“Putin is like a shark,” analyzes a former CIA agent


When John Williams created the Jaws leitmotif, he says he had in mind an “instinct driven, ruthless, unstoppable” hunter. Director Spielberg is said to have burst out laughing when his film’s composer first played the diminutive, if ominous, two notes: du-dum. He thought it was a joke.

address Vladimir Putin he behaves similarly. The Russian dictator has made several loud and unequivocal threats, including his inflammatory speech in 2007. at the Munich Security Conference. “No one in the world feels safe!” he shouted in obvious excitement in the great hall of the Bayerischer Hof hotel. you-dum

Despite Russia’s invasion of Georgia a year later or the annexation of Crimea in 2014, no one saw the pale Kremlin ruler as a relentless, unstoppable hunter. Only when missiles fell in Kiev at the end of February 2022, and Russian soldiers were already stationed in the suburbs of the Ukrainian capital, the West seemed to suddenly wake up to the realization: Putin is evil!

“Putin is a constantly moving object”

Now, George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” aside, evil is not usually a political category. It refers to a negative human quality. But what kind of person is Putin – and if so, how much? “To understand Putin is to understand the mindset of a predatory intelligence agent,” writes Douglas London in one. Contribute to Just SecurityAmerica’s expert magazine on topics such as national security and foreign policy.

For London, who says he spent much of his CIA career tracking Putin-era Russian intelligence officials, “Putin is like a shark that has to keep moving to survive.” Except in his case, the reason Putin is a constant moving object is that he overcomes his failures, tilts the narrative in his favor, and keeps his opponents at bay.

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London writes that it is not in his nature to pause, reflect and adapt intelligently to changing circumstances or to be guided by experts he should respect. “Instead, Putin prides himself on his ability to switch spontaneously and go it alone without showing weakness or even fear.”

Therefore, Putin will be inclined to take actions that can overshadow his misfortune and make others forget the burning house in his wake. “But the more he rages and threatens, the more we know that Putin is struggling, weak and threatened.” Yes, a dangerous time, but an opportunity for the West.

“Putin does not need to win in Ukraine to survive”

Just to remind you: almost exactly a month ago, in his big televised speech, Putin not only announced a partial mobilization and the deployment of 300,000 reservists, but also threatened to use his tactical nuclear weapons. He continued his announcements: “I’m not bluffing!”

If you say you’re not bluffing, you’re mostly bluffing. But what if someone says they’re not bluffing when they really aren’t? No one can get inside Putin’s head. But former CIA agent London can understandably explain the trials and tribulations of the former KGB lieutenant colonel, later FSB boss. How strong or weak is the ruler of the Kremlin really? “Putin does not need to win in Ukraine to survive, but he cannot afford to lose,” writes London.

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Even if he suffered the humiliation of losing Ukraine’s eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, much of which he had controlled for years before the all-out offensive in February this year and which he recently wanted to “annex” as Russian territories in alleged referendums, Putin could survive, says Douglas London, who today, among other things, he teaches “intelligence studies” at Georgetown University in Washington.

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