A group of high ranking officials and generals have gathered in an ample room below ground in a bunker in Moscow. Seated in rows and files they face Putin at the front, who addresses them.
Putin — After a slow start, owing to a few mistakes we made, we are now winning the war in Ukraine.
His audience gives a warm applause.
Putin — And we are winning because we have used intimidation successfully.
Nods and murmurs of approval from the audience.
Putin — Intimidation requires persistence. And so I keep reminding the West that we have nuclear weapons… I say so again and again… implying that I’m willing to fire them… at any moment… and so abruptly end their decadent lives.
Americans and the West compare themselves with our country and say, ‘Russia is much less wealthy than we are. We have more to lose than they do.’
Exactly. And so I keep repeating, ‘We have nuclear weapons.’
We have been sanctioned economically, which hurts, but we still manage to exploit the cracks in the system and sell our oil and other resources. China and India have been most cooperative and so our coffers are full. In consequence, we have been able to lower our interest rates.
True, we are dependent on the West for parts for some industries, including the military, but the black market will continue to help us counter the sanctions, at least for a while, which gives us time to push for the complete occupation of Ukraine.
Putin — The defeat we are about to inflict on America will be decisive. We are slowly degrading their morale, exposing the fact that they cannot present a united front consistently. Germany’s indecisiveness keeps undermining the alliance and so with our friends the Hungarians. Meanwhile, Macron of France keeps doing a masterful job of reminding his partners that I should not be humiliated, that I have feelings.
Laughter from the audience.
Putin — And Erdogan, in Turkey, manages to brilliantly obstruct Finland’s and Sweden’s decision to join NATO. A very nice vacation spot Turkey is, so thank you Mr Erdogan, for not joining in the sanctions against us.
Putin — There is significant isolationist sentiment in America, which helps our case. We will keep using our sophisticated cyber operations to foster that sentiment. Lots of Republicans are saying, ‘no more help for Ukraine.’ Good.
Slowly then, with the help of American isolationists, we will neutralize their resolve to support Ukraine.
We’re almost there.
Notice how I’ve been able to keep the West from providing warplanes to Ukraine. Poland had the right idea when they pushed to hand over their Mig jets, but the coalition balked. I was staring them in the eye with my message ‘I have nuclear weapons,’ and the subtext ‘and willing to use them’, when they blinked. So they turned down Poland’s offer.
Instead of shortening the war with the war planes, they have prolonged it.
My bet that the West’s indecisiveness would give us Ukraine, was correct. For they keep thinking, ‘We have so much more than them’.
I have been pleasantly surprised to see how effective our strategy has been. Though I was confident of our eventual victory, I did not anticipate the tremendous impact I would cause on inflation and the world markets.
I love seeing how the market indices keep dropping and dropping, how they overreact to inflation concerns, a mark of their lack of conviction in their government and in themselves.
But it is the result of my clear strategy. I knew I could scare them into inaction and I have.
I do not know if giving Ukrainians war planes would have been decisive, or could be decisive, but fierce Ukrainians, defending their land with the right weapons, would likely have made a difference. They could have forced us out of their territory.
Would I have been humiliated by such action? Don’t know. But I would’ve been reluctant to commit most of my air force to blunt it, for it would have left me too exposed.
I am as impressed as the rest of the world with the bravery and resolve of the Ukrainian people and have to admit that I misjudged Zelensky. He’s a far stronger leader than I thought.
But the momentum is now in our favor.
The West had an opportunity to seize the moment and it didn’t.
And so the totality of Ukraine will be conquered.
Putin — I do worry, that the tenacious spirit of Ukrainians might lead to a resistance movement, a form of guerrilla response which could be bloody and lasting. I worry because if it keeps killing our soldiers it may become too costly.
Before I take questions, I’d like to make a comment on Biden and Afghanistan.
The prevailing opinion has been that Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan influenced my decision to take over Ukraine. That is not correct. In my view, Biden did the right thing. He cut his losses. That was a never ending war. Pakistan would have continued to support the Taliban making an American victory impossible. The question is, why did it take them so long to get out?
My decision to invade Ukraine was due to my conviction, that the isolationist sentiment Mr Trump had stirred, along with America’s growing internal acrimony, would be long lasting. I was right.
Biden’s pulling out of Afghanistan had nothing to do with it.
In fact, Biden’s resolve has surprised me. He has shown tremendous commitment to the cause of the unification of the West and the defense of Ukraine. But the economic upheaval the war has caused has diminished his influence.
Still, this is not yet over.
Biden could, against all critics, decide to agree to give Ukrainians the war planes they need.
He could still make the choice to challenge me.
He’s a risk taker. Will the rest of America allow him to do so, I’m not sure.
Although I didn’t like it, he publicly called me a ‘killer’ and a ‘war criminal’.
How would I respond to a challenge of his, I don’t know, but this I can say, though we don’t have as much as the West does, we do have something. Russia has something. And we don’t want to lose it.
Official (standing up) — Mr President… what do you think of America’s Right to Bear Arms, their second amendment?
Putin — It wouldn’t happen here, I can say that…
Laughter from the audience.
Putin — … I just read that, on average, there’s a school shooting in America every month.
And they can’t agree on how to stop them. They’re bleeding to death. Advantage Russia.
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.net, anchor.fm, buzzprout, apple and google podcasts