Fighting the impulse for national divorce with spousal abuse
The Putin Variant
The regime is repurposing its Covid-19 propaganda playbook.
The war in Ukraine is deadly real and could have far-reaching impact on the globe in the immediate future and for years to come. The global balance of power is unsteady as the West isolates Russia through sanctions, which seems to be driving China and Russia, the two non-American superpowers, closer together.
The world has seen this before. In 2014, Putin invaded Ukraine and came away with control over Crimea before things settled. President Obama did nothing to intervene militarily, just as President Biden is doing now.
Most Americans not only don’t remember the 2014 invasion, but at the time they were not much aware of it. There were no “Stand with Ukraine” flags, lapel pins, or stickers adorning American vehicles across the country. Social media users weren’t plastering virtue-signaling blue and yellow graphics on their profiles back then.
But the reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine feels strangely familiar, as though we just went through something very similar. It bears a strong resemblance to the way in which the regime engineered mass hysteria around COVID-19 and the Delta and Omicron variants.
Timing is Everything
In fact, as COVID-19 wanes in the population, and masking and testing requirements fade away, Putin mania—strictly from a messaging and propaganda perspective—seems to be well-timed. Polls reveal the Democrats are about to take a beating in the upcoming midterm elections over mismanagement of everything, but especially COVID-19. It seems they may have found a non-COVID variant that allows them to deploy the same old tricks. Call it the Putin Variant.
After all, if Americans have demonstrated anything over the past two years it is they will respond to fear-mongering on a mass scale.
Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine months after he’d seen the Biden Administration’s weakness with its disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, as well as soaring inflation.
The regime’s reaction to its failed domestic and foreign policies and declining favorability numbers is to roll out the Putin Variant. If you can’t beat a foreign adversary back through diplomacy and you don’t have the stomach to confront it through the potential use of military might, you can always fall back on scaring your own populace into keeping you in power.
The Putin Variant
Variant propaganda starts with announcing the threat and making sure every American knows that it will affect them. It continues with using the crisis to at once blame the circumstances themselves, not the cause of those circumstances, for domestic hardships. Americans will need to learn to suck it up without complaint while enduring rising gas and consumer prices because global democracy demands it. To complain or question the regime’s policies will be an act of selfishness and even treason. Questioning the underlying logic of our Ukraine policy will soon become as cancellable and hateful as it was to ask why we all have to wear masks.
Knowing that it has no plans to intervene militarily, and it is highly likely that Russia will take control of Ukraine, the regime makes a lot of noise on how all of its sanctions will work gradually and ultimately defeat Russia. This rhetorical strategy was last deployed through the emphasis on 100 percent masking and vaccination to achieve complete eradication and “zero COVID” status. The regime knew their measures would not deliver on their promises then, just as they know sanctions won’t eradicate Russian troops from Ukraine any time soon.
What they really care about is the midterms. They want to use the Putin Variant to win in November. They will use the threat of risks to global and national security to rally American voters behind anti-Russia Democrat candidates—the same ones who brought us here. They will try this even as they know they have no intentions of going to war. They just want voters to think they have the will.
As with the COVID response, they will attack anyone who questions their pro-war messaging as spreaders of “misinformation” who must be censored, banned, cancelled, and de-platformed.
The Putin Variant fits nicely with this strategy. Putin is, after all, a real person doing actually bad things. What the administration does not want Americans to know is what its own principals have done over the years to create an environment to embolden all that’s happening in Ukraine right now.
It’s almost akin to some American public health officials not wanting Americans to know much about their role in gain-of-function research in China and all of the public health devastation that followed.
Americans are afraid that what’s happening in Ukraine could threaten world peace and possibly lead to a nuclear World War III. This fear has existed since World War II in various ways. The challenge for the Democrats, if they want to win in November 2022, is how to exploit that fear while framing it anew. They are working to position themselves as the saviors who will prevent that war, all the while knowing they have every intention to back down from to the world’s tyrants.
They want to project strength while knowing they are weak. So, they draw on their recent experience, which projected disingenuous competency at managing a pandemic that they knew from the start was going to have to run its own course. Along the way, they learned how to create well-timed fear built on the original scare, and then a series of variants, to manipulate the narrative. That’s what they are doing now
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.