By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
Former Russian grandmaster and chess world champion, Gary Kasparov, has called Russian President Vladimir Putin “the most dangerous man in the world,” in an interview with Yahoo News. He also said that Putin is “a greater threat than the Islamic State” to the world and that such a course away from Russia was a “distraction” from the greater threat.
At the end of last month, President Putin warned Ukraine against implementing its trade pact with the EU.
Here are some interesting quotes and thoughts from a man who was arguably the best chess player in history and who is now a chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, a political analyst and pro-democracy activist. In regards to Ukraine and Russia’s recent developments at present and this past year:
“Putin cannot be defeated militarily.”
“ISIS can be won on the ground. If America decides to eliminate ISIS, they’ll turn them into dust within 24 hours.”
“Putin is a permanent threat…It is a more complicated strategy. ISIS is like a hydra. If you eliminate ISIS there will be another ISIS…you know exactly where the money comes from. So you can go after Qatar and Saudi Arabia…you can create a coalition that will eventually squeeze ISIS.”
“”Putin is a great beneficiary because everybody talks about ISIS.”
“Russia is second nuclear power in the world. He has thousands of nuclear warheads. And I would not be surprised if he starts blackmailing the world with a nuclear Armageddon.”
“He [Putin] is playing the same game. He can take one step back, but eventually it will be followed by two steps forward.”
“It’s not a game of chess. It’s not the game where you can apply rules.”
“From Putin’s perspective, it’s more like poker.”
“He’s always testing the will of his opponents. He found out there’s been little resistance on the opposite side.”
“Definitely he’s going to gain some more ground.”
“They’ve been able to differentiate between words and actions.”
Regarding the Obama Administration, as far as actions: “none.”
“They [the U.S.] are reluctant to supply Ukraine with weapons.”
“The biggest wars began with small accidents.”
“Putin’s behavior is aimed at destroying the world’s security.” His aim is to create “global instability” in order to hold on to power. “For him there is no life if he loses power.”
“Putin’s only goal is to stay in power. He always has to come out with a new thought…It requires certain skills that are not natural with a democratic leader…”
“He always has to demonstrate his ability. He always has to demonstrate his strength.”
“He needs something to replace economy.”
“Yes, I think he’s popular but it’s virtually impossible to measure popularity” in the atmosphere of a propaganda machine state. Numbers are inflated and there is resistance to some of his policy actions or war. This is seen in protests through Moscow, for example.
Putin has “a message of two angels: one is to Obama and the other is to the Russian people.”
To the Russian elites, Kasparov explains Putin’s thinking: “Just wait. Winter is coming. They will blink and we’ll get what we need.”
Many suspect that Russia will shut down the gas pipeline to Europe this winter to scare the Europeans into capitulating to his demands and lessoning sanctions but Kasparov believes that if Europe can keep economic sanctions and even impose stronger ones against Russia until March 2015, that will have a big impact on hurting the regime and the dictatorship of Putin.
What about the long-term? Wither Russia in five to ten years with the collapse of the Putin regime? One of the more interesting things that Kasparov discussed was the collapse of Putin being worse than the collapse of the Soviet Union having far greater consequences. Taking him more seriously is never too late but America and Europe are well behind the curve.