In a recent video published on March 31, 2022, French Presidential candidate François Asselineau (Union Populaire Républicaine) compiled a list of all the attempts by US-NATO propaganda outlets over the last decade to portray Vladimir Putin as mentally or physically unfit for office. These reports were all motivated by the need to declare that he was losing his grip on power.

If just one of the alleged conditions had been proven to be serious, it might have been reasonable to think that it would affect his ability to govern and he would soon fall from power. However, the list of suspected impairments is long, and the allegations have been made persistently for many years, yet Putin is still in power and still providing lengthy detailed, logical and coherent explanations of his policies. The continually repeated predictions of his imminent downfall never come true.

Here is Mr. Asselineau’s list of diagnoses published in NATO news platforms, all of them having appeared repeatedly over the last decade. They speculate that Vladimir Putin…

  • had an extremely difficult childhood that left him scarred and traumatized, turning him into a misanthrope with “homosexual tendencies.”
  • was declared unfit for military service because he was flatfooted.
  • is afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • was once presumed dead for a few weeks, after which it turned out he had been in Switzerland.
  • underwent plastic surgery.
  • underwent Botox treatments.
  • is a brutal paranoiac.
  • has an obsessive personality.
  • is detached from reality.
  • has delusions of grandeur.
  • has a “gunslinger’s gait” that is a sign of Parkinson’s disease.
  • has cancer that required treatment with cortisol.
  • has a neurological impairment caused by cancer treatment.
  • drove his ex-wife to alcoholism and despair.

Mr. Asselineau points out that his criticism of this NATO-sphere obsession is not an endorsement of Mr. Putin’s policies. He finds rather that the obsession is a sign of the NATO countries’ hypocrisy and desperation. One could say it is also a projection of what is in their own psychological shadow. This is evident also if we consider the vast amount of demonic Putin caricatures seen on the covers of NATO news journals over the past fifteen years. The creators of these cartoons are like evangelical preachers who are obsessed with talking about the short length of women’s skirts. No one else cares as much as they do. They lack the self-control of the guilty Queen Gertrude in Hamlet who remarked that her counterpart in the play within the play “doth protest too much, methinks.”

If the citizens of NATOstan were objective, they could turn their attention to the narcissistic traits of leaders like Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau, or the cognitive decline of Joe Biden and his speech patterns, the incoherence of which is a stark contrast with precision, detail and reasoning found in Mr. Putin’s declarations.

Instead of desperately hoping that Vladimir Putin will soon be off the stage—with the unrealistic expectation that he will be replaced by someone more amenable to NATO interests—they could assume that Putin is rational and try to understand the Russian grievances that led to military conflict, and they could admit that Putin is not alone and isolated. His decision to launch the war, in spite of its deep costs to Russian people, had broad support in the Russian legislature and in the general population. There are large political factions in Russia that were much more impatient for war than Putin over the last eight years. If a health crisis led to his resignation tomorrow, his replacement would carry on with his policies. If that person lost the next election, the next government might be less moderate. And no, it would not be led by the NATO darling Navalny.

Then again, there may be a type of coherent logic in the NATO media’s assessment that Putin must be crazy. A catch 22, a term made famous by the novel by Joseph Heller, is defined as a dilemma from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions. In the novel, a military psychiatrist determines that pilots requesting a psychiatric exemption from missions could not be irrational because their request for psychiatric exemption was a rational strategy for avoiding death. NATO’s catch 22 for Putin runs in the opposite direction. The psychoanalysis finds that any leader challenging the “rules-based international order” must be insane, by definition, to subject himself to the punishment that arises from the challenge. In their view, a leader would have to be detached from reality in order to challenge their reality, to think there could be an alternative to their “rules-based international order.” One would have to be crazy to think that oil and gas could be purchased for rubles or that the reign of the petrodollar will ever end. That is the blind spot of an empire that thinks it can avoid the destiny of all other empires that have gone before it.

Steve Bell’s cartoon of Putin in The Guardian (left) contrasted with Nazi propaganda (right). Winston Churchill coined the phrase “iron curtain” at the start of the Cold War. Consciously or not, he adopted the phrase that was first used by the Nazi regime. See Max Parry’s article on this topic, first published in 2019.

Note about rules, international and order, and NATO’s own goal scored with economic sanctions

About the “rules-based international order”: There are no consistent rules. They change for each situation. There is no order. Chaos prevails. The presumed order is not international. Russia, China, and most of the nations of South Asia, Africa and Latin America have now stepped out of it with one or both feet. Many of the governments that commit to it do so under duress, or they are paid off or ambivalent, and the populations they represent are even less committed because they will be most affected by the blowback from the economic terrorism called “sanctions”—higher costs for fuel and food, job losses and other forms of economic disruption. All of it, supposedly, is the price worth paying to prolong the war and make Russian people suffer.