Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Russia is back, bigger and badder than ever, how the hell did this happen?

with 8 comments

aurora.jpg

Well, there’s one good thing about Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to some extent they have drawn attention away from some of the other foreign policy catastrophes that are slowly unfolding on Bush Jrs watch. OK, that’s not really much of a silver lining, but it’s a start. Anyhow, today I discuss Russia and the situation there. Fortunately at least most Americans can find Russia on a map. And we have an official line about Russia, simplifying things further: Putin is a gangster and dictator no different than Stalin. It’s a great line because it means the USA can do whatever they want in regards to Russia, and it’s easy to swallow in Peoria because unlike certain other countries, there is no well financed pro Russian lobby in the USA trying to influence Congress.

The reality is far different, which pretty much is the case when reality is compared to anything coming from the White House these days. Putin is far from a gangster, our misguided policies toward Russia have made his hold on power nearly unbreakable and rejuvenated Russian nationalism like it hasn’t been seen in decades, and even made a huge resurgence of Russian economic and military power possible with the ever rising price of oil. Russian has even declared that a US or Israeli attack on Iran will be considered an attack on Russia, for all practical purposes Russia, China, and Iran have quietly allied against the USA.

How did we get to this messed up situation? Considering that Russia basically unconditionally surrendered to us and wanted to be an American ally at the end of the Cold War, it almost boggles the mind. Instead of accepting them as an ally, we promised not to expand NATO, then broke our promise and expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders. We financed pro American “revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics. We have financed a pipeline designed to cut Russia out of Central Asian oil, and cancelled the ABM treaty and started deploying an ABM system right on Russia’s borders. Not to mention doing our level best to demonize and eviscerate Russia’s only ally in Europe, Serbia. Basically the USA has done everything in it’s power to isolate and weaken Russia since the end of the Cold War

Why did we decide to kick Russia when they were down? As far as I can tell, old habits die hard. The USA had been paranoid about Russia for decades, and we were simply unable to get out of our paranoid mind set. Or maybe we really did believe that as the world’s only superpower, we simply no longer had to play by the rules and could just do as we pleased. Since even at its height the threat posed by the Soviet Union was wildly exaggerated, this continued treatment of Russia as an enemy served no purpose.

And it continues to this day. The press releases about the recent Russian election for example were utterly predictable. We claimed the election wasn’t fair. Coming from the White House of course that’s pretty ironic, if not downright hypocritical. It does obscure the fact that the USA doesn’t want the American public to know: Putin is wildly popular in Russia. And he’s popular for good reason, he has completely turned Russia around both economically and internationally. He in fact jailed or exiled the worst of the actual gangsters who so thoroughly looted Russia in the 90s, much to the chagrin of the USA who is even pretending that some of these gangsters are political dissidents.

In fact speaking of democracy, Russia is infinitely more of a democracy than many key American allies, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia leap to mind for instance. Russia is easily more democratic than it has ever been in history, and is arguably more of a democracy than the United States. At least in Russia third parties can get in Parliament, in the USA the two parties have such a lock on the system that third parties are completely excluded no matter how popular they are.

So now instead of having Russia as an ally, a resurgent and stronger than ever Russia is rolling back the “gains” we have made in Eastern Europe and central Asia, and is well on the way to being able to exclude America entirely from central Asia’s resources. And no, this isn’t a return of the Cold War, why Americans can’t grasp that the past doesn’t repeat itself and that the world continues to change year by year is one of the mysteries of life. It’s especially weird since the good old days of World War Two and the Cold War we’re more a a propaganda narrative than a reality in the first place.

Oh well, what the future will bring for Russia is anyone’s guess, but right now they are at the top of the list of countries who have good leadership. And that bodes well for Russia and poorly for it’s badly run enemies. Will Russia be a superpower again some day? Nope, not while Putin is in charge, he’s a hell of a lot smarter than that. As usual, other people have said this better than me. Much of the information for this column came from here and here. Have a good day everyone, tomorrow I will write about the forgotten war in the Congo.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, and, um, that’s about it. It came from this fine site which I highly recommend for people who are curious about modern day to day life in Russia. It is a picture of the Russia cruiser Aurora, one of the very few capital ships that escaped the disaster at the battle of Tsushima Straight, where most of the Russian fleet was sunk by Japan in 1905. Aurora went on to play a part in the Russian revolution, and basically I think it has such an interesting history that I am using this post as an excuse to post an image of it.)

Written by unitedcats

December 4, 2007 at 10:41 am

Posted in History, Politics, World

8 Responses

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  1. Russia is a world power . The weapons of choice will now be resources and trade and the armies will be LUK, Gazprom and others.Russia will engage politically nations on an international level that will clearly mimic Warsaw Pact solidarity only it’s under the fuel pump instead of the gun. The result will be the same though,”Do as I say”.

    in2thefray

    December 4, 2007 at 11:44 am

  2. I don’t consider Justin Raimondo reliable, he has been known to distort facts for his own purposes. As for Pat Buchanan, the less said the better. These are people with a political objective, in any case, and it isn’t democracy for America or for Russia, so take their POV with many grains of salt.

    Michael

    December 4, 2007 at 12:58 pm

  3. I take all views with a grain of salt. I don’t know if Putin is a good man or a gangster, but he is not an American stooge, and that means virtually everything coming from the west and the western media is going to demonize him. And if he’s as smart and reality oriented as he appears, he is going to have Bush and his neocon ideologue cronies for breakfast.

    unitedcats

    December 4, 2007 at 10:13 pm

  4. He is not a stupid man. And to the extent he is disagreeable, he is only a mirror to our own leaders.

    Michael

    December 4, 2007 at 10:24 pm

  5. I thought this article is also an excellent overview of Putin, Russia, and the recent “elections.”

    unitedcats

    December 5, 2007 at 12:18 pm

  6. I think both of us posted on Russian Long Range Bombers flying again. I saw this article at the Telegraph UK How’s Russia not flexing up to a world power position ?

    in2thefray

    December 5, 2007 at 1:35 pm

  7. Get your facts straight if your going to critic a man such as putin. Look at his record for god sake. He successfully increased the GDP Six fold in his eight years in office. He increased the average guys monthly salaries from $80 to $640. The guy had 71 % of the votes in the second election Can you say that about Bush? or some other euoropean leader?

    of course russia likes him.

    also he reduced the unemployment rate from 12.4% to around 6%.

    That is close to the US 5.5% unemployed.

    marc

    June 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm

  8. Mother russia is a wet lion not a cat if you get close to him you become her share. The worlds giant is rising do not stay on his way unless you fuck your own ass.

    innocent

    March 5, 2009 at 5:53 am


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