Views on Russia and Ukraine: Who Is Delusional?

Over the past several months, I have seen the word “delusional” applied to those, like myself, who bring nonconformist, non-mainstream news and views about Russia and the Ukraine war to the reading public. Language is constantly evolving, and the shopworn label “Putin stooge” has now been replaced by this more generalized but similarly derogatory ad hominem labeling.

Allow me then to ask whether it is not the accusers who are truly “delusional” by insisting on a Washington narrative that is daily being ground into the dirt, as are Germany’s Leopard tanks and America’s Patriot air defense systems in Ukraine by technically superior Russian military hardware.

This military comeuppance is a story in itself. I involuntarily think back over a chance meeting I had four years ago with Russian-Americans during a tourist visit I made to a small and picturesque town in the Schwaebisch region of southern Germany with its typical half-timbered houses on the main square. We struck up a conversation while shopping in a souvenir store and this dentist was glowing with pride for his new Fatherland. Somehow the discussion turned to the newly announced strategic weapons systems that the Kremlin claimed had passed testing and were on their way to serial production. The dentist was beside himself with chuckles, insisting that this was all pure fabrication, pure propaganda and that Russia was incapable of designing and manufacturing any weapon system that could pose a threat to the good old USA.

But that ridicule for things Russian is a subject for another day. I will speak here first about the delusional framing and implementation of U.S. foreign policy today that is costing the United States more dearly in prestige and influence globally than anything that Donald Trump and his ‘diamond in the rough’ Secretary of State Pompeo accomplished during his presidency. And I will direct attention to one face in the vast group portrait of world leaders, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Tokayev is the president of Kazakhstan and in recent months was being courted by the US State Department in the hope and expectation that Kazakhstan could be induced to split with Russia and join the American team of countries sanctioning Moscow over its ‘war of aggression’ in Ukraine. Indeed, Secretary of State Blinken paid him a visit to woo or threaten him to follow the US lead and this was reported enthusiastically by American mainstream media.

This US policy can only be described as “delusional” insofar as it takes no cognizance of who is Tokayev and what are the realities of the geopolitical environment of Kazakhstan. The policy is based on willful ignorance of the counselors who formulated it, and that in turn is based on the assumption of America’s superior strength and ability to get its way by hook or by crook wherever in the world and whenever it so wishes.

Russian diplomacy is more discerning.

On 9 May, Tokayev was on the Red Square reviewing stand along with all the other presidents of the Central Asian republics. Together with them and with President Vladimir Putin, he then walked to the Alexander Gardens to place a red carnation before the eternal flame monument to the Unknown Soldier. That may have been picked up accidentally by one or another Western television broadcaster. What was not shown in the West was the side trip arranged for Tokayev to the town of Rzhevsk where he could pay tribute to the memory of his uncle, for whom he is named, Kassym Tokayev, who died in the Battle of Rzhev as a Red Army soldier and is buried there. That visit was broadcast on Russian and on Kazakh state television. Tokayev had no choice but to go, and his people had no choice but to see the historical connection with Moscow in the fight against Nazi Germany.

Last night there was another video of Tokayev on Russian television. He was shown descending from his plane in Beijing, where he is joined by all the other heads of state of Central Asia in a group meeting with the Chinese leadership. We were shown his tête-à-tête meeting with a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, conducted in Mandarin, without translators. As anyone can easily learn from his Wikipedia entry, from 1970 Tokayev studied Chinese in his undergraduate years at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and in his final year there underwent training courses at the Soviet embassy in China for six months. He then served in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in 1983 continued his language training at the Beijing Language Institute. He was later posted to the Soviet embassy in Beijing and was promoted to successively higher responsibilities there.

My point is that Tokayev knows the map of his region very well. He and his country find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They do not have much wiggle room. Somehow these facts of life elude America’s delusional policy makers.

I could go on about how the ignorance and complacency of high officials in the Biden administration result in self-defeating policies elsewhere. One example of what I mean occurred just a couple of days ago when similarly delusional behavior was shown by America’s messenger boy within the European Commission. Josep Borrell succeeded in alienating his hosts in India and humiliating himself by insisting that India curtail its purchases of Russian oil lest the EU ban imports of refined petroleum products, mainly diesel fuel, from India. The consequence of his ignorant warning that contradicted EU law on the subject was Borrell’s exclusion from the trade talks that the EU delegation was in Delhi to conduct.

Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book is Does Russia Have a Future? Reprinted with permission from his blog.

© Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

8 thoughts on “Views on Russia and Ukraine: Who Is Delusional?”

  1. ‘Very well said, very well… ‘Byedone’ is at the top of the list…

  2. Neither Biden nor his supporters are delusional, they are deliberate liars. Most of the American People are misinformed by the Media which always paints the Americans as the good guys & the Russians as the bad guys.

    1. I agree. All that initial talk about not supplying Ukraine with tanks, jets, and missiles capable of hitting within Russia was a hoax. It was designed to slowly cook US frogs into supporting the escalation of the proxy war degree by degree.

      BTW, comments like yours and mine would have roundly ridiculed and labeled as Putin apologists on most so-called “liberal media” that is joined at the hip with the Military/Intelligence Industrial Complex who is profiting rather handsomely.

  3. Did I tell you how dumb the Russians are? …Okay, sorry for another “dumb Russians” joke, but I’ll tell you who’s dumb. Dumb is the country that ignores its own decline and disregards strong evidence that it may not be exceptionally superior to others. The destruction of the Patriot battery in Kiev should be widely visible as a turning point, not because it happened, but because of how easily it happened. Watch the video clip for yourself. It seemed like we were the ones fighting with shovels. But don’t worry, our population will never wake up to that fact. We will continue to depend on our “interceptors” to protect us from inevitable nuclear destruction. More than 50% of us wants to provoke war with Russia and China, whether consciously, simultaneously, or otherwise. (Serious sarcasm)

  4. Only way to tell is to let this play out. I believe the Russians are lying, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ukrainians and the USA is lying as well. The only way to get to the truth is to keep going. I am pretty sure that each day that passes the Russian army loses equipment and personnel, and so becomes weaker. Bummer for the Ukrainians but from NATOs perspective already a win.

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