International Ray McGovern Russia

Putin Skewers US Ineptitude

President of Russia Vladimir Putin gives a speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club meeting, in Moscow Oblast, Russia., CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Ray McGovern /

Speaking on Oct. 27 at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned the sanity of those who would “spoil relations with China at the same time they are supplying billions-worth of weapons to Ukraine in a fight against Russia.”

In answer to a question on “the growing tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan,” Putin labeled visits by top U.S. officials to Taiwan a “provocation.” Putin added:

“Frankly, I do not know why they are doing this. … Are they sane? It seems that this runs completely counter to common sense and logic … This is simply crazy.

“It may seem that there is a subtle, profound plot behind this. But I think there is nothing there, no subtle thought. It is just nonsense and arrogance, nothing else. … Such irrational actions are rooted in arrogance and a sense of impunity.”

Elite, Exceptional People

What kind of people are behind what Putin describes? It turns out they come from the same stock of white-privileged, exceptional, ivy-mantled “Best and Brightest” that brought us Vietnam. This time, it is President Joe Biden who brought them in. Giving Biden the benefit of the doubt, I believe he was/is not smart enough to understand that they have made a big mess of things.

These are the sophomores, totally ignorant of how the Russia-China relationship had evolved, who told Biden at the Geneva summit on June 16, 2021 that “Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now … being squeezed by China. …,” which Biden parroted planeside before departing Geneva.

In his Valdai speech Putin quoted from a Harvard Commencement address by Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

“A continuous blindness of superiority is typical of the West; it upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present-day Western Systems.”

Putin adds:

“Solzhenitsyn said this in 1978. Nothing has changed. … Belief in one’s infallibility is very dangerous; it is only one step away from the desire of the infallible to destroy those they do not like. … “They arrogantly rejected all other variants and forms of government by the people and, I want to emphasize this, did so contemptuously and disdainfully … as if everyone else were second-rate, while they were exceptional.”

The day after Putin’s speech, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, asked for comment, said: “We highly appreciate the positive remarks by President Putin on China-Russia relations; they have maintained the momentum of robust development.” The foreign ministry spokesman added that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the day Putin spoke at Valdai, and that the two diplomats “exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis.”

‘Rules-Based International Order’

Putin lampooned the Antony Blinken/Jake Sullivan concoction of the “rules-based order.” As for the idea of “substituting ‘rules’ for international law.” Putin quipped, as he began his prepared remarks at Valdai:

“I was tempted to say ‘We are clear about who made up these rules’, but perhaps that would not be an accurate statement. We have no idea whatsoever who made these rules up, what these rules are based on, or what is contained inside these rules.

“It looks like we are witnessing an attempt to enforce just one rule where those in power … could live without following any rules at all and could get away with anything.”

Later, during the Q and A, Putin rang some changes on the “rules-based” concept:

“They are talking about rules – what rules? Where are they written and who has approved them? It is nonsense … nothing more than rubbish. Still, they keep drumming it into people’s heads indefinitely. And those who do not observe these rules will be subject to restrictions and sanctions.

Relaxed, Jocular, in Control

Putin appeared vigorous and fully alert, with a prodigious grasp of detail, during his three and a half hours on stage at Valdai. He even told a couple of jokes … one about Russia being blamed for everything – including broken toilets. In this connection, readers might enjoy this short video showing who was to blame for sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines. (Perhaps one reason Putin seemed in such high spirits is that he had already seen this video.)

Nonetheless, in his earlier, prepared remarks, Putin was dead serious in addressing what he called, multiple times, the “tectonic shift” in the world correlation of forces.

“Now this historical period of boundless Western domination in world affairs is coming to an end. The unipolar world is being relegated to the past. We are at a historical crossroads. We are in for probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time most important decade since the end of World War II. The West is unable to rule humanity single-handedly and the majority of nations no longer want to put up with this. This is the main contradiction of the new era. To cite a classic, this is a revolutionary situation to some extent – the elites cannot and the people do not want to live like that any longer.”

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Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


  1. Nothing new -the stupidity of US foreign policy and that two autocrats would find common ground. Maybe in 2024 the US could add a third.

  2. I have been following these Valdai discussions for a number of years now. What amazed me about this one was Putin’s ability to speak a great length about a wide range of economic, social and cultural issues. I need not delve into any of the minutiae here, other than to say that anyone who appreciates the music of Borodin and the amazing abstract expressionist painting of Vassily Kandinsky can’t be all that bad. That Putin should have become such a polymath, given the dire circumstances of his adolescent years, is a fact that is lost on those who are possessed of an irrational and self-defeating obsession with his demise and that of the nation he serves. In light of the crass hypocrisy of the West in their Herculean effort to present themselves as a paragon of world civilisation, to even suggest, that all of this is entirely pathetic, could be the understatement of the millennium. What do I mean by that ? Go ask Ray. . . . .

  3. It’s good to see some of what Putin says in an ‘unfiltered’ manner, without the crass commentary of Msnbc/Cnn “contributors” (Security State plants) muddying the waters.

  4. Far from being the “madman” that U.S. propaganda insists on depicting him as, Vladimir Putin is a highly intelligent, capable, and rational politician. His quixotic decision to invade Ukraine notwithstanding, he has been calling for negotiations and following the rule of international for many years while the U.S. and NATO have been ignoring all Russia’s insistence on negotiation and instead behaving like barbarians who only understand the club and the whip. I am an American and I have watched the U.S. threaten, sanction, destroy and intimidate all of my life, i.e., since the end of WWII. There is no rationality coming from the U.S. There never is. There is merely the obsession with a unipolar world with the U.S. and NATO as the ruling empire. They do not realize that that age has passed and the world is not going to accept this kind of thuggery for much longer.

  5. Well, it’s not the US that did an about-face on withdrawing from the Grain deal when faced with the prospect of actually sinking grain ships in front of the world, is it?

    1. again incompetent golod farcical—now Russia inspects all fake ukie terror ships for US weapons—and has not returned to the previous “deal”…do you always lie?

  6. I don’t agree that it is western cretinism or insanity to engage China in new Cold War with ridiculous belligerence regarding Taiwan. There is twisted logic behind it with material foundation of possible western imparting on Xi policies of multipolar world that started with OBOR or Silk Road initiative of Chinese global investments expansion or as many call it (benign) Chinese imperial expansion.

    The rarely mentioned fact is that Chinese oligarchs closely connected to CCP leadership stashed at least 5 trillion dollar loot in the west via variety of obscured partnership mainly dealing with rights to control rather then straight ownership as well as in some cases via legitimate businesses and they do not want to lose it if China leaves global financial system that is a central part of multipolar world Xi and Putin as well as Modi and GCC all envision. In other words they oppose Xi policy of global dedollarization.

    Xi, Putin and Modi policies of multipolar world hence require consolidation of power to oppose such pro western oligarchs and political organizations they control.

    While the process of consolidation of power among multipolar world factions that looks from outside like power grab or dictatorial tendencies in C,R and I is ongoing western belligerent rhetoric and inciting wars while rejecting of any reasonable negotiations serves as support for opposition to current rulers among CRI oligarchic elites.

    Pro western elites in China, Russia and India want to play phony role of peacemakers in this western staged phony geopolitical confrontation which real dimension of confrontation among global oligarchy is obscured.

    Last several years clamping down of Hi tech Chinese oligarchs was expression of such effort to neuter or eliminate strong opposition to post western domination era Xi is planning for.

    The same process happened in last decade in Russia whose hi tech industry became 90% independent from the west including Russian MIC which results we see in Ukrainian war now.

    Russian western connected oligarchy lost its position within Russia but was not completely eradicated still impacting Putin decisions to go easy with the west a fact that already unnecessary prolonged the Ukrainian war that can have only one outcome regardless of western meddling.

    Also to much less degree it happened in India which became much more independent from the west throwing out many western corporations that would not act in India interests which developing ties with Russia and recently with China. Both are number one re-exporters of suposedly sanctioned Russian oil to EU and US. Italy is third.

    The now inevitable process of multipolarization of the world must not be confused with democratization or socioeconomic pluralism or political freedom.

    It is nothing but a result of competition between concentrated oligarchic power in different regions of the world brought about by end game of total globalization achieved a decade ago when further expansion of oligarchic control could not be achieved without direct infringement of vital interest of western or eastern oligarchy.

    One thing is sure, oligarchic “Giants” are ready to trash this world and economy, kill millions needs be to achieve final domination as they now don’t care about what little mortals like humanity think about anything as long as they are brainwashed to hate fellow man and blame calamity on him which oligarchs remain beyond reproach.

    Now the ultimate oligarchic battle is not about loot, wealth . It is solely about control of everything, needs be even desolated scorched earth. All other priorities or considerations rescinded. And that is the underlying logic of it all.


    Do check out the Matt Orfalea video. If it weren’t so ominous, the neocon Fox– neolib CNN same drone echo chamber would be hilarious!

    The comments on the YT page just below are wonderful. Reminders that plenty of younger people somehow manage to think for themselves, despite the dumbing down of education and constant barrage of econ empire propaganda.

    Like my 94 year old mom, several commenters said they think we’re all stupid. Many were amazed anyone could believe the Russians did it despite the total lack of evidence, that explanations amount to because he (Putin) could, and that all that was actually needed was to close the valve at the Russian source.

    One noted that Goebbels had only one source for repetition while the MSM has several hundred. Another, probably a German, pointed out that if the US is responsible, wouldn’t that mean that NATO and the US as a member have to assist the Germans in fighting US aggression? How about: it’s Saddam has WMD all over again. Or: we can see how ‘well-respected’ members of both political parties are just blatant liars and criminals. /s: I have a warm fuzzy feeling from all the consensus. And: Now I know it was Japan that nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    As for censoring, uh, protecting us from misinformation… Sure. This video may perhaps contain a few hints as to why this just might be a problem.

  8. Many no longer accept the immoral american rules—Russia accelerates the demise of the intellectually devoid morally bankrupt american empire

  9. Good commentary by Ray McGovern, who I have the greatest respect for, ever since he was one of the first to speak “Truth to Power’ in the early days of the American invasion of Iraq, a country who did us no harm, which was a “crime of aggression,” which we prosecuted a few Nazis for during the trials after World War 11, and of course the subservient countries who sent troops to Iraq as well, to help destroy that nation and take over their oil wells.

    Putin has patience and he seems to be a level-headed thinker, in spite of the steady tirades against him by Western propagandists for so many years, from political leaders or as Paul Craig Roberts calls them, and rightfully so, “presstitutes” in big corporate media who have sold their souls for “thirty pieces of silver.” And remember, anybody who is a real democrat and tries helping the common people of their country whom American oligarchs and capitalists, plus the usury specialists on Wall Street don’t like, is called another Hitler.

    How demented are the “so-called” political heads of state in the United States and Western Europe who don’t even acknowledge the massive casualties and the destruction of entire towns and villages by Germany and their allied partners in the crazed psychopath’s desire to crush the Soviet Union in the second world war?

    The good news is more nations are starting to see the big picture of the Full Spectrum Dominance philosophy by the United States to take over the entire planet and maybe outer space as well.

    And putting supersonic nuclear-tipped guided missiles on Russia’s borders means US and NATO aggression, NOT Russian aggression.

    The Russian Federation must prevail in the Ukraine if they want to remain a free nation. They have no other choice!

  10. “This is the message Putin and the Kremlin are trying to convey to the world and especially the West – the cost of supporting Ukraine is too much, and its importance – too negligible, when compared with what the world is dealing with. It can be resolved simply with “dialogue on an equal footing”.

    Moscow is, of course, playing an important role in stoking these crises: from waging a gas war on the European Union to undermining the United Nations grain deal, curbing Ukrainian wheat exports and exacerbating food shortages in the Global South. The goal is to distract the world from the war in Ukraine, to present it as a small, regional – if not domestic – issue.

    Indeed, for those that do not follow the war in Ukraine closely, who do not understand the context and who mistrust the news of war crimes, what Putin is saying may seem reasonable enough. But unfortunately, what he envisions as a “dialogue” or a “solution” is, in fact, a full surrender of Ukraine – the West agreeing to step back and turn a blind eye to the horrors of the Russian war and occupation.

    This is the multipolarity Putin is preaching – a world order that enables those that have the power to do what they want and to bend international laws.

    And while Putin wants the world to forget Ukraine, he is obsessed with it. For him this is a personal affair; it is about delivering “historical justice” in his Russian imperial understanding of it.”

  11. Your analysis, whilst generally well informed, is actually off the mark here. Putin’s message to the West is that he is determined to prevent his hardy and noble nation from being contaminated by the creeping, perverse and transhuman influence of those afflicted with the psychopathies of the Anglosphere. And if my verbosity here escapes you, I will refer you to a certain gentlemen (now minus beard) who will be honey-roasted on the nearest spit, to the strains of “After I’m Gone” should he ever fail to give credit to his son, “Lawrence of Carolina ” for maintaining one of the most comprehensive, informed and authentic anti-war web-sites available at the present time . Now please excuse me, I must leave in haste, for my olfactory faculties perceive the distinct aroma of burning toast as it wafts its way up the stairs to my studio here, in the forlorn and dimly lit suburbs of North London. May the fourths be with you.

  12. anglo fascists are very upset that Russia rejects their immoral “rules” and has terminated their nazi war in Ukraine and Syria….the US empire is quickly fading….”Americans have been liars and braggarts for 3 centuries…americans live in a thicket of illusions; americans demand illusions about themselves”. Daniel Boorstin
    “americans are entirely confused about themselves”. Simone de Bourvoir
    your confusion cannot save the intellectually dead morally bankrupt US society

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