Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West

Events continue to unfold as many of us had foreseen. It took no genius, no great foresight, no great Nostradamus powers to understand what would happen when a man as lacking in basic knowledge, leadership and managerial skills as Obama became President of the United States. It, furthermore, did not take much wisdom or witchcraft to divine that a man so full of conventional leftist thinking and upbringing would find it impossible to learn on the job to defend US core interests. He has never had those interests at heart, and instead has trusted a glib teleprompter, a guilt-shamed media, and a ruthless unethical approach to life to guide him through the political nights and storms.

We now see the crisis in Ukraine. A couple of days ago, Obama boldly told us that the invasion of Ukraine had put Putin "on the wrong side of history." Says who? And who writes the history of an era? The winners or the losers? These are the kind of maddening, empty-calorie phrases that sound good and tough and gutsy and erudite coming off of some speechwriter's printer, but sound pathetic and laughable uttered when confronting a guy at the head of a tank column.

Time to face facts. None of Obama's supposed "talents" works when dealing with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the Shining Shooting Tsar of Eurasia--arguably the smartest national leader in the world. Let me back up. "Smartest" might be the wrong word. Yes, it definitely is the wrong one. That word is too loosely defined and too easily pinned on too many. What makes Putin successful and such a formidable geopolitical foe (thank you, Mitt Romney) is not that he is just "smart," but that he is a throw-back to a different era. He hunts and fishes, and doesn't care about the political fashion and sensitivities of the day; pajama boy has no place in Putin's cage fighter universe. Despite his upbringing as a Communist, he is now devoutly religious and wants to see religion restored to Russian life. As the jihadis have discovered, they have in Putin a rival as ruthless and religiously committed as they, and not bound by the conventions of political correctness.

Putin is a man of hard-work, careful preparation, an avid student of potential opponents, willing to exploit opportunities, and, above all, driven by a vision on his mission: restoring Russia to the top ranks of the world hierarchy. He is determined to end what he sees as the world's mistreatment of and disregard for Russia. He saw the condescending manner in which Clinton and other world leaders treated the amiable sclerotic alcoholic Boris Yeltsin, who named Putin Prime Minister in 1999. Putin will not allow that again. He wants his legacy to be the man who restored Russia's greatness and made the world recognize it.

Let's sum up this part of the post:

Putin is a patriot; Obama is not.
Putin has a deep understanding of his country's history and people; Obama does not.
Putin wants his country to be number one; Obama could not care less.
Putin knows that words have meaning; Barack "Red Line" Obama hasn't a clue.
Putin has Lavrov; Obama has Kerry.
Advantage Putin.

There is an old Spanish saying, "Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos." It very roughly translates to "Misery loves company," but more dramatic and evocative, more along the lines of "The misery of the many is the consolation of the foolish." Given that we have a foolish misadministration in DC, perhaps Mr. Obama can draw solace from the fact that he is not the only fantasy player "confronting" Putin. More bluntly put, what's the best place to hide a fool? In a herd of fools. A needle in a stack of needles.

Obama's foreign policy guru, John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry expressed his outrage over recent Russian actions in Ukraine as follows,
You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped up pre-text . . .
Wow! If that doesn't sting Putin into a moody bout of Dostoevsky-like reflection, I don't know what will. He has accused Putin of not being of this century! Alas! John "I Marry Rich Ones" Kerry doesn't understand that Putin takes that as a compliment. Putin doesn't necessary like the way the 21st century was set to go, and is doing what he can to reroute it. By the way, Mr. John "I Speak French" Kerry, who says that in the 21st century you don't invade another country for whatever pretext? Where is that written, and who enforces it? If that were the case, none of us would need a military. No? Sort of makes the argument for a healthy nuclear deterrent, eh? You know like the one Ukraine gave up in exchange for assurances that its sovereignty would be respected by Russia and guaranteed by the West.

Wait, my fine friends. The lunacy gets even more, well, lunatic. Our fearless Ambassador to the UN, Samantha "I Hate Israel" Power sent out the following sweet Twitter Tweet on March 3,
There is a way out: must directly dialogue with , immediately pull back forces, and allow international monitors.
Bang! Gotcha Vlad! Bet you never thought of that! Just declare "Oops!" pull back your commandos and soldiers, and allow in international monitors. Dear Ambassador, do you think that maybe, just maybe, Putin sent his forces in for a reason? Or do you think it was accidental?

Ah, but the idiocy is not restricted to this side of the Atlantic. Angela Merkel, at times a reasonable person, showed she is not immune to Mind Sapping Disease (MSD) which has afflicted nearly all Western leaders. According to a NYT report,
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said.
Putin not in touch with reality, eh? One wonders who is out of touch. Again, we see the harkening to an imaginary world, a world that exists only in the minds of the leftist loons who run the West these days, and who think that the nature of man and the essence of successful foreign policy have undergone some radical transformation.

We could go and on. 

Let's just say that we have on our hands a New Old Russia. Blah, blah, wishes, and pink unicorns will not cut it. On paper, Russia is not strong compared to the West. The West should be able to handle Russia relatively easily. Russia, however, has one big advantage. Russia has leadership, a determined leadership not afraid to make decisions and act. That compensates for several orders of economic and technological inferiority. The West has, well, you know what the West has, and it ain't good.

Pajama Boy will not do well in the Cage.

64 comments:

  1. You haven't shared your Lavrov story.

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    1. Thinking about it, but I don't want him showing up at my house with 300 Spetsnaz.

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    2. What if Putin decides to show up to prevent you from telling the story?

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    3. No Worries. If Lavrov and his goons show up, I'm sure Dear Leader will send out a stinging tweet!

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    4. No need to worry, our government protects its diplomats, Well, most of the time.... Rest assured they won't let it happen again. :-/


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  2. Dead straight on.
    "There is a way out: #Russia must directly dialogue with #Ukraine, immediately pull back forces, and allow international monitors. " Apparently Powers thinks they only need to follow the bread crumbs.
    The one thing you didn't mention was Hillary calling the Russians Nazis. The Dems have used that insult domestically so many times that it's lost any meaning to them, but the Russians and Putin (who lost a brother in Leningrad I think) know exactly what it means and they will never forgive or forget.

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  3. I have always considered it axiomatic that, in any debate on any subject once you play the 'Nazi Card' you have tacitly conceded defeat. The other losing card is of course the 'Racist!' Card but that does not apply here.

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  4. We are going to Tweet Vlad into submission, tovarich?
    Why don't we trade him a care of vodka for Kiev?
    These people are completely mad , do they think Vlad is the prime minister of Belgium?

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  5. I won't say Putin is mad, as Merkel implied, but I do think it worrisome that he seems enamored of this wacky Eurasianist ideology. Combine that with someone not afraid to use power, and you've got a very dangerous situation on your hands for the next several years.

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    1. He loves this wacky Eurasianist ideology because it may be useful to him.

      Does he actually believe in it? Most men in his position don't even have strong opinions on such abstract matters--why should he?

      Should it be advantageous to shrug it off, and later (when advantageous) to put it back on, lather, rinse, repeat any number of times--well, even if he does so as sincerely as we can tell, he would still have lots of predecessors.

      But yes, you've got a very dangerous situation on your hands indefinitely.

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    2. How Eurasianist Putin madness is different from
      North American Union?

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    3. Joanna, North American Union??

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    4. I do not know much about this "Eurasianist ideology", but my casual reading of it in the past few days makes me think it is an outgrowth of the old Russian version of Panslavism. Rejection of the West, Slavs have a unique history and culture and should reject anything not rooted in that uniqueness, Salv solutions for Slavs, it seems very similar. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.

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    5. James, Panslavism was the theme of one of my college courses when I was at the University of Graz way back before the planet cooled. The text book was called "Nationalism in Eastern Europe" by Sugar & Lederer 1969. This course went country by country of then Soviet dominated Eastern Europe as well as a few neighbors too close for comfort. I haven't seen "Panslavism" used in years. Nothing is new, just recycled or repurposed.

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    6. I'm not so sure that Merkel meant that Putin is mad when she said he is "in another world". I think she may have meant that he is seeing the world differently than her (and presumably most of the leaders of the West). But who is to say whose world view is more in line with the way the world really works? In that respect I would put my put my money on Putin. Obama, Kerry, et al are the ones that I think are living in fantasy.

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    7. @whitewall,
      I was actually answering a6z's post above.
      Putin's idea (to form Eurasianist union) is actually more achievable than North American Union agreement being tweeked last month by kerry john person.
      To be honest with you, panslavism was DOA idea born in academic intellectuals, never taken root in any of the countries, being only some full utopian idea among people with way too much money and way too much time on their hands.None of them could control the own tribes within their own country, never mind cooperate with others.
      ... ' in the interest of Europe and humanity' (paraphrasing)
      sounded as good back when, as global warming now days...


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    8. Joanna,

      I find that if I wish to reply to a specific person, a direct reference to that person's "handle" best draws his attention. Observe (to see a master at work) how this message begins with your handle, "Joanna".

      In answer to what I take to be your question, Eurasianist Putin madness is different from the North American Union in that (1) the former is a real ideology and the latter is a hypothetical business arrangement, (2) the former (ideology) explicitly rejects liberty and democracy, and is soft on gulags, whereas the latter is classical-liberal, (3) the former is being used already as political cover for conquest of one nation by another, whereas the use of the latter for even the mildest sorts of aggression is difficult--well, difficult for me--to conceive. There are probably other important differences too, but these will do to start with.

      I hope you find this reply satisfactory and look forward to hearing back from you.

      Cordially,
      Dr. z

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    9. Whitewall-

      My exposure to Panslavism came in the mid-1990's at U of Kansas studying under Piekalkiewicz, he was very interested in the sudden resurgence of nationalist movements in the former East Bloc and was trying to draw parallels to previous movements. Back then, we were all into trying to figure out Pamyat and Zhirinovsky (which given the flow of history was a total waste of time trying to read those tea leaves) and the emerging Orthodox Church...Pobedonostsev and Panslavism were good starting points to try and game out what might come next. And Putin is starting to strike me as a student of Pobedonostsev.

      (There is apparently more then one "James" in this thread.)

      -The Other James

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  6. If we have an inept leader, it's because we have been breeding inept people the last few generations.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/n...-us-sanctions/

    “We would find a way not just to reduce our dependency on the United States to zero but to emerge from those sanctions with great benefits for ourselves,” Glazyev said, adding that Russia could stop using dollars for international transactions.

    “An attempt to announce sanctions would end in a crash for the financial system of the United States, which would cause the end of the domination of the United States in the global financial system.”

    Leaperman

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  7. Ow Ow Ouch, DAMMIT Man... The truth hurts ya know?! As always, I find your review spot on and thus your efforts(and insight!), are very appreciated!

    Would you be willing to posit what the payoff is for Russia/Putin in this endeavor? Resources? Access? Same ol same ol? How does Ukraine fit into Russian ascendancy?
    I have not seem anyone address this. I would REALLy like YOUR opinion on it. Regardless of what actually/ultimately transpires there.

    Thanks again!
    ~Jryk;)

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    1. Russia does not want Nato or overtly pro-western countries on its borders. It is what I call the Putin Corollary to the Brezhnev Doctrine. In addition, Russia sees itself as the protector of the Russians and the Slavs, in general, from the West and Islam.

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    2. I suspect industrial capacity and access to the Black Sea also have a lot to do with it. Not to mention the ethnic angle...unite all Russian people into a Russian state.

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    3. Mr. M.,

      I respectfully demur. Only the appeasers asked why Hitler (for instance) wanted (say) Czechoslovakia, particularly, even though there are attractive answers like the Skoda works. Because Hitler didn't want Czechoslovakia particularly: it was just next. He wanted, as most great powers want most of the time, what's available at a reasonable price.

      Just so (Godwin forgive me) of Putin. He's no Hitler and ultimately he faces constraints (we hope) that Hitler didn't; but he wants what's available at a reasonable price.

      First, a sphere of influence to the exclusion of NATO or the EU (unless he can get them to admit Russia, which I wish were as silly as it sounds).

      After that--well, what will then be available at a reasonable price?

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    4. re: "After that--well, what will then be available at a reasonable price?"

      The oil fields and natural gas fields of the middle east? Russia could join with China and cut the world in half, invading down into Egypt. The only thing standing in the way is Israel.

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    5. The Russian national security equation underwent a horrific change, in their eyes,when the USSR collapsed and to be honest it did - Russia's adversaries now sit about 1,000 miles closer to Moscow and there's no geographic speed bump to slow them down. Of course, the Russians want to expand their influence westward - it makes perfect geopolitical sense, if you look at the map. We keep pushing NATO to create what that boob, Lindsay Graham, called a "ring of democracy" to block Russia, but at some point we've got to quit pushing . We're still stuck in the Cold War era mentality too.

      All the overblown rhetoric misses the legitimate interest Russia has in Crimea - with their Black Sea Fleet there and large numbers of ethnic Russians. We fail to look at other countries' points of view and frankly, we rush to support protestors for "freedom" without knowing anything about the various protestors, if they have any political savvy to run the government, or even what "freedom" means to people who are used to living in a very corrupt society and living a subsidized existence from government hand-outs. Putin at least knows what's in Russia's national interests and he acts. We've got a Gumby for a leader - a useless glob of clay, who can be rolled over. After the Syria escapade, Lavrov and Putin already know the deal with Kerry and Obama.

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    6. Spot on, we're to quick to support fighting factions we know little about, and Crimea is a perfectly sensible place for Putin to want to secure. In the face of a potential national uprising in Ukraine, he did what any responsible leader would do in his shoes - secure his warm water port.

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  8. What's Russia's problem, anyway, and how can they fix it? Why didn't the Yeltsin era capitalism succeed? Too much, too soon after decades of commie brainwashing? What would you do in Putin's shoes?

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    1. Why didn't Yeltsin capitalism succeed? Well, no experience with such an economy as the State controlled everything prior. In addition, the west sent too many Keynesian type economists which confused things. Should have sent some Austrian School economists to begin developing a bottom up political economy. And this was just day one. Putin is a dictator and not into building from a firm base.

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    2. Very true. Limited democracy was the goal, but unfortunately it led to the people they elected as being the same fucks as got them and KEPT them in in the mess.
      leaperman

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    3. Dear Mr. Mous,

      Does Russia have a problem?

      Russia is a major power again. That's on the plus side.

      The Russian people, and even more Russia's minorities, have suffered great privation (not to mention mass murder) under the tsars, especially the red ones, and including the current shooting one, so that's on the minus side.

      The latter seems like a problem to me ... but I'm not the president of Russia. Didn't elect him, either.

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    4. Mr. Wall and Mr. Man,

      I respectfully doubt that experience was a critical factor--after all, every free country started freedom with no experience of freedom--or that the mix of advice (don't worry, there were free-marketers there too) had much effect.

      Yeltsin's government didn't begin by creating reliable law and legal institutions. They are the sine qua non of all freedom.

      This was not an accident. Reliable law and legal institutions are a constraint on government, and governors of Communist provenance are not likely to approve of that kind of thing.

      Also, brave, honest policemen and judges and witnesses--brave enough to stand up to gangs and maybe death--were in short supply. The culture that produces them had been deliberately dismantled and could not have been recreated quickly by the most freedom-minded government, had there been such.

      In short, Communism not only blasts everything in sight, it salts the earth so that nothing can grow afterward.

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    5. Easy. Because every factory, everything of value in Russia was in the hands of Communist robber barons. The Communists who were managing the factories in Brejenev and Gobachev times were in ideal positions to buy them for a fraction of their value. In fact they were in ideal position for running them into the ground so strawmen could buy them for cheap.

      Russia should have endeavored a massive purge of Communists before moving to capitalism. That was a requirement for success.

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    6. Good comments above on why the robber barons defeated free-market capitalism in Russia. I was there for the first few years. A few things that stood out to me and anyone else watching in the early 1990s:

      There appeared to be no effort to purge communists from the bureaucracy. Communist party members were only about 10 percent of the population. The bureaucracy was massive and completely disfunctional (think Washington today).

      Efforts to allow people to own land were thwarted again and again. I don't know when or whether it was permitted, but if Russia ever got there, it took way too long.

      Law enforcement and the courts were a complete sham, controlled by the government, under the USSR, and didn't seem to change at all.

      Finally--probably most important--the USSR was only able to function at all economically due to massive corruption and black market activity. This is because top-down control of economies doesn't work. So the only way it could work at all, for decades and decades, was through massive and common subversion of the formal rules. It took a couple of years, but the wily crooks who had been running and fixing the economy under the USSR emerged into the light and gave the Russian economy its present ugly face.

      There is a great book by the political economist Mancur Olson that discusses this and more, called "Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships."

      Just want to add one more small point re the Russian economy. In the winter of 1992-93 food was hard to find. The Russian food shops in Moscow got down to a lot of empty shelves and some canned fish and pickled vegetables. Bread remained available. By the following winter, there were plenty of functioning and well-stocked grocery stores. In the summers, even 1992, all kinds of food flooded into open-air markets, trucked to the cities from the farms and from republics farther south. I remember a huge truckload of watermelons in the dusty Moscow suburb where I lived in the 1992 summer. In other words, food distribution was a stunning example of the miracle of the free market.

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  9. I'm a Canadian small "c" conservative and have a favorite American joke- it goes like this:
    Secretary of State John Kerry.

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    1. Oooh! Burn.

      But I have a Canadian joke you won't like:

      Trudeau

      That calls for a clerihew:

      Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, PC, CH, CC, QC, FSRC
      Was ever so much smarter than you and me
      He invented "the Just Society"
      And richly deserves the attendant notoriety

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    2. Oh , well played , sir! Trudeapia triumphs Barackistan.
      His idiot progeny may be our next Barackesque prime minister - he is "cool" and has very nice hair.
      It is a bizarre world where the conservative leader is in Ottawa and the nutty leftist is in Washington!

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    3. A6z, please take care sir, the spelling in Canada is Turd-eau. Always will be.

      And what hardly anybody has recognized, is the game being played by western elites-it's called soft power-we Canadians experimented with that too. The fact that soft and power are polar opposites never registers with the likes of Kerry, Powers, Rice, Obambi, Camoron, Merkel at al or the morons promoting it in the UN. Note how efficient the European External Action Service has been, that would be the former Rapid Action Force both being an agglomeration of words that mean NOTHING and achieve nothing. This unfortunately is what the USA aspires to.

      Putin of course knows what realpolitik is and uses it to advantage, act first, allow limited diplomatic discussion after. He has also perceived that a country that will not secure its own borders is unlikely to assist others to secure theirs (think yUK, Germany, USA, the entire EU)

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  10. "In addition, the west sent too many Keynesian type economists which confused things. Should have sent some Austrian School economists to begin developing a bottom up political economy"

    This, I believe, is the answer. Japan proved Keynesian economics don't work.

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  11. Well Mr. Dip, spot on again. Terrific analysis the last few posts. Except. I had arrived at your conclusions regarding Soetoro over the last several years, but, what I hope you can tell us is who is pulling boy-toys strings?

    I grew up with chappies who are clones of Barry. Once one observes him for a bit and identifies the gaps between the un-connectible dots (bastardism, islamic and communist indoctrination and not least the narcissism of a drug-plagued dubiously wasted teenage hood, etc.) it is relatively easy to predict his behaviour and actions. BUT, there is a bigger game being played here. The game is rigged and the bookies are building new banks.

    I’m not American but my American mates say I typify the quintessential American, which I reckon is likely given I will never forget the succor and opportunity and support America has provided Ireland the last few centuries. So assuming Soros; who are the others and what is the end-game?

    Regarding ‘Our fearless Ambassador to the UN, Samantha "I hate Israel" Power’ whom we luckily shipped off to you before she could unleash her brilliance on us; she has the look of the ‘madness’, an expression we applied to those unfortunates whom one was better avoiding in crowded venues but was as likely to attach itself all the same. In the old days we had grey places with tall grey walls surrounding that cared for these types. In the modern progressive world these lunatics run countries. Just look at the US, the UK and Iran. Max.

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    1. I do agree with your observations of 'Barry', but at the same time, that description sadly applies to much of modern day US society.
      *That* is why he was elected, because he truly represents the sad state of generations of coddled people from backgrounds of broken families and recreational drug use. I'm still against him and his ilk, I'm only sad that he really represents America. Hopefully our country will survive itself.

      - reader #1482

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  12. Absolutely can't wait to hear the lavrov story... one day, perhaps...

    - reader #1482

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  13. Its a case of, not what you have, but how you use it. And he has used his limited resources and advantages well.

    Putin clearly has the measure of the West. He knows how far he can go and the West have given him pretty good field to play in.

    I remember the 2008 Russian vs Georgia conflict. Georgia wanted to be part of both NATO and the EU. Merkel was bullied by the Slavic States to accept Georgian 'Associate' Membership. I guess this upset Vlad, and so it was not long before he went looking for an excuse to teach Georgia a lesson.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/crimea-crisis-may-seem-like-georgia-russia-situation-of-2008-but-its-really-not/2014/03/02/39db1890-a242-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

    Bottom line: This is Russia's back yard and trespassers are not welcome.

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  14. Leadership is the tipping point. Putin is just the tip of the competency iceberg in Russian geopolitical ability.

    Look at the scandal of Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, John Kerry and Barack Obama flitting about with their panties in a bunch. Oh the discomfort! And so many insiders the parents of foreign born?

    Worst of all, the hubris. This is what should frighten us most. This is fantasy football meets collective academic psychosis meets a government/university complex conducted by perpetual political parties as an ongoing criminal enterprise.

    There is been serial diseased hubris in western affairs since the machinations of Cecil Rhodes were institutionalized. What we are watching is the comeuppance of the Harvard-Balloi subculture of global supremacists that has broadly infiltrated our federal government leadership and its agencies.

    This is a government that as of 2014 still practices racial phrenology and applies it as identity politics.

    That's as anti-science and anti-scholarship as it can get; exactly the conditions a good leftist needs to conduct a personal psychosis as a superior reality for the masses.

    And what have we got in our domestic and foreign policy today? Anti-science and anti-scholarship run amok, draped in hubris, saturated in other peoples money stolen from all on behalf of a few.

    There is no quality of serving a foolish cook can't ruin; no success a fool cannot destroy; no achievement a fool cannot undo.

    Leadership is crucial. Hubris, fatal. At some point, too much will have become undone by these psychotically self-important academic fabulists. They have already squandered the immediate future and placed our very existence as a nation at risk to itself. All Putin need do is be unyielding. The rest will certainly fall into place.

    Just keep the warm cocoa coming and everything will be alright.

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  15. So Putin is a throwback to the 19thC. Does that make him Pobedonostsev or Alexander II? Neither is an overly attractive choice.

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  16. It outrages me that we have a slanderous traitorous gigolo for Secretary of State. I don't care that Kerry is a buffoon. I do care about the rest.

    -Blake

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    1. Better throttle up your threshold for outrage. We're in for a bumpy night.

      (Personally, I care most about the buffoonish traitor. His defamations, by comparison, are very small beer. And even D'Israeli married for money.)

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    2. D'Isaeli was of a different era and marrying for money was common in the Commonwealth.

      It used to be marrying for money was frowned upon in America. The Brits of D'Israeli's bygone era mistrusted the self-made and respected "old money."

      American was built on the idea of the "self-made" man and, at one time, had not much regard for people who didn't earn their wealth.

      -Blake

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  17. The tag line for this administration should be Hillary Clinton's "At this point what diffrence does it make?"

    Everytime this administration or their sock puppets speak someone should ask them this question.

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  18. Uncle Kepha "I speak Mandarin Chinese and a little Hakka, and read them, too" H thinks that this is a H@ll of a time to have the O, Shrillary, and Kerry in charge of our foreign policy. The cage fighter v. pajamaboy analogy is way too apt.

    On another thread, I expressed my sympathy for Putin's "homophobia" (based on observations handling foreign adoptions). I do not take that back. But, I now wonder if Putin hasn't correctly taken the measure of the global hegemon that is more concerned about bullying African countries into becoming the next sex tourism meccas than about the large issues of world politics. Further, with China in his corner, I'm not so sure that the West will really have the advantage as Russia tries to re-assert itself in what it regards as its geopolitical back yard. A starving China under Mao subservient to Stalin was one thing; a China to which the USA has sold its economy and mortgaged its future teaming up with "cage fighter" Putin is quite another.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Kepha's mentioning of China is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I think we'll see in the mid term future a three way struggle between China, Russian, and radical Islamists. This presupposes an US and EU as impotent on-lookers which we are very close to being right now.
    I have noticed another James commenting who unfortunately is a rather smarter version therefore I sign out.
    James the Lesser

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    1. Diplomad having said all that was needed I was figuring my commenting would be superfluous James (the *right James I hope).

      I've been thinking about a lot lately. I think we'll see in the mid term future a three way struggle between China, Russian, and radical Islamists.

      This may be of some help for your thinking James:

      http://warontherocks.com/2014/03/china-a-major-power-in-the-middle-eastchina/

      Arkie

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    2. Good to talk with you, Mr. the Lesser, and to talk with you again, 'kie,

      Since America is the principal obstacle to both of them, why wouldn't they ally, de facto, for the immediate future?

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    3. Arkie, Yes, the right one. Pretty good link. Energy procurement alone would dictate Chinese involvement in the Mid East. I'm not all that versed on their domestic sources beyond they use coal a lot. Dickens would feel right at home in some of the smog pictures I've seen. With the US withdrawal in the ME, Africa, and the Pacific, China and Russia are moving in fast while the gettings good.

      a6z,
      "Since America is the principal obstacle to both of them, why wouldn't they ally, de facto, for the immediate future?" You would certainly think so. Once we're pushed far enough out China can pull Japan, Korea, Philippines, etc into some sort influence. The same with Russia and East Europe and Nato. I see a lot of cooperation between the two in the near future.Of course much depends on us and how act in the next5 years. Both of them are watching closely to see if our behaviour is temporary or truly long term. But in the end they are right next door to each other and have different out looks and interests which cannot but clash eventually.
      James the Lesser
      PS. Look for a Japanese, Korean, and Indian coalition in the near mid future.

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    4. Something else to put into the equation James, recall China's negotiating the mineral rights with (& to) the Aynak copper deposits in Afghanistan?

      Anything the Chinks extract will need transportation to China proper. Sea routes of course are out. And I doubt contracting with FedEx to fly copious amounts of unprocessed ore is feasible.

      That leaves one option - a rail link.

      But where to lay the track? Over the Hindu Kush? Through Kashmir? For the reasons you've mentioned - most importantly, India - that geography is for all intents and purposes, off-limits. So, what to do?

      The easiest option would be to utilize (in the initial phase) an existing route. But where is an existing route?

      Kazakhstan - coincidentally the one *we* will be using for awhile to take out our kit - but that route heads west, the Chinks need a route heading east and north. But that'd require negotiating right-of-way with ... well as it happens, Russia.

      And for what it's worth I'd tend to agree with your "PS" qualified in the near term to a Korean-Indian 'alliance of sorts' - Japan maybe aways off if only because I don't see them and the Koreans making "nicely-nicely" anytime soon.

      Ark

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    5. *Make that "unprocessed ore" rather "somewhat refined ore" - I seem to recall reading somewhere China had plans to build some sort of smelter near the Aynak deposits.

      Methinks were the Chinks to attempt to construct anything other than "a fairly primitive smelter" they'd need to import a largish number of educated Chinese to stir the stew - as opposed to using a more local labor force - the Chinks'd then get the attention of the Taliban et al.

      Ark

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    6. James?

      I hate placing a Wiki link on Dip's site but it's at least adequate as regards Aynak.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mes_Aynak

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  21. "Despite his upbringing as a Communist, he is now devoutly religious and wants to see religion restored to Russian life. As the jihadis have discovered, they have in Putin a rival as ruthless and religiously committed as they, and not bound by the conventions of political correctness."

    I believe you have put your finger on Putin's next international gambit once the dust from the Crimea mess has settled. I've been wondering lately who, if any, is going to stand up for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East and Africa. It certainly won't be the pro-Islam Obama or the post-Christian leaders of Europe.

    I believe it will be Vladimir Putin. He will speak out on behalf of the persecuted Copts and Nigerians. He may even begin sending them aid and weapons. And Christians around the world will flock to his banner, bringing the idea of Moscow as the "Third Rome" to fruition.

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    1. As a spiritual heir of the Puritans who believes that rule of law, political compact, and some voice for the governed are all but articles of faith, I never thought I'd live to see the day when I would see an authoritarian Russian leader as the clear superior over an American president--or, a devotee of Phanariote ikonodoulia over someone who has long been a member of a church that descends from my tradition (even if quite unfaithful to it). If, Anonymous, you are correct, I again take my hat off to Gospodin Putin; and may even learn Russian.

      The O's administration clearly has aligned with those Islamicists who want to expunge Christians (and Jews) from the Mideast and northern Africa, wants to normalize the sin against nature in American life, and has made the IRS a political tool to stifle American rights of free speech. I, for one, do not wish to sacrifice one or both of my military-age sons to Obama's vision for the world. It is a vision that deserves to lose. Unfortunately, this vision losing takes a country I have always loved with it; and probably a lot of other countries that I like (even if they aren't my own). I feel like standing on a street corner in sack-cloth, bellowing out the Book of Lamentations at the top of my lungs.

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    2. Kepha? Don't know whether you saw this.

      Excerpt then link:

      Russia’s culture was first made in Kiev. Although the Moscow Patriarchate commands the loyalty of the Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ukraine, it was in the Kievan Rus’ in which that church was born. Russia has controlled Ukraine to some extent for centuries. Suddenly, the West was gaining a real foothold there. So Vladimir Putin pulled out the stops.

      First, he came at the head of a gaggle of Eastern Orthodox bishops to celebrate the 1,025th anniversary of the baptism of the Kievan Rus’, the seminal moment in Slavic Christianity, as an unsubtle reminder of ties of culture and faith. (The 1,000th anniversary was of course a more subdued affair as Ukraine was still part of the atheistic Soviet Union.)


      http://www.redstate.com/diary/thomas/2014/03/05/vladimir-putin-show-weakness-beating-everyone-including-us/

      Arkie

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    3. Arkie: I'm aware of the history of the Christianization of the Eastern Slavs, and the role of the Kievan Rus.All the more reason for some Russian leader to view the separation of Russia's historic "borderland" (that's what "Ukraine" means) with Poland and Ottoman Turkey separated from Russia. After all, the Muscovites fought with the Poles, remnants of the Golden Horde, and Ottomans over the fate of that real estate for centuries.

      Further, had the post-1991 world given us a thoroughly de-Sovietized Russia and a thoroughly de-Sovietized Ukraine, honesty about the bad things of the past, better constitutional liberal institutions and the like, would Ukraine have made it a point to distance itself from Russia, especially as living memories of Stalin and the man-made famine fade? Frankly, had Putin or someone like him chosen to stress the long-standing cultural links and eschewed force, Ukraine and Russia could easily turn into at least something like the USA and Canada without reunification. And, as an American who's wondering why no-one is thinking of making a big to-do about the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Ghent, I can't be the only person who thinks that a decent and reliable neighbor is worth a dozen disgruntled members of one's federal union.

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  22. Saying too much.
    " It's all well and good to make your plans, revise them, and talk about them, but you might want to consider that the other side is developing a playbook, too."

    This reminds me of the Democrat/Republican way of using technology to win elections. During the last election cycle the Republicans - Romney campaign boasted of its great get out the vote database. We found out about the Democratic - Obama winning campaign using micro targeting after they had won the election. This week we received advance notice of how the Republicans have revitalized their effort to use technology to get out the vote. What is it they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I hope the 2012 results do not repeat themselves.

    Davod

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  23. James I and II. I like both your comments, often perspicacious, sometimes brilliant. May I offer a helpful suggestion? One of you lives in or near Austin, and is about my age, and the other lives elsewhere, and could be my son. (NO! I never knew your mother, in the friendly nor the Biblical sense!) Why not "James the younger" and JamesnAustin? Again, both very good comments, but it's nice to be able to sort them out.

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