia has a critical role to play in creating an alternative, a multipolar world that just might be able to save itself from those who have taken it upon themselves to dictate the fates of the rest of us.

(Article changed on Mar 01, 2022 at 5:10 PM EST)

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Rick Staggenborg, MD Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a former Army and VA psychiatrist who ran for the US Senate in 2010 on a campaign based on a pledge to introduce a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and regulate campaign finance. A constitutional amendment banning (more...)

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