The Long War for Eastern Europe Has Barely Begun
Russian President Vladimir Putin may not be comparable to Adolf Hitler, but he will, nevertheless, keep pushing westwards until he is stopped. ___ http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2014/09/17/the_long_game_in_eastern_europe_110713.html (Robert D. Kaplan)
Kaplan’s piece above suggests that Putin is likely to win the long war in Eastern Europe — as long as he keeps his goals relatively modest. But there is no sign that Putin will be able to stop himself . . .
What Kaplan fails to understand is the fire that gets lit inside the minds and hearts of people who are living under a deadly threat of unjust attack and conquest — particularly if they have just started to accept the feeling of being free. Ukrainians are close enough to Russians to understand Russia’s weaknesses. But they are different enough from Russians to know that they do not want to be under Russia’s boot again.
The Ukrainians are not the sort of helpless and incompetent third world people that Kaplan is used to writing about in works such as “The Coming Anarchy.”
Ukraine’s industrial output — like its agricultural output — is of high quality. Ukrainian-built engines power Russian military helicopters, jets, and warships. But Ukraine also helps build Russia’s tanks, missiles, rockets, transport planes, and other essential parts of Russia’s ability to make war.
In many areas Russian arms producers, and users, are highly dependent on Ukrainian industry and most of these items cannot be quickly or cheaply replaced by Russian made substitutes. This is mainly due to insufficient production capacity of Russian industries. The most severe shortages occur in key areas. Prominent examples include IBCMs, air-to-air missiles, aviation and engines for warships.
… The Russians are already feeling the effects of being cut off from their Ukrainian defense suppliers. Although they seized over a dozen factories in Crimea, including three large shipyards, it’s still not enough for their needs. Without cooperation from Ukrainian suppliers Russian military modernization and export plans are in big trouble. The situation is so desperate that the Russians are considering buying the needed components from China __ Ukraine Secret Weapon
Ukraine has been the brains and competence of Russia’s military in many ways — including Russia’s ability to wield a nuclear threat against Europe and the rest of the world. And it’s not as if Russia can quickly replace the shortfall with its own — or Chinese — production. Russian and Chinese equipment is simply not up to Ukrainian standards, and probably will not be for many years to come.
The Ukrainian people may be more creative, capable, and adaptable than the broad sweep of people still living inside of Russia. More European, less Central Asian in nature. The dynamics of the Russia :: Ukraine conflict are not set exactly in the way that either Kaplan or most other western observers take them to be.
That means that Ukraine will not need nearly the amount of outside help from NATO that westerners seem to think, to bring Putin’s putsch to a standstill, and eventually to slowly push it back inside Russia’s borders. [How does one say “remember the Alamo” in Ukrainian?]
Will Ukraine seek to exact revenge from Russia, should it get the upper hand? That depends upon which side of the fence that China eventually stands on. If China thinks the time is right to grab Russia’s rich Siberian assets, the dragon may decide to stand with Ukraine at the end of the long war — assuming secrets to neutralising Russia’s self-ballyhooed nuclear threat are found.
Putin cringes when he thinks of a free Ukraine sitting next to a Russia-in-chains. Such a juxtaposition is akin to the North Korea :: South Korea divide, and the old East Germany :: West Germany border. Such a graphic display of dictatorship vs. relative freedom would be the death of bloody Putin’s regime.
Putin is a Menace Both Inside and Outside of Russia
Russian prosecutors yesterday ordered the house arrest of Vladimir Yevtushenkov, who controls MTS, Russia’s largest mobile phone operator, and Bashneft, an oil company in the region of Bashkortostan. The allegation is that he used illegally acquired assets to buy his 78.8% share of Bashneft, and that he ultimately underpaid for it, according to the pro-state website RT.com.
But the case isn’t clear-cut: Prosecutors have released no details, for example, of the asset allegations. And prosecuting and detaining a member of Russia’s billionaire oligarch class like Yevtushenkov is very rare; it has happened almost exclusively to a few powerful oligarchs who were viewed as economic or political challenges to Putin.
Yevtushenkov is being compared to the most prominent of those cases: the 2003 imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the then-chairman of Yukos Oil, who was released in December after a decade of incarceration.
The Khodorkovsky case was largely the culmination of a power struggle between him and Putin. When it was over, Igor Sechin, an ally of Putin’s going back to their days serving in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office, had dismantled Yukos and transferred many of its most valuable assets to then-sleepy Rosneft. The state-controlled Rosneft is now the world’s largest publicly traded oil company by production, and Sechin is its head. ___ http://qz.com/266912/is-the-kremlin-trying-to-grab-another-oligarchs-oil-company/ (Steven Levine)
A national economy cannot grow in a healthy and organic fashion when a criminal government constantly seizes the assets of successful companies, and throws successful entrepreneurs in gaol. The mafia thugs currently controlling Russia consider themselves unaccountable to anyone in the world, and spread destruction inside and outside of their borders.
Russia is undergoing a wide array of disintegrative dynamics. Putin scarcely understands the dangerous traps he is both setting, and stepping in. These will be interesting and dynamic times in Eastern Europe.
Even without external enemies, Russia is set on a course of self-destruction. But Putin . . . — Putin cannot help himself when it comes to making enemies upon enemies. Could Putin truly be stupid enough to take Alexandr Dugin seriously?
The causes of [Russia’s] alarming death rate include heart disease, accidents, violence, and suicide — often associated with heavy, sometimes binge, drinking. Smoking rates are among the highest in the world (twice as high as in U.S.). Environmental conditions, especially in the work place, are often poor. Diet is harmful. And the quality of the health care system is often low. Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographic expert at the American Enterprise Institute and senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research, has said that with high rates of injuries and violence, Russia looks liked like a Sub-Saharan conflict or post-conflict society, not a middle class society at peace. __ http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/10/in-russia-a-demographic-crisis-and-worries-for-nations-future/246277/?single_page=true
Russia: The Tragedy and the Menace
India says: “Don’t Buy Your Aircraft Carrier from Russia!”
Russophiles and other westerners who take Russia seriously as a world power (its economy is smaller than California’s!) do not wish to see and acknowledge Russia’s growing ineptness and broad incompetence. By attacking weak neighbors, Putin seeks to appear strong to the rest of the world — at least to the gullible ones who still believe Russian propaganda. Inside Russia, people are getting sick of Putin’s lies
Time is not on Russia’s side:
China is winning