Tag: Putin

Vladimir Putin, the Strong Horse

 

horse_1456083iOsama Bin Laden said, “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.” Understanding that fact of human nature and geopolitics, Vladimir Putin galloped into Syria to show the Middle East that Russia rides high while the US flees from the world stage.

While President Obama busies himself making silly faces toward a selfie stick, many beleaguered residents of Syria and Iraq are more than happy to welcome a new sheriff to town.

Amid the ornate walls of Damascus’ famed Omayyad Mosque, preacher Maamoun Rahmeh stood before worshippers last week, declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin a “giant and beloved leader” who has “destroyed the myth of the self-aggrandizing America.”

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Christie has called, along with others, for a no-fly zone in Syria. Do you think this is a good idea, or simply a reckless, poorly-thought-out gambit that risks WWIII, as described in the second link, to revive his weak electoral prospects? http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-up-against-growing-support-for-a-no-fly-zone-in-syria/ Preview Open

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Who Should We Send to Sing to Our Rebels in Syria?

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.06.44Well, goodness. Think anyone’s going to notice that? I hope not. It might make future allies a little uneasy about allying with us.

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

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Well that didn’t take long. Following a one-on-one meeting at the U.N. which gave Vladimir Putin the ability to measure the degree to which Barack Obama is a mewling pantywaist, the Russian dictator launched a surprise attack in Syria (after graciously ordering the United States to get the hell out of the way) on the […]

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On Monday, Vladimir Putin met briefly with Barack Obama at the United Nations because he was  hungry and wanted to eat the president’s lunch, drink his milk shake, and then gobble up other nations for dessert. Actually, we think that only happened metaphorically, but we’re not 100% sure because it’s hard to imagine President Dweebypants […]

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Czar Wars

 

King-World-News-Paul-Craig-Roberts-Putins-Ultimate-Move-To-Crush-The-EU-And-NATO1-1728x800_c-840x420I don’t mean to ruin anyone’s morale, but I’m going to, anyway. I understand that some of you may be thinking, “Why not let Putin fight ISIS? Better him than us, wouldn’t you say? Especially since all we seem to be able to do is make more of them. Right?”

Well, sure, if that’s what he were doing. But it’s not.

MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor fighter jets, Su-30 fighters, Su-25 attack planes, Su-24 bombers, Su-34 bombers, Su-27 Flanker interceptor fighter jets, an Il-20 spy plane, armored vehicles, and SA-15 and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles? As David Axe puts it (understatedly) that’s “not really optimal for attacking lightly armed insurgent fighters.” And as he further notes, correctly, “Surface-to-air missiles are only good for destroying enemy aircraft, which Syrian rebels do not possess. And the Su-30s are best suited for tangling with other high-tech forces.”

Dick Shelby, Vlad Putin’s BFF

 

Earlier this week, I pointed out how Congress seems determined to keep us dependent on the Russians for access to space indefinitely:

    …despite the desperate need and warning from the administrator, just before the most recent Russian failures, in a vote on June 3rd, the House once again cut the NASA 2016 request for Commercial Crew by about 20%, from $1.243B to an even billion dollars, while once again increasing the SLS budget by almost half a billion, an increase of over a third from the request of $1.365B.

Coup? Bad Plastic Surgery? What Has Happened to Vladimir Putin?

 

Wikipedia CommonsRussian President Vladimir Putin, in the tradition of all authoritarian leaders, is an ever-present figure in his country’s media.

I once saw a story on Russian TV in the early 2000s (from my cozy confines of Estonia) where Putin stopped by a Russian pickle stand shaded by a giant tree. The whole point of the story was how he loved the pickles. The pickle cart owner, an elderly woman, swore afterwards that the tree that shaded her stand was now holy ground.

That nightly fixture of Russian television has not been seen in public since March 5 — a full week. The Kremlin-controlled channels are currently relying on old footage when they reference him. Putin was supposed to fly to Kazakhstan this week to meet with his fellow dictator club jacket-wearers, Kazakh President Nusultan Nazabayev and Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko. Putin didn’t show. Media reports suggested he was “ill.”

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From the front page of the Sept. 1, 1939, New York Times: Charging that Germany had been attacked, Chancellor Hitler at 5:11 o’clock this morning issued a proclamation to the army declaring that from now on force will be met with force and calling on the armed forces “to fulfill their duty to the end.” […]

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Putin’s Russia: A Cornered Bear

 

High energy prices have been a boon to Russia for years. Shrewdly, Vladimir Putin spent this mountain of cash solidifying his grip on power. He eliminated rivals, silenced critics, and propagated a cult of personality to create a millions-strong volunteer army of often violent devotees. In the minds of many Russians, l’etat c’est Vlad.

But with a massive oil glut from North America and OPEC, Russia’s economy is crashing. The ruble has been dropping for a week. To prop up the currency, the Russian central bank suddenly and surprisingly jacked up interest rates to no avail.

Putin Sends a Message… and Bombers

 

President Obama has spent most of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing trying to avoid Vladimir Putin. For his part, the Russian leader seemed amused at the cold shoulder, gamely trying to force photo ops with his American counterpart. The result was a collected, smirking Putin and an exhausted, peevish Obama. The body language of the photo above tells the story almost as well as Russia’s latest troop movements.

As Obama bumbled at APEC, Putin moved his army into Ukraine:

The Letter Obama Should Write to Putin

 

Over at Forbes, I’ve just penned a version of the letter that Barack Obama would send Vladimir Putin if he was serious about stopping Russian expansionism and wanted to salvage the final two years of his presidency. A taste:

Despite your pledges to recognize the May 25 Ukraine presidential election, you continue to the present day to characterize the Kiev government as an illegitimate, extremist, and neo-Nazi regime intent on genocide of ethnic Russians. (This criticism from a country that allows a Miss Hitler contest). Ukraine has no history of Ukrainian-on-Russian ethnic violence, and credible public opinion polls show that the residents of the rebellious Donbas, even to the present day, do not wish to secede from Ukraine. On the basis of your illegitimacy claims, you make the bizarre argument that the sovereign Ukrainian government has no right to deploy its forces in its own country. Using the same logic, Ukraine could argue that Russia has no right to station troops in break-away Chechnya.

If I Was Emperor…

 

585px-Map_of_ScandinaviaApparently, some Swedes are worried that Putin has his eye on Scandinavia for a future playground. I will let Annika fill y’all in later.
Though I am fairly sure that Putin is not done helping poor lost Russians in neighboring states to secure their due right to rejoin the empire, I find it difficult to imagine an invasion of Sweden before an invasion of Estonia or Latvia. I suspect that the order of conquest will follow the path of least resistance. But perhaps not.

In any case, can we agree that would-be conquerors everywhere probably perceive Obama’s remaining years in office as an ideal time for action?

If so, might they take bigger bites than they otherwise would because of the limited window of opportunity?

An Appeal to the West from a Ukrainian Patriot

 

With Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko scheduled to address Congress tomorrow, we must understand that he faces both the external problem that we follow closely and an internal problem about which we hear little. The external problem is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which has led to over 3,000 deaths. The internal problem is Ukraine’s political crisis which Irina Gokieli addresses below.

The Maidan revolution was a popular uprising against Russian domination, against a corrupt political class, and against a society that lacked a rule of law. In her essay, Irina describes Ukraine’s hard road in fighting both an external and an internal conflict with a parliamentary election looming in the near future. As Mikhail Gorbachev before him in Russia, Poroshenko faces a parliament that reflects the corruption and abuse of the ruling elite that has held sway over Ukraine since independence. She issues an urgent appeal to the West to pressure Ukraine to deal with its internal problems, without which Ukraine has little hope of prevailing over Russian aggression.

Putin Punishes the West by Punishing the Russian People

 

BuXShb7IQAEhEguVladimir Putin, the self-proclaimed savior and protector of the Russian people, wherever they may be, has decided to punish the West by banning imports of food from Europe, Australia, and North America. Russian propaganda is busy convincing the Russian people that foregoing German yogurt, Italian strawberries, and even Big Macs is a small price to pay for Russian pride and the protection of ethnic Russians in east Ukraine, Moldova, and anywhere else they may be from rabid and homicidal Nazi thugs.

Putin may know his politics and may carry the Russian people along with his trade war, but his grasp of economics is deficient, to say the least.

Currently Russian consumers spend some thirty percent of their food budgets on imports. Any trip to a Russian supermarket features displays of familiar food brands – DANONE, Nestle, Pepsi, Dr. Oetker, and so on. Russian consumers buy these goods because they are affordable, offer reliable quality, and they are safe. They do not buy to make sure that German, French, Italian and Greek farmers make money. They buy because they like these products.