**The Unfolding Drama of Prigozhin’s Mutiny: An Interview with Gregory F. Treverton**
*Examining the Risk and Motivation Behind Prigozhin’s Actions*
When news broke of Yevgeny V. Prigozhin’s mutiny and the actions taken by his Wagner Group mercenaries, national security scholar Gregory F. Treverton was intrigued. He questioned the risks involved and wondered if Prigozhin’s actions were driven by ambition, fear, or desperation. As the incident unfolded, Treverton suspected that it wouldn’t be the end of the story.
*Putin’s Isolation and the US Attitude*
Treverton addresses the attitudes of the US towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. Initially, there was cooperation between the US and Russia, with Putin even being the first world leader to call President George W. Bush on 9/11. However, over time, Putin became increasingly isolated and distrusting of the US, believing that NATO was encircling Russia. Despite his negative traits, Treverton emphasizes the need to deal with Putin and not underestimate his power.
*The Concerns About Putin’s Isolation and Power*
The isolation of Putin raises concerns about the advice he receives and the reliability of the information on which he bases his actions. Treverton highlights the danger of having someone detached from reality in a world with nuclear weapons. The US would ideally prefer someone else in power, as Putin has not revitalized the Russian economy as hoped. The US had mixed feelings during the Prigozhin mutiny, preferring Putin to remain in power, but also wanting to ensure that he didn’t “win” and that he ultimately stepped down.
*The US Response and Fear of Chaos*
Treverton discusses the US government’s response to the Prigozhin affair, emphasizing that they had no involvement and weren’t seeking regime change or the destruction of Russia. The fear of chaos in Russia was a key concern. While the removal of Putin may have paved the way for a potential resolution to the Ukraine war, the prospect of chaos, lawlessness, and a nuclear-armed country in disarray kept the US up at night.
*The Future of Russia and the Implications of the War*
Treverton concludes by stating that the ongoing war in Ukraine has taken a toll on Russia. Its military resources have been depleted, there has been an exodus of talented individuals, and the economy has been heavily sanctioned. The lasting impact of the war is a cause for concern, as it is unlikely to improve the situation in Russia.
In interview with Gregory F. Treverton, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council in the Obama administration, highlights the complexity of the US response to the mutiny led by Yevgeny V. Prigozhin and his Wagner Group mercenaries. Treverton raises questions about the motivations behind Prigozhin’s actions and discusses the US attitude towards Putin. He also emphasizes the dangers of Putin’s isolation and detachment from reality in a world with nuclear weapons. The US government’s response and fear of chaos in Russia are explored, along with the future implications of the war on Russia.