Tag Archives: Russia in the Last Days

Preparing for War: Middle East War Coming Soon

 

 

This is the kind of deal making and last ditch diplomatic moves before a major conflict begins.  The Jerusalem Post has confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a clandestine trip to Russia according to a Kremlin spokesman.  Nothing is known of the subject matter, or of the officials involved but the probability is that it involved the situation in Iran and perhaps Syria.  It was staged without knowledge of, nor coverage of the press corps, and without the trappings of an official state visit.  A leased Jet supposedly took the prime minister on this cloak and dagger mission and no information of any meaningful nature has been released by either government to a hoodwinked press corp.

You need not be Einstein to conclude that time is rapidly running out on Middle East peace.  If Middle East Oil is interdicted or facilities destroyed by a regional war the economic effects could be catastrophic throughout the world.  Israel has no option at all and must attack or be destroyed by an Iranian Nuclear Bomb and the fact that hush-hush meetings are taking place between Russia and the Prime Minister of Israel can only mean that the day of reckoning is close at hand.

 

Kremlin official confirms PM’s trip

Sep. 9, 2009
Herb Keinon and jpost staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

A senior Kremlin official confirmed Wednesday to the Russian paper Kommersant that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did indeed make a clandestine trip to Russia on Monday.

Commenting on the visit, the official said that “this kind of development could only be related to new and threatening information on Iran’s nuclear program.”

The Russian newspaper quoted experts speculating that such a trip would only be justified under extraordinary circumstances, “for example, in the case of Israel planning to attack Iran.”

The report comes despite a statement Wednesday from the Kremlin press service that “nothing is known” about reports of the visit. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also said he had no information, the Interfax news agency reported.

Nevertheless, there was never any official denial of the report from Moscow.

On Wednesday night, the Prime Minister’s Office appeared to stick to its original version of events: that Netanyahu was occupied with “secret and classified activities” during his unexplained absence of over 12 hours.

The PMO announced that Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Lt.-Gen. Meir Kalifi was not in contact with the prime minister.

According to the announcement, Kalifi undertook an independent initiative to safeguard these activities, and National Security Adviser Uzi Arad had no part in the affair.

Earlier Wednesday, the office neither explicitly confirmed nor denied a story that appeared in Yediot Aharonot claiming that Netanyahu had flown to Russia to talk about planned Russian arms sales to Iran.

Instead, Netanyahu’s spokesmen referred reporters back to the statement issued Monday evening amid a swirl of rumors that Netanyahu had gone abroad.

That statement, oddly released in the name of Kalifi and not in the name of spokesman Nir Hefetz, said, “The prime minister is visiting a security installation in Israel today.”

Asked explicitly if Netanyahu had left the country, another Netanyahu spokesman, Mark Regev, referred back to that statement.

That statement, however, did not rule out the possibility of a trip abroad, since after briefly visiting a security installation, Netanyahu could very well have flown overseas.

Faced with anger from the Israeli press that the Prime Minister’s Office had lied about Netanyahu’s whereabouts, Channel 2 reported Kalifi saying Wednesday night that, “in matters of national security, I take the prerogative of not saying the whole truth.”

Hefetz reportedly refused to issue Monday evening’s statement in his name because he was unable to confirm its veracity.

The whole mysterious episode has focused the spotlight on a reported fissure inside the Prime Minister’s Office, with Kalifi and Arad on one side, and Hefetz and Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser on the other.

According to various new reports on Wednesday, Netanyahu – who was reportedly accompanied by Kalifi and Arad on the reported trip – leased a private jet from Merhav, a company owned by Israeli mogul Yossi Maiman, one of the shareholders of Channel 10 and EMG, an Egyptian company supplying gas to the Israel Electric Corp.

This was apparently done to make the trip as discrete as possible, since using an Israel Air Force jet – it was apparently thought – would have raised the suspicions of the Israeli media.

Maiman was reportedly not directly involved in leasing the jet, as this was done through a company he owns.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials, meanwhile, denied any knowledge of the trip, saying that Israel’s envoy in Moscow was also not appraised of it.

What is almost as mysterious as whether the trip took place, is what might have been discussed, with speculation focused on Iran, possible Russian arms deals to Iran and Syria, or the disappearance of the Arctic Sea cargo ship – suspected of carrying Russian made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles bound for Iran – that went missing last month.

The trip, if indeed it took place, would not have been the result of an impromptu, emergency decision, since there was already talk among Netanyahu’s inner circle during his visit to London and Berlin two weeks ago about a possible visit to Russia ahead of the United Nations General Assembly meeting at the end of the month.

Interestingly, almost exactly two years ago, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert paid a lightning visit to Moscow to meet with then-Russian president Vladimir Putin, a day after the Russian leader returned from a trip to Teheran in which he warned outside powers not to attack Iran and said there was no evidence it was developing nuclear arms.

Back then, the Prime Minister’s Office tried to dissociate Olmert’s trip from Putin’s statements in Iran, but it was clear from the snap manner in which that meeting at the Kremlin was organized and announced that the Iranian nuclear issue would dominate the discussion.

At that time, however, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement a day ahead of the trip, informing the media of the visit, even though they were not invited to cover it.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1251804532464&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
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There’s no such thing as a Russian Sphere of Influence: There’s only a Zone of Terror for Former USSR Territories

 

 

A few hundred NATO troops held a half hearted exercise near Georgia, and now the Russians are holding a massive exercise in the Caucasus, that their own spokesman, compares favorably to the size and scope of military maneuvers in Soviet Days.  As you recall, the Russians attacked Georgia during the Olympics while Bush and Putin were watching the games in China.  The Georgians had requested NATO membership and had made it clear that they wanted to break with Russian dominance and go their own way as an independent country.  The Ukraine was in the same frame of mind and it’s clear that most of the former territories of the soviets would prefer to be separate and independent from the Russian colossus. Russia’s love for its former soviet era, which it now calls its “sphere of influence”, is clearly a case of unrequited love as the former territories have made clear to both the Russians and the world.  While the world, in theory, supports these aspirations; the EU and NATO have made it clear that they have no intentions of going to war to support their independence. European support is whatever can be had from empty words and European leaders cowering before the Criminal Empire of Vladimir Putin.  The United States, under George W. Bush, was far more verbose in supporting the Georgians and the Ukrainians and even the Polish who agreed, despite Russian Threats, to base an anti missile system in their country that had the Russians Seeing Red, if you’ll excuse the pun.  Bush made it clear that the Russians would not annex their old stomping grounds by crushing the dreams of independence of the Ukraine and Georgia or any of the other formerly subjugated territories.  Things were tense for a while with showy military moves by both Bush and Putin and much squirming and hand wringing by the NATO alliance and the EU.

Times have changed.

In the age of Obama we have a president who wouldn’t lift a finger to support the peoples uprising in Iran for fear of not being seen as sensitive to Islamic culture and as not respecting the regime of despotic clerics against whom the people were rioting.  The Kremlin has been watching with wonder, no doubt, as Obama ingratiates himself to Iranian leaders who hold him in open contempt while throwing traditional alleys like Israel and Egypt under the bus.  Obama has been so intent on “dialogue” with the tyrannical Iranian Regime that there’s no Arab/ Islamic backside in the Middle East he hasn’t kissed in the first six months of his presidency. He’s bowed and scraped before the Saudi King and he’s badmouthed the country he’s supposed to be leading throughout the region, all in the interests of respecting Islamic culture by holding our American culture in contempt. I’ll say it again: The Russians are Watching this Farce and once they’re sure that the naive community organizer from Chicago really believes the stuff that comes out of his mouth: how can they fail to realize that the time to reassemble the Soviet Empire, this time an openly Russian Empire, is now!  Obama, like his sophisticated European Counterparts, has no intention of stopping the expansion of the Russian Criminal Empire under Putin and the worst they would do is send a snotty diplomatic note!

So the Russians are having a very large and forceful military exercise in the Caucasus as the leaders of the former Soviet terror state look on with the horror that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu experienced when he realized that America’s first Black President would indeed abandon Israel. Just as Jimmy Carter made a disastrous mistake by letting the Shaw of Iran fall to the crazy Islamic clerics; so now Obama is setting a wide range of mistakes, as policy, that like Carters errors, will haunt us for decades.  I can imagine a time, coming soon, when Israel acts unilaterally to destroy the Iranian Nuclear Weapons program and midway through the crisis the Russians claim that Georgia fired a spitball at them and comes in to quell “anti Russian Terrorism” across the length and breadth of Georgia and Ukraine.  In their wake they’ll have iron clad mutual defense and economic treaties signed by newly installed leaders who are lap dogs of Putin. Those who strive for freedom from the Russian bear are in for a new wave of repression and tyranny from Russia just as certainly as Ahmadinejad will keep his job as the leader of the Islamic State of Iran.

When Putin realizes that Obama, and his socialist minions, have adopted a new American Isolationism with respect to the worlds thugs it’s a lead pipe cinch that he’ll reassemble the old Soviet Empire and get Obama to apologize to Putin for sending a snotty note. Obama is out to remake America in the image of Carl Marx and Malcolm X and his foreign policy will be, as the French President observed, naive and weak.  Putin would be crazy to let this opportunity pass him by.  Just watch.

Here’s a piece from Fox News about the Russian War Games:

Russia Holds Major War Games in Caucasus

Monday , June 29, 2009

 

 

Thousands of troops, backed by hundreds of tanks, artillery and other heavy weaponry, began rumbling through the North Caucasus on Monday, as Russia began its largest military exercises since last year’s war with Georgia.

The Caucasus 2009 war games are being seen by many experts as a warning shot for nearby Georgia, where the government says it has rearmed armed forces and where NATO recently wrapped up its own exercises.

Experts say the exercises may also be signal to the United States that Russia will give no ground on its efforts to maintain an exclusive sphere of influence in Georgia and other former Soviet republics. The games run through July 6 — the day that President Barack Obama arrives in Moscow for a highly anticipated summit with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.

Defense Ministry official say more than 8,500 troops will take part, along with nearly 200 tanks, armored vehicles, 100 artillery units and several units from Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet.

The exercises, which are being personally overseen by Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of Russia’s General Staff, are structured around a theoretical crisis situation that spirals out of control into open fighting, the ministry said.

Tensions remain high between Russia and Georgia, which lost authority over the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia during the war in August. Russia has been building military bases, storage facilities for supplies and roads in the two regions, which Moscow recognized as independent, and around 6,000 troops are based in each region.

Moscow has been openly hostile to Georgia’s ambitions to join NATO and has signaled that it would not tolerate any other ex-Soviet republics from joining the alliance.

Still, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has not backed down on his drive for NATO membership and his efforts to draw closer to the United States.

Last month, NATO wrapped up a month of its own training exercises in Georgia, though just a few hundreds troops participated. Despite the small size of the games, Russia was irked, calling them a provocation.

Deputy Defense Minister Col. Gen. Alexander Kolmakov was quoted by Russian media on Monday as saying that the Caucasus 2009 exercises were adjusted as a result of the NATO games and would be “quite major, as compared with those that were conducted in Soviet times.”

NATO and Russia over the weekend agreed to resume military ties that had been frozen after the Georgian war.

Eastern Europe Request for Help Ignored By the West: Russia will Inherit its Empire From Western Neglect

 

 

Economic pressures in Europe have begun to affect the stability of the European Union, especially the status of the old Soviet Client states who’ve yet to be grafted into the Euro Zone.  Angela Merkel, the German president, is unwilling to risk Germany’s strong financial position to help less prudent countries in the EU to say nothing of Eastern European nations that are now in economic free fall.  Across the continent the politicians across Europe strive to cover their butts and get re-elected by their nation states by flirting with protectionism that threatens the transnational European Union.  This lack of coherent policy for Europe as a whole has countries acting in their own national interests at the expense of Europe as a whole.  The strains are becoming apparent and threaten to rip the economic union apart unless some form of aid can be arraigned for weaker countries from stronger countries. 

Clearly if the European Union and the Euro is to be continued it will have to have to strengthen the EU at the expense of the nation states that comprise its members.  Concerted European action is needed to avoid protectionism and the myriad of familiar mistakes that can prolong economic distress if nations are allowed to defend only their own interests at the expense of collective interests. If these are indeed the end times this coming strengthening of the EU may well lay the ground work for the new Roman Empire predicted by the Bible in the last days.  In addition it seems to be a foregone conclusion that nations like Georgia and Ukraine and other ex soviet client states will be essentially ceded to the new Russian Empire that Putin seems intent of creating.

The Global Economic Storms are changing the face of Geo Politics on the globe into a more biblically correct alignment even as the United States adopts a suicidal socialism in place of the market capitalism that made her great.  The super weak EU model is going to have to be strengthened somehow and I dare say that this “crisis” will be the means for sweeping social change in Europe just as its being used by Democrats in Washington to usher in permanent Socialism in the USA.

Consider some clips from the International Herald

Economic crisis threatens the idea of one Europe

By STEVEN ERLANGER and STEPHEN CASTLE

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The leaders of the European Union gathered Sunday in Brussels for an emergency summit meeting designed to tamp down the centrifugal forces unleashed by the global economic crisis that threaten to spin the bloc – and its single currency – apart.

In a statement afterward, the leaders tried to reassure their publics, promising to hold to the single market, promote growth and reject protectionism.

A call from Hungary for a large bailout for newer, eastern members of the union was rejected by Germany, the richest EU nation, and received little support from other countries.

Europe may now be “whole and free” after the collapse of communism. But the European Union is not a country, and the deep global contraction is stimulating nationalism, not consensus.

With uncertain leadership and few powerful collective institutions, the union is struggling with the strains this economic crisis has inevitably produced among 27 different countries with different economic histories. The traditional concept of “solidarity,” of one for all, is being undermined by protectionist pressures from political leaders with national constituencies and agendas.

Klau of the European Council on Foreign Relations sees a worrying loss of faith in a certain brand of capitalism. “It’s politically dangerous there since they’ve just emerged from an ultra-regulated and stifling system, were confronted with shock therapy that created great hardship, and are just beginning to recover and stabilize,” Klau said. “Now they’re thrown back into an economic and political cauldron.”

And they are finding that their European partners are putting their own national interests ahead of “collective and necessary solidarity,” Klau said.

Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform, is more sanguine. “My expectation is that the euro zone countries, out of pure self interest, will bail each other out,” he said. “For Central and Eastern Europe, it is too early to say there won’t be solidarity. But non-EU countries in the east, particularly Ukraine, seem to be the No. 1 worry.”

Gog Rattles His Saber from North Pole: Russia wants Arctic Resources

 

While Russia sends submarines to plant Russian flags in the Arctic seaweed; President Obama is said to be preparing to propose an 80% cut to American and Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles.  In the backdrop the NATO alliance Secretary General wants NATO and Russia to practice joint search and rescue missions in an effort to build trust among the Arctic community. And the Russians?  The Russians are assuring everyone that they will “respond” to anyone that tries to “militarize” the Arctic.  The implication is that they will match any military units tit for tat, and perhaps a wee bit more, that find their way into the Arctic which the Russians have largely claimed as their own.

It makes sense that Russia would go after the Arctic because they have clearly been following a strategy of extending their influence over every oil producing region on earth.  They’re building new bases in the Middle East, supplying Iran with nuclear fuel, and reactors, (arguably fomenting a regional war in the Middle East)  having joint exercises with oil rich Venezuela and now have claimed the oil rich Arctic.  Russia is trying to gain a lock on world oil supplies as a matter of national policy and perhaps as a club to hold over the head of the west at some future time.

Consider the following article from Reuters: http://uk.reuters.com/article/gc07/idUKTRE51M3ES20090223?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0

Russia “will respond” to military moves in Arctic

“When there is a proposal, there will be a discussion,” Interfax quoted Makarov as saying. “It is much too early to speak about that now.”

Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:43am GMT

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will respond to any attempts to militarize the Arctic, the head of the country’s armed forces was quoted as saying on Monday during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

“Overall, we are looking at how far the region will be militarized. Depending on that, we’ll then decide what to do,” Interfax news agency quoted General Nikolai Makarov, the head of the General Staff, as saying.

Makarov was in the United Arab Emirates for an international arms fair.

Last month NATO Secretary-General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer suggested the alliance and its strategic rival Russia could mount joint search-and-rescue exercises in the oil and gas-rich Arctic region.

He also raised the question as to whether NATO should consider increasing its focus on the region, saying that it was necessary to build confidence and trust among the five Arctic states — four of which are NATO members and the other Russia.

Moscow has claimed jurisdiction over most of the Arctic and last year a Russian mini-submarine dived to the seabed and symbolically planted a Russian flag to claim it.

NATO members with Arctic Sea coastlines are Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark via Greeland.

Makarov also said Russia had not yet received any official proposals from Washington on significant cuts in strategic nuclear forces.

The Times of London reported earlier this month that President Barack Obama would convene ambitious arms reduction talks with Moscow, aiming to slash the number of intercontinental nuclear missiles on both sides by 80 percent.

Energy Wars II: Putin Disrupts Energy to Europe and Blames Ukraine

Its seems we’ve been down this road before.  It was the energy wars last summer that tipped us into dangerous economic times culminating in the subprime and banking meltdowns as people watched energy prices spiral out of sight.  With the global economic collapse, the price of energy has dropped like a rock, doing considerable damage to the economies of oil producing nations; especially the Russian Federation.  I can’t count how many times and how many days the Russian Stock Market had to close and how much damage has been done to the Ruble since the whole mess began but its doing more damage in Russia than the United States.  Granted that our turn may well come but the Russians are facing economic conditions that may challenge the stability of the Russian Government.  That’s pretty bad.

Now we’re in a position where the Russians, who feel they have nothing further to lose, are sticking it to the Europeans and blaming the Ukraine who, along with Georgia, may be the first couple of appetizers that Putin permits himself after Obama takes office on the 20th of January. The Russian Strongman says the Ukraine is stealing energy from the Russian pipeline and thus the integrity of their energy supply system to the rest of Europe is compromised.  Doubtless they’ll want to station Russian Troops soon to make sure the pipeline is not tapped so they can become a reliable energy supplier to Europe once the Ukrainian aggression is dealt with.  It’s for Europe’s own good and everyone is supposed to imagine a Europe where Russia didn’t keep the energy flowing.  Surely that’s worth the life of the Ukraine which everyone knows is Russian anyway.  (Just like Georgia is really Russia!) 

Putin has nothing to lose and potential civil unrest so he may as well do some territorial acquisition because he and Russia have already paid the price for the invasion of Georgia and perhaps for taking over Ukraine as well.  Taking some of the key former soviet assets like Ukraine and Georgia would do much to cement his strangle hold on European Energy supplies.  He might just figure that the economic and diplomatic fallout can’t get much worse so he may as well take over some countries for fun, and scare the pants of the Europeans and maybe scare oil prices back up, which can only help Russia.  What is Bush going to do in his last few weeks as President?  What’s Obama going to do other than exactly what guys like Sarkozy tell him?  In other words, why not finish what he started and just see if he can’t come out of this with higher oil prices, wipe the egg off his face and test Obama at the same time. Russia has nothing to lose by fomenting a war with Ukraine and perhaps Georgia at this time and everything to gain.

This event may well signal the resumption of the oil wars and Putin and his thugs are behind it.  The western economies are hurting and they’ll do anything to keep the energy flowing including turning a blind eye to the rape of Ukraine and Georgia.  That’s the bet that Russian Strongman Vladimir Putin is making and it would appear that it’s a good bet.  Europe won’t help Ukraine any more than it helped Georgia and Obama won’t do more than a stern diplomatic note that means nothing. 

Just when you thought energy was returning to sane levels it may well spike once again on significant threats to supply beginning in the Ukraine and perhaps spreading to the Middle East if the current war widens.  Here we go again.

Consider these clips from a Fox News Article and read the whole article at this URL:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,476565,00.html

 

At least two Bulgarian cities were totally without gas Tuesday, and nations like Turkey were turning to Iran to bolster their supplies, as a natural gas crisis looms over Europe after a contract dispute between Russia and Ukraine led Russia to shut off gas supplies to seven countries and reduce gas deliveries to several others.

The shortfalls came one day after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Alexei Miller, chief executive of the Russian state gas company Gazprom, to cut supplies shipped through Ukraine by amounts equal to those Russia claims Ukraine has “stolen,” AFP reported.

“Start reducing it from today,” Putin told Miller in a meeting at Putin’s residence.

Miller said the debt Ukraine owes Gazprom is still above $600 million, but said: “If they continue to illegally take gas it will soon be billions.”

In a sharp turnaround, the European Union blasted Russia and Ukraine, saying the sudden cutoff to some of its member countries was “completely unacceptable.” Just a day ago, the EU was trying to downplay any problems from the gas dispute.

The energy dispute sharply escalated Tuesday when six countries on the other end of the pipeline network running from Russia through Ukraine reported a complete shutoff. Russia supplies Europe with about a quarter of its gas, 80 percent of which is shipped through Ukraine.

Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey all reported a halt in gas shipments. Croatia said it was temporarily reducing supplies to industrial customers and urged consumers to use gas sparingly in their homes. Bulgaria said it had enough gas for only “for a few days.”

Moscow and Kiev, meanwhile, blamed each other. Naftogaz said Gazprom had sharply reduced its shipments to Europe through pipelines crossing Ukraine, triggering the cuts. Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas shipments intended for other nations.

Kiev denied it was stealing Russian gas. It said was using some of its own gas as fuel to transport the rest of the Russian gas to Europe. Naftogaz says Gazprom is obliged to provide this gas but is refusing.

The Armageddon Summary of September 15, 2008

 

 

When it rains it pours and right now it’s pouring over the entire United States of America. Consider the following facts as we confront them today:

·        The Stock Market lost over 500 points as the nation’s financial institutions pay for the subprime crisis and no end is in sight.  Our Economic Supremacy is the bases of our world leadership and even our military prowess.  The current financial crisis has the potential to remove us from superpower status overnight. It also has the potential to introduce a global currency or regulatory authority.

·        The Bible makes no clear mention of the USA in prophesy.  Biblical scholars have concluded that either we don’t exist or we’re part of the European New Roman Empire with Europe in the leading role and us in support prostitution.

·        The Russians have de facto control over the oil pipeline in Georgia that supplies Europe, friendly relations with Iran and a new military presence in the oil rich middle east and a potential naval base in the Persian Gulf, and is running naval exercises and parking a couple of nuclear capable Bear Bombers in Oil Rich Venezuela, in addition to claiming oil rich regions of the north pole.  

·        The United States is utterly dependant on Foreign Oil and our enemies can destroy our economy at will with any significant disruption of our oil supplies.  This has been clearly demonstrated by the recent oil crisis. The USA is still not drilling for new recourses and no action will be possible until after the election and maybe not then if Obama wins.

·        Russia is moving to reestablish the old soviet empire and intimidating former client states into re-assimilation while becoming increasingly hostile to the west in general and the USA in particular. The Bible suggest that Russia will get its empire back to fulfill its role in last days prophesy.

·        NATO was formed to keep the Russians in check and its badly splintered today by the diplomatic approach favored by Europe and the more hard line confrontational approach championed by the USA.

·        Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is forcing an attack by Israel or the USA or both that could come at any day now because a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel.

·        Israel has informed both Europe and America that they will attack unilaterally regardless of the outcome of elections and which party forms the new government. Most Israeli parties have signed off on the letter sent to the west.

·        The US dollar becomes more and more volatile and unstable.  Vast amounts of US Dollars are held by our enemies and they could potentially destroy our currency by selling them. Our central bank is persisting in rates much too low and that are bad for the value of the dollar.

·        Europe has the new Euro that gains in popularity and no one has a strangle hold on it.  Their central banks are defending against inflation. Europe is taking their medicine and we’re not.

·        The Chinese have embarked on a massive military buildup for years now and their gains in naval, space, and cyber warfare are very impressive.  They’ve developed an impressive ASAT capability and they have lots of troops and dollars and a booming economy.

·        The USA is badly over extended with a shrinking economy and the possibility that an enemy could flood the market with dollars and sink us without firing a shot.

Any way you slice it the USA is in a very fragile and precarious situation with multiple crises during the lame duck months of the outgoing Bush Administration and the ascendance of a likely Obama Administration.  John McCain has done well with his pick of Sarah Palin but this heightened financial crisis could give Obama the keys to the White House with less than two months to the election.  The plane truth is that we’re up to our eyebrows in alligators with no end in sight. 

Europe Calling the Shots on Russia Policy: America Taking a Backseat

The United States of America is alone in advocating a stronger response to Russian aggression in Georgia.  The European Union is in command of the crisis and its current President, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, is pursuing a diplomatic solution as is the consensus of the European Union. The Bush Administration simply had no meaningful support among its European Allies for a stronger response advocated by Vice President Dick Cheney. Germany and Italy championed the softer gentler approach and Europe lined up behind them.  Consider this quote from the International Herald Tribune:

 

 

WASHINGTON: The Bush administration, after considerable internal debate, has decided not to take direct punitive action against Russia for its conflict with Georgia, concluding that it has little leverage if it acts unilaterally and that it would be better off pressing for a chorus of international criticism to be led by Europe.

Even as they vowed to work with allies, administration officials conceded that they wished the European Union had been willing to take firmer action than issuing tepid statements criticizing Russia’s conduct. But the officials said the benefits of remaining part of a united front made it prudent for the United States to accept the softer approach advocated by Italy and Germany, among other allies.

Unfortunately the Russians announced today their plan to station more than 7000 troops in the two disputed areas which represents a significant increase from recent force levels.  While no one should doubt the persuasive powers of Sophisticated and Worldly European Diplomacy its said by Reuters that the negotiations between Russia and Sarkozy are a bit on the tempestuous side.  This is rather interesting because they agreed in negotiations to pull back their forces in the breakaway regions within a month and be replaced by a 200 member EU force that would be responsible for protecting Russia from Georgian attack. 

 

A French official said Monday’s talks were so stormy that Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, threatened to walk out when Russian negotiators tried to remove a reference to pre-conflict positions.

“At that moment, Sarkozy got up and said ‘We’re going. This is not negotiable,” the official said. The row blew over when Medvedev, who had left the room, returned and appealed for calm, the official said.

 

And so the crisis enters an arm twisting stage where the two sides play their games and the Russians keep the breakaway regions while the Europeans point to an agreement to return the breakaway regions at some nebulous point in the future.  A point that, needless to say, will never come; but provides cover for the EU to rationalize the new Normal. The United States becomes more and more low key and tries to retain Russian cooperation in the war on terror and the need to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program.  The Russians will doubtless launch a sort of charm offensive to try and attract global investors who’ve handed the Russian Markets a very nasty downturn of late.  The Georgians will get some aid from the US and be forced to reconsider the strength of NATO and its willingness to stick its neck out for former Soviet states.  The terrorists, the Russians, the Iranians and even the Venezuelans will have taken note how well the US was contained when the Oil prices spiked and their planners will be hard at work figuring out how to use this oil power in non self destructive ways. We’ll all pretend that Georgia continues to control the Black Sea Pipeline but it’s really the Russians who are in position to control it at a moment’s notice.  The Americans might but probably won’t get a naval base in the Black Sea and the Russians will get new bases in the Persian Gulf from Iran and in South America from Venezuela.  The “Crisis” will be normalized into a new status quo that bodes ill for the future of Europe as US influence in Europe fades away.