The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Carlson/Putin Interview

I think this is worth listening to. I’ve put notes below. It’s not in essay format, just what I found significant as I was listening.

Whatever you think of Putin, at least he’s educated and speak in complete sentences and has a historical understanding (whether you agree with it or not.) He makes Trump and Biden look like the idiots they are.

In fact, Putin makes almost every Western leader look like an ill-educated moron. Orban is an exception. This isn’t a political judgment. I don’t much like Putin, but I can respect him. I can’t respect Biden, Trump, Sunak, Scholz, Macron, Von Der Leyen or my own PM, Trudeau.

Fuck, I’m loving this history lesson from Putin “oh, and here are copies of the historical documents, showing I’m not making this up.”

And Tucker’s expression, looking at Putin is hilarious. Absolutely “WTF, why is he giving me this history lesson.” How many politicians has he interviewed over the years, and this erudite (though really very much a skim) disquisition is alien to him.

Tucker’s kind of stupid, “but we have a strong China the West isn’t very afraid of”. I mean, WTF?

Putin’s point that Russia in 90s and much of the 00s wanted to be part of the West, desperately so, is entirely accurate by my memory and I was around.

Russia /should/ have been turned into a Western ally, and if it had been, China would be /much/ less of a threat. But our politicians (I won’t call them statesman, the last US statesman was James Baker) were fools.

And yes, the war against Serbia was the first great break in Russia’s trust of the West and that the West would obey international law. If Serbia can be broken up, well, why not other countries?

And yes, I remember that Russia asked to join NATO. What a different world that would be.

Pointing out that the US exerts pressure and Western countries obey, which is usually true, and has become more true.

Under Bush, the CIA confirms they are working to support the Chechen rebellion. Of course, Putin and Russia don’t like that.

And then the missile defense system, Putin offers to make it a multilateral defense system which is supposedly against Iran. America refuses.

Russia points out that if they aren’t in the missile defense system, they’ll have to find a way to overwhelm the new defense system–which they did: hypersonic missiles.

And, of course, NATO expansion makes the Russians feel unsafe, which, of course it does, when they won’t let Russia join NATO.

And the point that you can’t make a deal with Europeans, because they will bow to American pressure. But you can’t make a deal with America, because they won’t keep their word.

And Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO is a no go for Russia.

Talking about the coup-d’etas in Ukraine. Which, of course, there was and I said so at the time.

Ukraine can’t have a free trade agreement with both Russia and the EU at the same time since Russian market would be flooded. (Yeah, 100%. Would have been a disaster for Russia. Plus a route for operatives to infiltrate Russia easily though Putin doesn’t say that.)

Russia tells Yanukovich not to use armed force, because US agrees to calm down Maidan. But US doesn’t keep their deal, force is used by Maidan, and the coup happens.

The Ukrainian attacks on Donetsk are the main break point to Putin.

But also, gaurantees against the coup were ignored by the European countries. Again, a loss of trust. Can’t make a deal with the West, especially Europe.

NATO in Ukraine is the red line. (Which is what I always said.)

Then breaking the Minsk agreements. Again, the West and Ukraine won’t keep agreements with Russia.

From Putin’s POV he didn’t start the war in 2022. The war was ongoing, Minsk agreement broken, Donetsk under constant attack. He intervened, yes, but the war was already ongoing.

(Not unreasonable. I warned at the time and indeed for decades that this would happen.)

This Putin/Carlson interview is super embarassing to the West. I literally can’t think of a Western leader today who could lay out a case like this, coherently and intelligently. We are ruled by imbeciles.

I mean, I don’t agree with a lot of Russian policy, or how they’re going social conservative. But goddamn, Putin makes our leaders look like incompetents.

Putin claims that he withdrew from Kiev at western request, as a requirement for making a peace deal. As soon as the Russians did, the West ended the peace talks.

Nasty if true and yet another, never trust these fucks and impose a peace by winning the war.

Unfortunately, I find this credible. I don’t know if it’s true, but I believe Putin more than UK PM Johnson or Biden.

Putin: Ukraine’s national identity is based around glorification of Nazi collaborators as heroes, and de-Nazification means ending this national identity.

De-Nazification would be done by making Nazi and Neo-Nazism illegal in Ukraine, in the peace treaty, per Putin.

Putin hasn’t talked directly to Biden since the start of the war and sees no reason to do so.

Putin: US blew up Nord Stream: motive and ability.

Putin: Germany’s leaders are not looking after Germany’s interests primarily.

World should be safe for everyone, not just the “golden billion”.

Using dollar as weapon is one the biggest strategic mistakes of the US. (Putin)

US dollar as trade/reserve dollar, allows US inflation under control, and damaging it by using it as sanctions is a grave mistake. Even US allies are downsizing dollar reserves.

Until 2022, 80% of Russian trade was in US dollars. Now 13%.

Denies fear of Chinese economic power. China’s foreign policy is not aggressive, but looks for compromise. China/Europe economic cooperation is growing faster than China/Russia cooperation.

Bilateral trade with China is 230 billion, and is well balanced. 1992 G7 – 47% of trade, now a little over 30%. Brics only 16%, now higher than G7.

US does not understand the world is changing and does not adapt because of conceit. Trying to resist with force is failing and will fail.

President does not matter, what matters is the elite mindset. As long as American elites believe in domination at any costs the US cannot adapt.

Largest number of sanctions in the world are against Europe and at the same time Russia became 5th largest world economy and the 1st largest in Europe.

Russia can’t really understand the power centers and elections in the US.

US never seems to cooperate, but always to use pressure. In relation to US, cold war elites just kept doing the same thing, and assuming they could win the same way against China as they had against the USSR.

Definitely thinks the US deliberately provoked the Russian invasion. They controlled Ukraine and Ukraine ignore Minsk, talking about joining NATO and attacking Russians in Donetsk/Luhansk and discriminating against Russians in Ukraine.

Believes Zelensky was scared of neo-Nazis when he took charge, and realized the West supported the Neo-Nazis.

Weird series of questions on religion, like “do you see God in human history today”.

Putin: history has its laws and rhythms. Rise and fall.

Some talk on genetic sciences and AI as a threat.

Musk and others involved in AI and genetics need to be regulated.

This should be done by an international treaty.

Russia is willing to negotiate, it is the West who is refusing to negotiation: Ukraine is under US control.

Ukraine cannot defeat Russia strategically, even with NATO support, so it only makes sense to negotiate.

Putin: I know they want to negotiate, but they don’t know how to do so. But it will happen sooner or later.

The war is particular tragic, because to Putin, Ukraine and Russia are still a single civilization with a single soul.

Final Commentary: As I said at the start, Putin makes most Western leaders look like dunces. He can discuss history, economy and politics fluently. He has numbers and dates and analogies at his fingertips.

And yes, as far as I’m concerned, Russia was treated incompetently by the West. They could easily have been made into Western allies, effectively a part of Europe. Moving NATO forward was obviously a threat to Russia when Russia had been promised it wouldn’t happen and when Russia even offered to join NATO.

(Transcript of interview.)

You get what you support. If you like my writing, please SUBSCRIBE OR DONATE





Western China Economic News Is Totally Deranged


The Competition Between West And The Rest Is Already Over


  1. Tallifer

    Force was used by Maidan?!? Yanukovych’s security forces slaughtered hundreds of defenseless protesters before he recognized that the vast majority of Ukrainians wanted freedom and rule of law.

  2. Jan Wiklund

    What Putin said about the mindset of the American elites is probably true, and has been since the days of Mark Twain, notes from Friday, September 7, 1906:

    “At the banquet, last winter, of that organization which calls itself the Ends of the Earth Club, the chairman, a retired regular army officer of high grade, proclaimed in a loud voice, and with fervency,

    “We are of the Anglo-Saxon race, and when the Anglo-Saxon wants a thing he just takes it.”

    That utterance was applauded to the echo.”

    And so on.

  3. Purple Library Guy

    Tallifer . . . I hate to tell you, but I and many others were paying attention at the time. You are talking rubbish and you probably know it. Most of the protesters killed, were killed by “mysterious” snipers who turned out to be part of the coup operation. The attempts to claim it was done by government forces were transparent lies, much like in Venezuela in 2002. But, even a transparent lie will work at the time if the media spread it hard.

    Ruthless governments don’t use random snipers to piss protesters off. They use ominous heavily armoured ranks of riot police to frighten them and push them around. Snipers are an ingredient in CIA-backed coups, precisely because they tend to enrage previously peaceful protesters and push them towards supporting the violent groups you have waiting in the wings (such as “Pravy Sektor”).

  4. Soredemos



  5. marku52

    Putin made me crack up. Tucker pointed out that Schumer was threatening US boots on the ground in UKR and Putin responded “That’s stupid. Don’t you have anything better to do? You have a crisis on the southern border, you have 33 trillion $ in debt. Don’t you have anything better to do?”

    Good question.

  6. DMC

    Actually, it was the Azov/Right Sektor goons that were shooting both protesters and cops. Remember that the US National Endowment for Democracy spent 6 years and 7 Billion dollars setting up Maidan to overthrow a democratically elected president and replace him with a US puppet, who was replaced with Zelensky, who has outlawed opposition parties.

  7. Feral Finster

    The Maidan Myth promoted by Tallifer has been long debunked.

    The problem is that the sociopaths who run things care little for intelligence, reasonableness or anything else, as long as they can use brute force to compel obedience.

    That is why there are no diplomats or statesmen in the West, just thugs, skinpuppets and bootlickers.

  8. StewartM

    Ian, just letting you know (and it may be just the server is overloaded?) I can’t access the transcript:

    This site can’t be took too long to respond.

    Checking the connection
    Checking the proxy and the firewall

  9. StewartM

    Switching browsers from Chrome to Firefox, I was able to download it. (Reading it is better than watching for two hours).

    As for intelligence and knowledge, our politicians are the way that they are because for our elites who later take the reins of government and business, learning anything in school is secondary to “networking”. Two of my friends (one of which attended Harvard) have given me stories about their privileged peers and they certainly didn’t spend their time hitting the books.

    Uniquely American (dating from Andrew Jackson) is the appeal of the unlearned person–so that even people like DeSantis and Cruz who went to prestigious schools pretend that they didn’t and are just “average folk”. Interestingly enough, back in the US Civil War, while white soldiers seemed to want their officers to be “one of the guys”, black soldiers seemed to appreciate an educated officer who spoke like he was well-read. Perhaps that was due precisely because education was one of the things denied them?

    American leadership in particular looks dumb. If you’ve ever watched “Prime Minister’s Questions”, at they at least have rhetorical skills that no American politician could match (they are on par with stand-up comedians, their system forces one to learn the quick retort and jab). Though I suspect that back when we had real open-air debates, like Lincoln-Douglas, the standard was higher. TV and looking groomed dumbed things down.

  10. Soredemos


    That ‘debt’ isn’t what Putin imagines it to be, but then again he is fundamentally a neoliberal so I’m not surprised he doesn’t understand money.

    Just wait until if and when Russia finally figures out that don’t need to balance their budgets.

  11. Soredemos

    @Quite Likely

    Putin is fundamentally a Russian nationalist who operates from the presupposition that Russian national identity is ancient (or at least early medieval), and thus legitimate, that everyone in the Russian periphery (Belarus, Ukraine) are just Little Russias in denial, and that a unique Ukrainian national identity is fraudulent and recent.

    Aside from the fact that ethnogenesis seems to be a completely alien concept to him (all national identities are ultimately fictitious and emerged at some point or other, usually comparatively recently, and that includes Russia jtself. None is really more genuine than any other; they’re all bullshit), he doesn’t need to be making arguments that stretch back centuries to justify his actions.

    Russia won’t allow NATO next door. That’s an entirely rational stance that stands on its own. That’s it’s bolstered by the majority of people in certain areas of Ukraine genuinely wanting to be with Russia is a happy bonus, but in some hypothetical alternate timeline where none of the current events happened, fifty years from now people in a still Ukrainian Donbass and Crimea may have come to identify with Kiev more. And it wouldn’t be any more real or fake than how they identify right now.

    Putin hates Lenin and finds the creation of the Ukrainian SSR incomprehensible because Putin can’t grasp the idea that national identities don’t need to have ancient foundations. Lenin wisely saw a burgeoning Ukrainian national identity and saw catering to it as the path of least resistance.

    (Crimea is a different matter, and really was arbitrarily given to Kiev, and the people of Crimea have been trying to break away and back to Russia since the 90s).

  12. Purple Library Guy

    European history is weird and very, very complicated, and I would not be surprised if Putin was wrong or putting spin about some of it; anyone with a political axe to grind in Europe can find support for practically any point of view, I expect.

    But it’s impressive to see a politician who talks as if both he and you are not idiots. I watched a couple minutes of the interview to get a feel and then read the transcript, and wow, the man has all the facts at his fingertips. And I must say, I know quite a bit about things that happened at the end of the cold war and since then, and his accounts generally match what I already knew very closely. This adherence to reality on matters of public record lends, no doubt intentionally, a certain verisimilitude to his accounts of more private, personal dealings with Western heads of state. That and the stuff he says about the ways he was blown off by the US foreign policy establishment really sounds like how I would expect things to work.

    His frustration was interesting. There was this whole “I don’t get it. Why do the Americans always seem incapable of grasping the idea that anyone else might play to win?” vibe that kept coming through and, I mean, fair question. And it’s true . . . I mean in some ways, the US establishment is very paranoid, and they inculcate that in the US citizenry. But in other ways, they always seem to be totally caught by surprise, and even outraged, when some country blocks their moves against it or acts to further its own interests. Like they think, at an instinctive level, that the natural job of every country is to do what the US wants even if the US wants to hurt them, and it always startles them when that fails to happen . . . all the more so if it’s not a momentary aberration, but planned and premeditated.

    I think it’s because, with many individual exceptions, but institutionally, Americans are racist about the whole rest of the world. They don’t see anyone else as humans with their own points of view or objectives or interests or ability to proactively take their own initiative, they’re just blobs that are supposed to do whatever the US bullies them into. Putin sees other countries as outfits with their own interests and histories, who will be trying to meet their own objectives–which he may or may not agree with or be in conflict with, but he recognizes that they come out of those other countries’ experiences and points of view, and so negotiations will happen based on the intersection of Russia’s interests and their interests and the power dynamics involved. He can’t grasp, or to make a point pretends not to grasp, that the Americans really don’t do that.

  13. Soredemos


    The Brits also have the likes of Boris Johnson, a product of elite schooling who can speak Latin and ancient Greek but remains, in fact, a blithering fucking idiot, as dumb and delusional in practice as any American politician.

  14. mago

    In general, check in before you check out and don’t believe everything you think, especially when under the influence of agendas, not to mention legal street drugs like caffeine and sugar.
    Georgia on my mind
    Never mind . . .

  15. Curt Kasten

    The interview was pleasent entertainment. Unfortunately it is unlikely that the interview will have caused anyone in North America or Europe to suddenly say, Ah I get it now my own society has been lying to me about this issue (among many) all along.
    At best the interview might have planted some seeds of doubt in some people. But those seeds of doubt take 20 to 25 years to mature. Oh and I almost forgot. The interview may have been seen by a few people who were on the verge of leaving the reservation and this interview might have convinced them to them to leave.

    I especially enjoyed Soredemos’s comments above.

  16. Soredemos

    @Purple Library Guy

    Putin has an actual, more or less informed perspective. It gets shakier (and shades into outright bullshit at times) the further back into history it goes, but it’s gets rock solid for events of the last few decades. For the older parts, there’s already some interesting askhistorians (yes, I know, reddit) comments that summarize what he claims and point out the parts that are semi- or completely incoherent (for example he claims the Coassack Hetmanate signing a treaty of recognition with Moscow made Central Ukraine basically part of Russia, when actually the whole point was that it was Russia recognizing the Cossacks as independent. A very strange twisting of the real history).

    But he has a depth of historical knowledge. He can put forward an argument and thesis, and cite evidence, that can then be critiqued. Which is far more than can be said of any leader in the West at this point.

  17. bruce wilder

    I finally read the interview.

    I was impressed by Putin’s detailed knowledge. Some of the history is grade school mythic stuff – the Ruriks and the baptism of the Rus – but it served his argument that Russian history and statehood is deeply entangled with Ukraine, which it certainly is. It is an older way of grounding geopolitical thinking. But everywhere he connects to the idea of negotiating a settlement of conflict and though he does not make anyone else’s case, he acknowledges, for example, “I say that Ukrainians are part of the one Russian people. They say, ”No, we are a separate people.“ Okay, fine. If they consider themselves a separate people, they have the right to do so, but not on the basis of Nazism, the Nazi ideology.”

    In my mind I contrast his attitude to the dictums of the neoliberal rules-based order, which says “no” to negotiation. Ukrainian neutrality can not be the subject of great power negotiation because the “rules” require that Ukraine be able to freely choose its alliances.

    It is interesting to me that he puts so much on history per se. In my discussions with people about Ukraine, my interlocutors usually know very little even recent history and their view is basically “Putin started it (in 2022)”. It is a “rules-based” moral view — international boundaries are legal and conquest cannot be allowed to succeed, usually connected to a story about the character of the dictator and his ambitions reassemble Russian Empire.

    The neoliberal “rules-based” order and Putin’s view are incommensurable. Putin is a lawyer; he likes rules, but rules are a product of agreements made and kept in his worldview, not a narcissistic conceit.

    Putin’s history is a partisan view, but it isn’t an endless regress of grievances, like some Israel – Palestine arguments were before the current fashion for the utter evil of “settler societies” took over the domination of narrative.

    I don’t agree with Soredemos: given the terseness of the account and that he’s incorporating what happened subsequently into the meaning he is ascribing, I do not think he has much abused the history of how most of the Cossacks gradually were absorbed into the Russian state over many, many decades.

    Putin slides silently past Stalin’s dealings with Poland and Nazi Germany – that part seemed to veer into insulting the Poles deliberately. Poland unexpectedly won in their first post-WWI encounter with the still-forming Red Army. How far east to go was a famous dispute in early Polish Republican politics. Stalin made their decision wrong and moved Poland 300 miles to the West and whatever the historical claims to bits of territory, Stalin moved populations to solidify the new realities so there really isn’t much to the idea, say, that Kaliningrad isn’t Russian now even if it was the Prussian coronation city historically. Putin is just implying Stalin also made Poland as it is solidly Polish even if large parts were arguably German in the past. I am not sure if that is in the spirit of “get real” or what exactly.

    Russian involvement in the Caucasus is even more problematic historically: the genocide of the Circassians is a foundation of Russian settlement in the region. But, again, I give him considerable credit for mostly not constructing a tendentious litany of grievance and denial, a common use and abuse of history.

  18. Curt Kastens

    A couple of additional thoughts that I had about the interview are. One, when Putin refered to an attempt by Tucker Carlson to join the CIA. I deemed that as potentially a rather insulting comment. i wonder what prompted Putin to do that. I really do not think that the comment was spoontaneous. I think that it was a premeditated comment. Was it a taunt against the CIA?
    The ohter comment is that I saw reports that Putin had to use his hand to make his leg not shake. These reports from the UK MSM stated tht this was evidence or proof that Putin has Parkinsons. But it is certainly not proof and as evidence goes it is very weak. There are things other than Parkinsons that can cause someone to have a leg that shakes. I know someone with such a syndrom and that person has had it for more than 20 years.
    On top of that such a thing would be an easy thing to fake. So, such speculation is bogus and it is a crude attempt to spread propganda in the west, eepecially the UK.

  19. bruce wilder

    NC drew attention to Gilbert Doctorow’s remarks in two brief essays on the impressions Doctorow formed from the interview. He pointed in particular to how Putin’s remarks were shaped to appeal to a Russian audience, in particular explaining the odd balance of romantic nationalism against realpolitik. Putin is sharply constrained by domestic Russian politics in how he can explain himself. Tucker clearly was seeking realpolitik of a kind or maybe a Gulf of Tonkin / Pearl Harbor story.

    Doctorow seems to think Putin cannot say how long and well he planned after 2014 for the events of 2022. I can well imagine that Putin will never testify about how he herded anti-militaristic Russian society into a belated full-commitment to war mobilization.

    He can admit mistakes were made, but must frame those mistakes in just the right way to manage Russian feelings about the hostility of Western Europeans and East Europeans (two distinct categories).

    Like Curt, I read some of Putin’s remarks as being shaped in part by the content of whatever briefing Putin presumably had about Tucker’s schtick and POV, including the remark about Tucker at one time seeking a place in the intelligence agencies.

    I would say that the one-liner, “Don’t you have something better to do?” was the planned money shot.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén