A common theme making the rounds is that Vladimir Putin must be crazy or has badly miscalculated his interests, and therefore is extremely dangerous. In fact the problem may be much worse than that. Putin is not merely a tyrant as understood by the classics (though not modern political science or theorists of international relations, who no longer recognize tyranny as a distinct political phenomenon); he has thrown in with a quasi-religious view of the purpose and destiny of a “slavic” Russia that perhaps makes Russia more dangerous than the old Soviet Union in some ways. Its hatred of America now extends beyond “oppressive capitalism” to the liberal idea itself.

These are some of the themes worked out several years ago by Waller Newell, professor of political science and philosophy at Carlton University in Canada, and author of several books on the subject, including Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror Tyranny: A New Interpretation; and the forthcoming Tyranny and Revolution: Rousseau to Heidegger. (And if you haven’t time for a book, take in his short Tablet article from a few days ago, “Vladimir Putin, Tyrant.”)

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There are 5 comments.

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  1. James Hageman Coolidge
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    May I ask what the bumper music is?

    • #1
  2. Steven Hayward Podcaster
    Steven Hayward
    @StevenHayward

    James Hageman (View Comment):

    May I ask what the bumper music is?

    “Mother Russia” by Renaissance, an obscure, semi prog rock ensemble from the 1970s.

    • #2
  3. James Hageman Coolidge
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    James Hageman (View Comment):

    May I ask what the bumper music is?

    “Mother Russia” by Renaissance, an obscure, semi prog rock ensemble from the 1970s.

    Thank you! I actually remember Renaissance from back in the day – from friends who were proggier than I.

    • #3
  4. Leslie Watkins Member
    Leslie Watkins
    @LeslieWatkins

    So interesting, considering whether the Romantic mindset Putin displays is commonly shared by most Russians and, if so, if theirs is as one-directional as his or is open to other pro-Russian possibilities—such as doing away with him. I’m wondering this because of reports I’ve heard that dozens of Russian generals have written an open letter opposing the  invasion. Same with a group of winning chess players. And did you see the Russian TV news segment where a stock trader toasted (with carbonated water, he noted) the now-dead stock market? (I’m not on Twitter and could not figure out how to copy the link from Instapundit.) It’s hysterical! And right out of a Western romcom starring Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Seriously, though, if Putin’s mindset will carry on without him, might it be wiser to fight this thing out now?

    • #4
  5. DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ
    @DJEJ

    Great turn of phrase and observation from Waller Newell at 14:06…

    “I think it’s fair to say that Trump is a more of a hawkish isolationist than Biden is a hawkish internationalist.”

    • #5
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