Few can see it. The specter of our end looming over us all like a thin grey cloud. Our intentions are primal, and we’ve become circumspect. The bleak self-interest and greed. And, the creeping mediocrity clawing at even our most capable and energetic leaders. It’s just sad to watch the end of 10,000 years of civilization happening. Too bad Putin could not snatch another oligarch bald-headed or simply banish one more. If only Donald Trump had been legitimate. If he could be that man ready to really and truly drain the Washington swamp. Alas, as some noble scientists tell us, there is no one to rescue Earth’s people. We’re terminal.
“Despite all the achievements of civilization, the human being is still one of the most vulnerable creatures on earth.” - Vladimir Putin
Hardly anybody “gets it.” A Swedish girl comes on the stage and wittingly or unwittingly creates a tiny fracture in an impenetrable wall. What “might have been” - it’s there, sizzling like a sun-drenched revelation, right behind the parted curtains of our bipolar world, all our answers wait. Or, at least it seems possible for the world to make a u-turn on fossil fuels and pollution. Ah, possibility!
Unfortunately, half the world is jumping for joy that a formerly liberal cause has cut in front of the circus line of events. While the other half seems spellbound and dismayed over the thought that the environmental things might change. Many on the conservative side wonder how America or Russia can be truly great again. That is, without tankers, trains, trucks, and pipelines feeding oil and gas into Earth’s bloodstream. And the corporate devils who have no real political ideology, they’re just wringing their hands no matter what takes place.
“I have always loved and avidly read the novels of Jack London, Jules Verne, and Ernest Hemingway. The characters depicted in their books, who are brave and resourceful people embarking on exciting adventures, definitely shaped my inner self and nourished my love for the outdoors.” - Vladimir Putin
Greta Thunberg. Whether she’s a slave puppet of Hannibal Lecter or the reincarnation of “The Maid of Orléans,” she’s nevertheless shoved the climate apple cart forward. A 16-year-old girl an American president jokes at, she’s an immature and naive little sweetie a Russian president is not so impressed with. It’s ironic for me that Joan of Arc was also 16 when the garrison commander at Vaucouleurs, France made fun of her. Joan was also “ill-informed” on practical matters, in fact, she was illiterate. Hers was a mission inspired by a vision. From God, as it were. But that is another story, one Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin may need to reread.
Some say Greta has had her 15 minutes of fame. She’s a flash in the pan of human cookery, according to paid experts and Twitter soothsayers. And in the nastiest way of hopefulness they Tweet and share this. But nobody big, not Putin or Trump, nor Hollywood star or religious evangelist is able to glimpse the itchy truth. The so-called “Greta effect” is probably the curtain call for humanity.
“We should not just consume hydrocarbon fuel but use it to develop nuclear energy, hydropower, and renewable energy sources.” - Vladimir Putin
You see, it doesn’t matter if big business was behind all those kids taking to the streets. In sports, if an athlete shoots at the wrong goal, the goal still counts. Predilection, the designs of the powerful, they are nothing compared to the force of the masses. And they’re certainly nothing compared to the forces of the cosmos, compared to God, no matter how you envision him. The morning, afternoon, and evening news can tell us who, when, what, and where we are - at any given moment. All anyone has to do is read a little in between the lines.
But people do not like to read these days. They hold fast to their daily gruel, headline surf, capture the gist, and give a thumbs up or down depending. We’ve become bugs again. Floating to one side or the other of a Petrie dish with electrodes at both ends. Shocked the shit out of, unless we go back in and bounce off one another at the center. Which is, by the way, the place we should congregate, either as bugs or humans.
Our problems, all of them, are elucidated if we look at our figureheads. Take Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. Instead of statesmen, the two most powerful men on Earth now act out their roles as politicians. Now Putin has shown he too is the captives of a world of mediocre elites who cannot think past the ends of their noses. Rereading a report from the Brookings Insitute on Putin’s “Third Way” - I am reminded of something the leader’s advisor Vladislav Surkov once said:
“The stratum of truly leading entrepreneurs in Russia is very thin and very precious. They are the bearers of capital, of intellect, and of technologies.”
It’s not surprising that President Trump is arrogantly stamping his feet proclaiming his intellectual superiority on issues like climate change. The U.S. leader did not even bother to attend a G7 meeting on the matter recently, opting to fan his short-sighted uselessness in all our faces, by proclaiming:
“I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I’ve made that wealth come alive. ... We are now the No. 1 energy producer in the world, and soon it will be by far. I’m not going to lose that wealth, I’m not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills, which frankly aren’t working too well.”
As if a golf-playing spoiled brat of a bankster lackey would have a clue how a solar panel or wind turbine works. But anyone with seeing eyes knows Trump is riding the profit wagon, it’s the only mode he knows, after all.
Then we have Vladimir Putin’s most recent track. This is a far more disturbing footnote for humankind. To be honest, I was in disbelief when he stooped to commenting on Greta before the big energy chieftains of Russia. The world’s most influential, and some say most powerful leader, said Greta was ill-informed (like Joan?):
"No one has explained to Greta that the modern world is complex and different and people in Africa or in many Asian countries want to live at the same wealth level as in Sweden."
I felt betrayed when I read this. The man who has responded skillfully to every challenge a world leader can face, he failed Russia and all humanity in acquiescing to the status quo. No, there will not be a Putin “Third Way,” I thought. Maybe there never was a conception of a world ordered for the people and for survival. I’ve written many times about Russia emerging to lead a new world. So, Africa? Indeed.
As if the Americanization of the world needs completion in total fantasy. Russia’s and Putin’s biggest problems now seem crystal clear. The smartest leader in the world cannot figure out how to make Russia’s economy independent of the price of a barrel of oil. The “Third Way” people like me envisioned, is at present unworkable. The “Putin’s Third Way” paper ends like this:
“With his macroeconomic policies, Putin reestablished Russia’s sovereignty for the first time since the middle of the 1980s. He will not sacrifice it.”
I hope the reader sees the correlation. Vladimir Putin and Trump are saying exactly the same thing, only Russia’s leader seems less thrilled about it. Looking at Putin’s “Africa” comment, is it our intention to turn the entire world into a consumer’s feeding frenzy? My thoughts reeled at seeing Putin in this limited and hopeless light. How could he let us down like this? Where is the brilliant Putin who would transform the world against the Liberal World Order? And then I watched him with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Tuva region of Siberia, and I knew the truth.
Vladimir Putin is almost done in. He’s wrung out by the external and internal forces that have been at war with him for decades now. I am the last person in the world who would ever want to reveal this. But I must. You see, there’s no one who has studied or written more about Russia’s leader than me. There are very few who respect him more. Read my book, if you doubt me. And if you can take me on faith, there are also very few who looked with genuine understanding at the press images and video of Putin with Shoigu.
While ABC, CNN, RTTV, Sputnik and a thousand other media outlets pimp the most recent Putin imagery, no one is looking at the subject. Not really looking. Recheck yourself, but take off the rose-colored glasses for just a minute. Pretend I know what I am talking about, just for a bit. Compare those barechested Putin moments on horseback, with an unsteady Vladimir with a tundra probe walking stick.
There’s no happiness in those blue eyes anymore. The fighter is gone. The KGB man, the outdoorsman, the strategist, the “man’s man” have been wrung out. What I see is a boy from Leningrad who conquered the world, only to find it owned outright by the Devil himself. Putin’s movements are like those of someone who has just been gut-punched. Or, someone with a disease nagging at him. “The life’s gone out of the man,” I remember thinking as Shoigu passed a mushroom to his president.
I don’t think Vladimir Putin is physically ill. He’s not the type to be lethargic or depressed, even if he was facing some illness. I believe Vladimir Putin is shaken to his core. I think he’s trying to come to grips with the inevitable. The only way Russa and the world can escape the lords of fossil fuels and industry will be to utterly abandon them. And for the short to mid-term, Putin sees no way for his country to survive this. If images are really worth 1,000 words, the look on the face of Putin's top advisor Anton Vaino (below) affirms my assertion there is no "Third Way" left open for Putin or Russia. Vaino, if you recall, was the man behind the mysterious Nooscope. I reported on this in 2016. The other day, before a meeting of the security council, Vaino looked almost as beaten as Putin.
Trump’s America is pressing harder than ever. China is destroying her environment in order to lurch ahead. And Europe is only a marketplace that cannot save itself, let alone lead the world anywhere new. Trump never was in the game for a legacy. Now Putin’s statues will never read “He changed our world.” For all his valiant effort, I fear that it was inevitable that Russia plays America’s capital markets game.
The climate naysayers claim Greta Thunberg has had her 15 minutes. Now it looks like we all have seen our day in the sun. The clouds of our discontent are growing. And there’s nobody at all to save us from ourselves. And the headlines read, “Russia’s Standing in LNG Market.” Other experts on Russia speak fondly of the potential of the Northeast Passage created because we melted the Polar ice caps. All this “news” takes place as if the imminent social scientist Mayer Hillman never told we’re doomed as a civilization, no matter what. The freight train of civilization’s doom rolls on. And very few people even look up from their smartphones or tablets.
Putin was our last hope in my opinion. Maybe he realizes this too. Maybe this epitaph is what seems etched in his face now. No one knows but Putin.