Michael Brennan, a Voice of Sanity on Putin, Russia and Ukraine
April 29, 2022 (EIRNS)—Under the headline “American Dissent on Ukraine Is Dying in Darkness,” Robert Scheer of Scheer Intelligence Podcast interviewed American academic and foreign policy expert Michael Brennan on April 15, a former professor at various universities (Pittsburg, Texas, Johns Hopkins SAIS), with decades of experience in international affairs, who offers a refreshing and thoughtful analysis of what is behind Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Putin’s true character and what motivates him, as opposed to the caricature put out by most U.S. and Western media. He also zeroes in on the pathology, or what he calls the psychopathology, afflicting the American people. Brennan explains that because he has opposed the “consensus” and the accepted narrative about Russia’s actions, and countered the depiction of Putin as another Hitler, he has been the subject of vitriolic attack from other academics and foreign policy experts, and others he’s known for many years. The attacks he received were unlike anything he had ever experienced, he said, with people going so far as to question his patriotism, his sanity, and accuse him of being a Putin agent. Below are a few of his astute observations—it is well worth reading the entire transcribe of the interview.
“What we’re getting is not only a cartoon caricature, but a portrait of the country and its leadership—and by the way Putin is not a dictator. He is not all-powerful. The [Russian] government is far more complex in its processes of decision-making. ... And he is, Putin himself, an extraordinarily sophisticated thinker, but people don’t bother to read what he writes, or to listen to what he says.
“I know, in fact, of no national leader that has laid out in the detail and the precision and the sophistication his view of the world, Russia’s place in it, the character of interstate relations, with the candor and acuity that he has. It’s not a question of whether you believe that that depiction he offers is entirely correct, or the conclusion that he draws from it, with regard to policy. But you are dealing with a person and a regime which in vital respects is the antithesis of the one that is caricatured and almost universally accepted, not only in the Biden administration but in the foreign policy community and the political class, and in general.”
What’s wrong with the American people? Brennan refers to the defense of a conception of the
“United States of America’s providential birth admission in the world that compels us to view people like Putin as being diabolical and as constituting as grave a threat to America as Stalin and Hitler, whose names constantly crop up, as well as ridiculous phrases like genocide and so on. ... I think we have to look in the mirror ... and say we’ve seen ... the source of our disquiet, and it’s within us; it’s not out there, and it is leading to gross distortions of the way in which we see, we depict and we interpret the world all across the board.”
Brennan observes that in terms of contemporary America,
“I truly believe that we are talking about collective psychopathology. And of course, collective psychopathology is what you get in a nihilistic society in which all sort of standard, conventional sort of reference points cease to serve as markers and guideposts on how individuals behave. And one expression of that is the erasure of history. We live in the existential ... moment, or week, or month, or year or whatever. So we totally, almost totally forget about the reality of nuclear weapons.”
In terms of this crisis, he says,
“It’s had to do with Russia from the beginning. It’s been the objective of American foreign policy for at least a decade to render Russia weak and unable to assert itself in any manner of speaking in European affairs. We want it marginalized, we want to neuter it, as a power in Europe. And the ability of Putin to reconstitute a Russia that was stable, that also had its own sense of national interest, and a vision of the world different from ours, has been deeply frustrating to the political elites and the foreign policy elites of Washington.”
Brennan makes many other excellent points, including the assertion:
“I believe there is growing and now totally persuasive evidence that when the Biden people came to office, they made a decision to create a crisis over Donbass to provoke a Russian military reaction, and to use that as the basis for consolidating the West, unifying the West, in a program whose centerpiece was massive economic sanctions, with the aim of tanking the Russian economy and possibly and hopefully leading to a rebellion by the oligarchs that would topple Putin.”