What Does Putin Want?

I assume Putin has strategic goals and chooses his weapons wisely.

I wanted a logical explanation for why Putin would choose
Information as a weapon of war.

I ran a search on Google and found the 2016 NATO Defense
College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare

It is exactly what I wanted.

After I read it I fully understood what the CIA means when it says
Russia hacked
the 2016 US election.

I also understood why some in the Intelligence Community
call it an act of war.

The most disturbing analyses in the handbook is the one that explains
why Putin chooses the media as his new battleground.

A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare
A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare

The attack is protracted and subtle.

People don’t realize they’re under attack until it’s too late.


A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare
A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare

Putin thinks he can use propaganda and media to deprive the United States
of sovereignty without the messy business of bombs and bloodshed.

A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare
A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare

Putin believes he can conquer the United States by convincing our people
to give themselves to him.

It’s up to #TheResistance to prove him wrong.

2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare




34 thoughts on “What Does Putin Want?

  1. Posting from the UK:
    This is another interesting and informative post which once more has induced me to reply, to add in a UK/European perspective:
    Firstly (and I’ve posted this before on other blogs) it is most interesting for an outsider to see the re-alignment in US opinions when it comes to Russia. Back in the 1950s the Right would be at best suspicious and worse horrified at any contact and the Left would see contact as a civil liberties issue, now the roles have changed. Yet the subject matter hasn’t…Russia after a brief period of complacency in the 1990s is now seen as a threat to the US.
    In the broad view of history this is predictable two very large states in close proximity as everything is these days are bound to have friction. And in the scheme of politics (I’m currently reading much on Late Middle Age Europe) it is the nature of nations to interfere in other nations’ business.
    When viewing today’s Russia, in the perspective of its history as a recognisable state (let’s say from the mid 1500s) I would suggest the term ‘Putin’s Russia’ needs to be adjusted to ‘Russia’s Putin’. In other words he is but another in a long line of ‘czars’ who viewed Russia’s role to expand. To the east for resources and the west to provide buffer states against invasion on her ‘natural borders’. Thus ‘Russia does’ as ‘Russia is’ and Putin is simply part of that ‘national conscious’. This does not mean Russian are aggressive and grabbing, defensive and very wary if not hostile to outsiders, maybe; again part of the history.
    So yes, it is to be expected that Russia by its very nature and the interaction of big-power politics would look to interfere in its ‘rival’s domestic affairs’….heck what would become Britain and what would become France were playing that game from 900 AD until 1815AD!
    The issue here is to question the judgement of the current Whitehouse Administration in their pre-election dealings with Russia; if these people were serious about presidential status, then they should have read up their history and started to distance themselves, not scramble about now in denial. They should also be taking a very mature and nuanced view to Russia’s motivations, unless of course they want to go into complete euro-isolationist shut down and concentrate on the Pacific and what China’s intentions are (back in the early to mid-20th century delete ‘China’ and insert ‘Japan’).
    Those who blindly support the administration and deny any Russian interference are as blinkered as any European ‘old school’ left-wing party whose members denied the USSR would do anything bad; that still continues by the way- The ‘it’s all America’s fault syndrome’
    You as American citizens are right to express concern; true you won’t be ‘overrun’ by Russian armed forces, but in one way your government will find Russia could end up calling some of the shots.
    To conclude at the risk of sounding cynical (which I deny)- I’m not surprised at Russia’s moves and quite frankly it’s what the people of a nation would expect from its government.


    1. This is an excellent analyses. This historical context is important. Russia’s intervention in the U.S. election is not especially troubling because, as you say, all nations act in their own interest. What bothers me is the collusion of the GOP leadership. If we can believe the public evidence, Trump and his team and the GOP congress are engaged in acts of treason against the Constitution of the United States. Any American who is not bothered by these alle3gations doesn’t understand human history or the importance of our Democracy to the evolution of human rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Robert.
        I agree with you that if this issue is not addressed full on by the Republican leadership they could find problems and people will start invoking ‘Watergate’; this then leads to all manner of ‘sticks’ which they will be used to beat them; some valid others opportunist, but nonetheless will not help the stability of the current administration. What they seemed to have missed that in a democracy a controversial leader winning by a narrow margin needs to go onto a ‘charm offensive’ straight away to win over the middle ground of those who voted against them. Circling the wagons doesn’t help.
        Of course the other whispered discussion in GOP corridors will be ‘Is The President disposable? If so, when?’
        To look back at some of the turbulent periods in these Isles during the Late Middle Ages even then ‘public opinion’ albeit in the shape of a mob has had an effect on the government.
        And in the US you have your written constitution which has its own momentum.
        Meanwhile in the UK we approach Brexit with classic bombast mixed with ‘muddling through’; if it wasn’t for the increase in hate-crime it would be quite funny…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I trace the current dilemma to a fundamental misunderstanding of Reagan’s ‘victory’ over the former Soviet Union.

        Conservatives immediately seized on it as a validation of Capitalism when in fact it was the victory of the idea of human rights over a repressive and oppressive dictatorship.

        Without our stand for human rights the U.S. just another Nation with a rigid and oppressive class system.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One of their biggest mistakes was to assume they had won ‘the war’. ‘The War’ is never won, it only ceases when co-operation replaces rivalry. And only when there is co-operation and no perceived outside threat will the leaders find they have no reason to impose on the people.
        Strategically the US governments were undeservedly triumphalist over Russia; bad move with Russia, any good history of the nation and its rulers would have told them that; communism soviet-style was but another type of czarist regime.
        The ‘war’ is far from played out.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Excellent point!

        There are no decisive wins.

        Historically, the fascist impulse is stronger than the intellectual principle of progressive social evolution.

        I suspect that fascism is a more instinctive form of social organization for out species.

        Progressives must learn how to unite around common principles and stop playing celebrity politics.

        When we lose to fascists the people we say we represent suffer and die.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You have made a very cogent point when referring to ‘celebrity politics’; it’s nothing new, but it has taken centre stage and nudge valid arguments into a corner.
        The danger is that a ‘strong’ government will always seem attractive. It sounds protective and stable. But that is based on a premise that everyone in the government machine is blessed with a sound, unbiased, mature, focused, just, rational approach which is tempered by compassion, respect and a modicum of tolerance is where by own idealistic idea of very left-wing socialist government just falls apart like sandcastles when the tide comes in).
        Thus it can be said Democracy is a flawed form of government but all the alternatives are so much worse.
        ‘Brave New World’, ‘1984’ and the lesser known SF novel ‘The Joy Makers’ are examples of the warnings when things slip too far.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I define a strong government as one that uses the economic system as a tool for promoting class mobility, the rule of law and equal access to essential life sustaining services such as medical care and education.

        There was a brief period after World War 2 when the U.S. found the perfect balance by regulating capitalism to prevent the kind of excess that lead to the great depression in the U.S. and fascism
        in Germany. .

        A hungry, uneducated man is not free.

        Those who define freedom as the right to bleed the people for cheap labor and maximum profit promote economic tyranny.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I agree wholeheartedly. Which ever side of the political divide, the most just approach is to have a measure of government oversight for the good and protection of the ordinary person.
        It is a very difficult balancing act; in fact never is that word more apt

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course it may be that Putin is destabilising the US so they won’t be able
    ( or with Trump just won’t) to come to the aid of Europe as Russian troops on the borders with Europe make their move. Russia never liked losing it’s satellite states and would like them back.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Rob,

    Right on!

    And it is so frustrating to watch republicans seeming to think they have all the time in the world to do a serious investigation. Republicans in the US House Ways and Means Committee have it within their power to order DT’S taxes but they are refusing to act.

    They are placing the interests of their party before doing what is right.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Rob,

        The State Department is being gutted. I was watching the Rachel Maddow show. Three Top level people are being let go and there is no push back about 37% budget cut. Press is not allowed to ask questions?

        At this point, I can’t answer your question.It is being compromised. I don’t see the outrage from his fellow republicans.The Democrats on the intelligence committee can order DT’s tax returns and I hope they are going to act. On March 20, they are going to be conducting an open meeting with all of DT’s team who have had contact with Russian officials. We shall see and continue to resist.

        Hugs, Gronda

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:

    Warfare has taken on many personae throughout history, from the spears, shields and swords used in ancient Greece and Rome to the hydrogen bomb used by the U.S. to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. More recently, the world has seen the ‘new and improved’ version of nuclear weapons, though thankfully they have not been used to eradicate cities or nations … yet. But it may well be that nuclear weapons are not needed to wreak havoc and cause mass destruction. Perhaps all that is needed is … a computer? Today I am sharing a comprehensive post by fellow-blogger and friend, Robert Goldstein who has done a great deal of research and his post deserves … nay, NEEDS … to be read and pondered on by us all. Please take a few moments to check out his post, and also some of his links. If you have been following the news about the Russian government hacking the DNC in order to manipulate our elections, you will find this post chilling. Thank you, Robert, for the hard work you put into this, and for generously permitting me to share it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rob, in my view, Putin could not have had the American election play out better than it did. He sowed chaos in getting the most unqualified person to become President who in six weeks has made the world less safe and diminished America’s standing in the eyes of the world. He also sowed doubt. He likely did the same influencing Brexit, which will harm the UK and EU for years. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Putin is moving into the second phase of his propaganda attack which is when his operatives lower our defenses.

      Note that ‘Wikileaks’ has recently ‘discovered’ that our CIA has sophisticated hacking tools

      But our IC need those tools because Russia has turned the Internet into a battlefield.

      The real issue is whether we have laws in place to protect us from breaches of privacy and whether those laws are being enforced.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Rob, if you think about it, the internet hacking is ideally suited for a KGB trained leader who has few morals. He would be an actual villain in a James Bond movie, seeking world influence through hacking and propaganda. The sad part is even James Bond cannot stop this master manipulator. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The most disturbing part of this is how successful Putin has been, and how many congresspeople have willingly sided with him. We know Putin has been interfering with our elections, and yet they support his puppet anyway. That’s treason.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Putin’s battle plans are long range and involve infiltrating all levels of the target State. This means he has operatives in media and in government. It sounds like a spy fantasy except that we can see it happening with our own eyes. But because the weapon is a ubiquitous part everyday fact of life, Americans can’t quite grasp that we are under attack. The recent Wikileaks dump is another round of fire in Putin’s propaganda war. Of course our CIA has sophisticated hacking tools. So does Russia. His goal is to breed more mistrust of our own media and Intelligence Community and to distract us from the fact that sophisticated hacking tools are already deployed against us by the Kremlin.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If this is a concerted strategy by Putin then its implementation has been inspired. First mess with US politics to get Trump elected, then make sure your involvement is known, to at least half of your enemy. And finally just sit back and wait to see the US pull itself apart. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s an idea that the Kremlin has had decades to refine. The first instance of the use of mass media to influence public opinion was Nazi Germany. In the 30’s it was the radio.

      Radio broadcasts played a major part in the Nazi propaganda machine. In an era before mass television, radio, newspapers and cinema all played their part in putting over to the public Hitler’s messages. Propaganda was placed in the hands of Joseph Goebbels and it was his idea to make cheap radios available to the German public.

      Goebbels believed that radio was the most effective way of putting over a message. The public had to leave home to go to the cinema while some simply did not read a newspaper and Goebbels was less confident that newspapers were the perfect form of spreading the message.

      And you are quite right. Either way this goes Putin wins. Unless the people and our government suddenly understand that we’re at war and take steps to neutralize the weapon.



      1. Yes, Goebbels was a genius when it came to propaganda. He knew just which strings to pull and which fears to stoke. I sincerely hope some commonsense prevails in the US, and at the moment that means the Republicans. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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