“An urgency… driven by personal factors”

Another first-rate article by Fiona Hill, this time in Politico. The quote below may sound peripheral to Hill’s insight but is it really?

And Putin’s not looking so great, he’s been rather puffy-faced. We know that he has complained about having back issues. Even if it’s not something worse than that, it could be that he’s taking high doses of steroids, or there may be something else. There seems to be an urgency for this that may be also driven by personal factors.

Compare this with two recent tweets by Sen. Marco Rubio, vice-chairman of the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence:

I wish I could share more,but for now I can say it’s pretty obvious to many that something is off with Putin.

He has always been a killer, but his problem now is different & significant.

It would be a mistake to assume this Putin would react the same way he would have 5 years ago.

Unless I’m mistaken, Rubio has access to classified intelligence thanks to his position on the Senate committee.

Let me stress again that we are NOT dealing with 2008 Putin.

It is a grave error to assume he will make the same calculations & decisions today that he would have made in the past.

The old Putin was a cold blooded but calculating killer.

This new Putin is even more dangerous.

I also recommend this Twitter thread by N. N. Taleb. An extract:

Steroids cd be more likely:

+ Produce exactly this facial puffiness

+ Needs to sit remotely because lower immunity (see meetings)

+ Irritability (cf Security meeting, threats)

Recall Pompidou’s last days.

In July 2021, I said Putin was showing “signs of debilitating senility and of losing his grip on reality.” Perhaps I was right then.

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