Putin’s Master Plan

Title:                      Putin’s Master Plan

Author:                 Douglas E. Schoen

Schoen, Douglas E (2016) with Evan Roth. Smith. Putin’s Master Plan : To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, And Restore Russian Power And Global Influence. New York: Encounter Books

LCCN:    2016002498

DK510.766.P87 S34 2016

Scope and content

  • “Vladimir Putin has a master plan to divide Europe, destroy NATO, reclaim Russian influence in the world, and most of all to marginalize the United States and the West in order to achieve regional hegemony and global power. Until now, Putin’s unified strategy and vision for Europe has not been thoroughly discussed or articulated in any meaningful way. Putin’s Master Plan is the first comprehensive attempt to systematically explain Putin’s global strategy that could inevitably and inexorably lead to the breakup of the NATO alliance and potentially to war with the West. The West has no strategy, no plan, and no tactics to confront Putin’s master plan other than limited economic sanctions which have done little to deter Putin’s aggression–and may well have encouraged and facilitated it. This is not just alarmism, but an accurate and for the first time clear, sober portrayal of a frightening situation that more and more serious observers of European and Russian politics are openly recognizing and acknowledging. Putin’s Master Plan makes the case that it is essential to wake up to Putin’s strategy to divide Europe, destroy NATO, and build a new empire in the former Soviet Union. Russia has demonstrated an extraordinary level of aggression, most boldly by its outright invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. Russia’s terrified neighbors have been left without an alternative to Russian domination by American weakness and a divided Europe, and even once-stalwart American allies such as Georgia are on the brink of becoming part of Putin’s new empire in Europe. Putin has made it clear that he sees NATO expansion as a fundamental threat to Russian nationhood, and he is systematically challenging the NATO Alliance as well as the United States. So far, he is winning”– Provided by publisher.


Date Posted:      March 6, 2017

Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[1]

A day or so after Soviet Communism collapsed into a pile of rubble, I had a phone chat with a long-time pal, Herbert Romerstein, who knew—and hated—Communism with a fervor unsurpassed in Washington (or perhaps anywhere else).

As dedicated Red-baiters, we gloated a few minutes, then Romerstein quietly opined, “Before we shall cheer. . . .”

I knew what he was thinking. Could a society constructed by a power-mad dictatorship undergo a permanent reformation? Or, in due course, could we expect more of the same from whoever ended up running Moscow?

The answer, via the book at hand, is one of the more frightening works I have read in years. It convincingly documents how Russian President Vladimir Putin is well into a planned power-grab that extends far beyond his stated goal of “restoring Russia as a player on the world stage.”

Shockingly, his on-going subversion of other states, including the military occupation of Crimea and portions of Ukraine, is going unchallenged save for fluttering dissents by such “leaders” as our soon to be former President Barack Obama.

Author Douglas E. Schoen is best known to the media as a Democratic campaign consultant and a co-inventor of overnight polling. His consulting also puts him into frequent contact with heads of state in more than a dozen countries. What he writes obviously reflects concerns he has heard around the world. Evan Roth Smith also has done extensive work abroad.

Mr. Schoen contends, convincingly, that Putin “has plunged Europe into a perilous state of conflict and turmoil not witnessed since the darkest days of the Cold War.”

He feels that Putin has no intention of “saving the west.” Rather, he “aims to shatter the internal European consensus that has brought about the longest period of peace and prosperity since the Roman Empire.” Anyone with the scantiest knowledge of European history surely recalls the blood that saturated the Continent during incessant wars waged by the likes of Napoleon, Bismarck, and Frederick the Great.

Mr. Schoen sees Putin as pursuing a “brand of neo-Tsarist authoritarianism,” bent on creating discord and distrust with the goal of disrupting NATO. The much-reduced American military presence in Europe is no solace. Indeed, he writes, “There are fewer American forces in Europe than there are cops in the NYPD.” And as the Obama Administration made repeated cuts, Putin was directing a 20-fold increase in Russian military spending.

Strikingly, no NATO allies—including the US—responded to Ukraine’s pleas for aids to ward off Russian incursions. “Ukraine had asked for arms, ammunition and intelligence support,” Mr. Schoen writes. Obama, instead, sent blankets and military prepared food (Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs). Scorn drips from Mr. Schoen’s pen as he writes, Ukraine “got chicken fajitas, and Putin ate Crimea for dinner.”

In another area, Putin seems to be dusting off an old KGB playbook in seeking out alliances with dissident factions in several European countries. In France, the LePin insurgency. In Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn. In Hungary, the far-right Jobbik Party, have denounced the US as “the deformed offspring of Europe.”

Astoundingly, Putin has encouraged breakaway factions that are attempting to have four states secede from the US. The New York Times reported in September on a Moscow workshop billed as “The Dialogue of Nations,” which attracted what reporter Neil MacFarquar saw as “an oddball, global troupe of liberation movements” from Iran, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Ireland and Catalonia. A fellow from “The Texas Nationalist Movement” said fellow citizens wanted the state “to express their own foreign policy.” A graphic on a Russian website displayed Texas’ beloved Lone Star flag cleaved away from banners of other states.[2]

In another not-so-subtle poke at the US, Putin in 2015 signed an economic pact with North Korea—$17 billion in aid, $10 billion in debt forgiveness, cash that enables the country to ignore UN sanctions because of its nuclear arming.

Oil profits gave Putin the financial sources for much of his meddling. Given that much of Europe depends upon Russia for energy, he has used oil as a weapon to compel compliance. “Black Gold Bullying,” Mr. Schoen termed this tactic.

Now that oil prices are in a global slump, the Russian economy has cratered. Birth rates are down, as are wages and the standard of living for the average citizen (members of Putin’s kleptocracy have no financial worries, to be sure).

So what should be done? Mr. Schoen would resume the deployment of bomber-borne nuclear weapons in NATO countries that would host them. He would scrap the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (which the Russians have flouted) and deploy land-based missiles.

So, what attitude will President Trump take towards Putin? Coming times, as is often said, could be mighty interesting.

[1] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 3 Winter 2016-17, pp. 107-108). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editions of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted in the Intelligencer by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012). The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

[2] See Neil MacFarquar, “Russia, Jailer of Local Separatists, Welcomes Foreign Secessionists,” The New York Times (September 25, 2016).

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