I marvel at the learning curve of Russian Strongman Vladimir Putin. The face of tyranny has become so much wiser and far more handsome in the early years of the 21st century. Putin is every bit the tyrant that Hitler and Stalin were but he’s learned the art of not bludgeoning things to death as his Soviet Predecessors did. In the old days if the USSR had a beef with someone the tanks and bombers would roll in and lay waste to everything in an almost childlike display of heavy handedness. Putin’s Russian Federation delivered a brutal and humiliating beating to the Georgians clearly demonstrating who is in charge for the entire world to see; and then they stop short of total destruction of Georgia and receives the praise and gratitude of the world. Vladimir Putin can do no wrong, his touch is golden, and he always manages to reap the whirlwind of rewards for civilized conduct in the face of a crisis he himself created. How Charming.
Russia ordered a halt to military action in Georgia on Tuesday, after five days of air and land attacks sent Georgia’s army into headlong retreat and left towns and military bases destroyed. More than 2,000 people were reported killed.. …. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on national television that Georgia had been punished enough for its attack on South Ossetia. Georgia launched an offensive late Thursday to regain control over the separatist Georgian province, which has close ties to Russia.
Was it Mao who proclaimed that to terrorize ten thousand you need only kill one? Putin has murdered more than 2,000 and I think he’s managed to terrorize every former Soviet State and send a message, writ large in blood, that NATO will have no more new members. Believe me the message was delivered loud and clear and everyone in the world gets it; at the same time Putin, with this phony show of restraint, appears to play according to the rules to the cheers of everyone who’s now shaking in their boots. Russia, with this lawless action and subsequent playacting at restraint, has reinstated the “Russian sphere of influence” in a slick new sexy way that is absent the self destructive foolishness of the old Soviet dictators.
— The ruble surged the most in seven years, Russia’s Micex Index climbed, and the cost of protecting the country’s bonds fell the most in six weeks after President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to military operations in Georgia.
Putin has learned that true economic power, is power indeed, and that military power is a blunt instrument that has its uses but should be used with restraint in order to best achieve the best results. The economic gains Russia has achieved by the fusion of a market economy with limited state control of key industries can be very effective and enhance his nationalist interests beyond anything the Soviets could have achieved. With the Oil industries effectively nationalized the resulting wealth has give Putin the staying power to deal with America and the Western Europeans whose economies have become dependent on foreign oil. Putin has to appear to play by the rules in order to continue getting the cash and he knows it. By doing so Russia is seen as a legitimate investment market which gives Putin the continuing opportunity to gain ever more control over petroleum and thus world affairs.
The British oil company BP shut down one of three Georgian pipelines as a precaution. Georgia sits on strategic oil pipeline carrying Caspian crude to Western markets bypassing Russia, has long been a source of contention between the West and a resurgent Russia, which is seeking to strengthen its role as the dominant energy supplier to the continent.
Doubtless the Europeans are celebrating today because they suspect that market capitalism may be the lever that’s been missing all these years to bring Russian Foreign Policy away from heavy handed militarism into limited adventures that don’t overly disrupt the markets. After all the complete destruction of nations is bad for business and means that the economic power to have and maintain a world class military goes out the window in this new age of globalism. Becoming a rich nation gives you real incentive to maintain something of the status quo because the alternative is very inefficient. The Nazi’s and the Fascist Italians under Mussolini discovered the same principle and were able to ride the wave for a long time and came close to achieving global domination.
Crude oil for September delivery fell as much 1.7 percent to $112.48 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after Medvedev’s comments.
OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, rose 7.1 percent to 68.80 rubles on the Micex Stock Exchange. Gazprom advanced 5.5 percent to 271.62 rubles.
The old Soviet Leaders would’ve pounded Georgia into the ground so hard it would be generations before the Georgians acquired half the moxie they had a week ago. Putin pounded them halfway into the ground but without disrupting the economic engine that fuels the return of Russian Influence to the world. Putin, like the Chinese, is coming up with a hybrid system that incorporates the best of capitalism and socialism and he’s advancing Russian interests far more effectively than the old Soviets. I would argue that he has simply reinvented Facism. The Fascists are always admired in the beginning, because their system actually does make the trains run on time, but it tends to create leaders who believe they are invincible. That’s a problem.
I suspect that Putin will be very reasonable now and simply demand, or covertly work to change the current government in Georgia, with one to his liking. I would be astonished if the current Georgia government is intact a year from now. No one is going to openly challenge the Russian Federation for some time and the world will congratulate itself for appeasing the Russians with the sacrifice of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. Other states will fall to the New Russian Empire and I suspect they will fall almost imperceptibly, at least from the point of view of the West. I suspect Putin will be acting quietly and covertly and the fate of Georgia and the weakness of the West will have made it possible.
Russia’s foreign minister called for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to resign and Medvedev said Georgia must pull its troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia — the two Russian-backed breakaway provinces at the heart of the dispute.
The last few days in Georgia the Russian mask has slipped and we can see clearly who’s behind the mask. We ignore this knowledge at our peril. Russia is back, stronger than ever, and bent on regional control if not global control and Putin is just the guy who could make it happen.
This story was drawn from the following links: