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22 May 2014

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rkka

"Russia is in a relative good position compared to 2000, because the price of crude tripled since then, nothing you can expect in the next 15 years again"

Not quite. If the tripling had occurred under Yeltsin, the Oligarchs would have taken every kopek of the windfall, offshored it, leveraged it 30-1 on global business empire-building, and lost every kopek in The Crash of 2008. Russia would have been rendered destitute, and Russians would have continued dying off, at a redoubled rate.

Instead, Putin ended Oligarchic domination of Russian politics, taxed the windfall away, and used it astutely to pay off debt and build financial reserves. The consequence of that is that Russia is now able to undertake development from a position of strength, instead of utter weakness.

This has the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy (AFPE&P) deeply upset, because Russia's energy windfall went to Russia instead of to them. Hence all the noise their tame media make about Putin.

Fred

bth,

There have been numerous base closures in the US and the navy is now less than 300 ships when it was almost twice that a few decades ago. How does that end the legal obligation of the treaty? The president and the senior members of the legislative branch of government of both parties have both stated repeatedly that the United States will adhere to the obligation to defend member states.

"Really? Well for the same reason Russia billionaires sprang from no where ...." .... "If you've ever tried to do business in Russia you would know."

Yes, not a single western institution was involved with advice or any investment of time, effort or money. Ford - OAO Sollers, that's not really a jv that's been in Russia for decades, no.... neither has GM, VW or any other car company. Nor any bank. Nor any non-government organization like the National Endowment for Democracy, why not them either. That $5 billion they spent in Ukraine, why that had no impact on anything, not at all. In the West we're all as pure as the driven snow.

jerseycityjoan

Speaking of pressure -- Article #1

My sense was that Gates is warning us not to change our ways or we'll have trouble with Russia and China. I wish he'd let us know how we can keep up all the various obligations we've assumed.

My nonexpert response to what he says is: Just because we'll be tested doesn't mean we shouldn't change and refocus on attention on ourselves. If we have to spend ourselves and neglect ourselves into oblivion to protect ourselves (and the rest of the world), we're a goner anyway.

"Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that China and Russia are becoming more aggressive as they perceive the U.S. pulling back from world affairs.

“With all the talk of coming home, of nation building at home, the perception has grown increasingly around the world that the U.S. is pulling back from the global responsibilities that it has shouldered for many decades," Gates told CNN host Fareed Zakaria during a conversation hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. “I believe Russia and China, among others, see that void and are moving to see what advantage they can take of it.

“They’re not going to challenge us in a way that would produce a conflict, but as they perceive our unwillingness to commit overseas, our unwillingness to make tough decisions, as in Syria, I think they see opportunities to pursue their own nationalist ambitions and to take other actions that are self-aggrandizing,” Gates said."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/robert-gates-china-russia_n_5361462.html

jerseycityjoan

Here's some more pressure -- Article #2

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/polands-walesa-says-us-no-longer-world-leader

"Poland's former president and Nobel Peace laureate, Lech Walesa, said Friday he plans to urge President Barack Obama to take a more active world leadership role when he visits Poland in June.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Walesa said "the world is disorganized and the superpower is not taking the lead. I am displeased."

The former Solidarity leader said that when he meets Obama in Warsaw, he wants to tell him that the U.S. should inspire and encourage the world into positive action.

"The point is not in having the States fix problems for us or fight somewhere, no," Walesa said. "The States should organize us, encourage us and offer programs, while we, the world, should do the rest. This kind of leadership is needed."

"I will say: Either you want to be a superpower and guide us, or you should give the superpower to Poland and we will know what to do with it. Amen," said Walesa, who is known for sometimes abrasive comments."

I see Walesa's point. I would probably agree with many things he'd like us to do. But we are actually not in charge of the world. And the world does not pay any taxes to us.

If Poland wants to volunteer to take over from us, then maybe we should let them.

rkka

"I will say: Either you want to be a superpower and guide us, or you should give the superpower to Poland and we will know what to do with it. Amen,""

Ah yes, the eternal Polish dream of extending once again from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, and from the Oder to the Dneipr.

A 'Nobel Peace laureate' ready to undertake wars of imperial aggression. A hint, Lech: Nobody east of the Bug remembers Polish domination with any fondness...

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