Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putin and Russia

I view Russia as a mafia run economy. Ralph Peters views it as czarist dictatorship. Maybe the only difference is scale. In any event, he has imprisoned or killed his detractors and successfully quelled any opposition. On the international front, he has also positioned himself to extreme advantage:

It’s worth noting how much Putin has achieved: Like his hero, Peter the Great, he tamed the new nobility (of wealth) and consolidated the power of the state. He returned Russia to great-power status — largely through bluff. He steamrolled a one-sided new START agreement over American negotiators who desperately wanted a deal. His manipulation of Europe has given him virtually every pipeline agreement he wanted while sidelining NATO’s new members in the east and keeping Ukraine weak and disunited. He dismembered Georgia but paid no price for it. He has even achieved a grip over supplies for our troops in Afghanistan second only to the chokehold we granted Pakistan in a fit of strategic ineptitude.

The genius of Vladimir Putin - The Washington Post
Tue, 27 Sep 2011 14:04:23 UTC

Russia is a declining state by any measure other than energy production. Its people are dying or emigrating, its standard of living stymied by a corrupt and briberous economy and state machinery that harckens back to a violence of generations past.

Regardless, in true carpe diem fashion, Putin has soldiered on. The West neither has the moral clarity or the time and capability to respond. As the calamity that is the Eurozone unfolds, we see that encroaching governments, whether they be czars or socialists, all arrive at the same place, economically and morally bankrupt, their purpose long ago lost within the warrens of a bureaucracy determined only to preserve itself.

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