Has Vladimir Putin Gone Crazy or is He Playing the West?

As Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine nears a week of savage fighting, experts are asking whether the Russian leader has gone insane or is manipulating the West with a hidden strategy.

At this time, Ukraine has been boosted in Western media, partly to encourage recruitment and rally Ukrainians to defend their country.

Russia is not doing as poorly as western media outlets say, nor is it doing as well as Putin says.

The truth is this war is only now entering a second chapter, which is likely to be even more brutal. As a 25-mile column of tanks and soldiers approaches Kiev, the world is holding its breath and Ukraine is demanding a no-fly zone from NATO.

The question remains: does Putin really have a plan or has he lost the plot?

Is Putin Crazy?

Putin rose up the ranks as a KGB agent in East Germany during communism.

He became the leader of Russia through ruthless intelligence and strategy. There is no credible expert who would ever claim Putin is stupid.

Putin moved against the Republic of Georgia in 2008, in which he seized South Ossetia and Abkhazia and recognized their Russian-backed independence.

Then, in 2014, his forces swarmed Crimea, rapidly voting on joining Russia and annexing the strategically vital area under Moscow’s control. These were both bold, brazen moves.

Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine on February 24 has some questioning where his strategic thinking has gone.

His speech justifying the invasion was disjointed and bizarre, with angry denunciations of Ukraine as being run by “Nazis” and other untrue claims. The invasion itself has also not gone well for Russia, with fierce resistance from Ukrainians.

Now, photos are coming out of Putin talking with advisors separated by a large distance from him at a conference table. Are we seeing a dictator in decline, or is Putin intentionally stoking fears that he’s become a madman to scare and manipulate the West?

Putin’s Nuclear Threats

One thing which has many questioning where Putin’s head is at is his terrifying nuclear threats. He first threatened any countries who get involved with consequences they’ve never seen in their “history.”

More recently, several days ago, he announced Russia’s nuclear readiness was up to one level higher because of western threats against him.

As sanctions destroy the Russian ruble and Russia’s economy, it’s hard to know just how far he could go with this. For his part, Joe Biden said he has “no idea” if Putin plans to hit the US with a nuclear strike.

Making this more worrisome, Putin talked about what would happen in a nuclear war in the past; he said Russians would go straight to heaven as “martyrs” in that event.

Putin believes Russians are God’s chosen people. Russia also has a dead hand switch so even if the entire country is destroyed, numerous nukes will still launch to destroy enemies.

This is the talk of a fanatic, certainly, but is it the talk of a clinically insane person?

Putin is Not Crazy

The truth is Putin is not crazy. He is a fanatic and a Russian supremacist, but he is not crazy.

Nonetheless, he has gone so far this time that walking back from the edge is going to get harder and harder for his ego and for his nation.