Is Washington Full of Dunces?
Rush to proclaim Russian civil war is latest example of so-called political experts being wrong about everything.
By JOHN LEAKE
On Saturday I read reports that Yevgeny Prigozhin—a prominent St. Petersburg restaurateur, oligarch, mercenary, and Wagner Group director—was leading a mutiny against his old friend, Vladimir Putin, and marching on Moscow like Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon in 49 B.C. and marching on Rome.
My first thought was that Prigozhin and his men had embarked on a Quixotic and theatrical adventure that would—for reasons known only to the Putin government—be tolerated to a certain point. Progozhin made a bunch of blustery remarks and Putin accused him of treason. But then, the next day it was reported that the charges were dropped and Wagner quit marching to Moscow. Prigozhin moved to Belarus and the Wagner soldiers headed back to Ukraine.
My intuition that Prigozhin’s stunt was NOT the beginning of a Russian civil war was NOT shared by U.S. government and mainstream media commentators, who rushed to proclaim that the alleged mutiny was the beginning of the end for Putin.
Journalist Max Blumenthal just catalogued all of the Inside the Beltway knuckleheads who proclaimed that the “Russian Civil War” was the real deal and that Vladimir Putin was on the ropes. I found Blumenthal’s account of Ian Bremmer especially notable:
Ian Bremmer, the Peter Hotez of international relations
As president of the Eurasia Group risk analysis firm, political scientist Ian Bremmer has leveraged his supposed expertise into a lucrative business.
Bremmer recently weighed in in defense of the absurdly double-talking pediatrician and pundit Peter Hotez, defending his decision not to debate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Covid-related issues on the grounds that Hotez was a credentialed expert, and RFK Jr. was not. “It would be like me debating elon [Musk] on electric vehicles. Or him debating me on international relations,” Bremmer argued, asserting his own superior credentials. “There’s no value added.”
During the events of June 23, Bremmer joined the rest of the Beltway expert class in predicting imminent doom for Putin. “wagner territorial gains in russia dramatically faster than in ukraine,” Bremmer wrote in a viral post seen by more than 1 million Twitter users. Moments later, he joked that “ukraine has run out of popcorn,” implying that Kiev was eagerly preparing for Russia’s collapse.
I wonder how many prominent American commentators Inside the Beltway know anything about Russia. How many of them speak Russian well, have lived in Russia for several years, and had close friendships with Russians?
Thinking about expert Dunces prompted me to do a Google search on famously stupid things proclaimed by experts over the years, and I stumbled across these quotes, which I found very funny.