Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Russia's Great-Power Problem | The National Interest

Those who may have hoped to hear a conciliatory message from President Putin at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi last week were disappointed. The speech was almost immediately dubbed Munich II—both in Russia and in the West. Putin appeared a wartime president, defying the U.S.-dominated global system, and supremely self-confident. He did talk about the need to agree on common global rules of the game and the relevant mechanisms for enforcing them, but this part of his remarks sounded like Sunday preaching. Basically, he demanded that the United States learn the art of self-limitation, make room for others in this world and mind its own business.

Emotionally, the centerpiece of Putin’s intervention was the lack of respect in the West for Russia and its interests: a recurrent theme with him for the better half of the decade. Essentially, he told the international audience of scholars and journalists: when Russia called itself the Soviet Union, was arming itself to the teeth with nuclear weapons and had leaders like Nikita Khrushchev, who famously banged his shoe at the UN General Assembly and came close to banging the United States with nuclear-tipped missiles, Moscow was respected, and its interests taken into account—if anything, out of fear. Now that Russia has shed communism, gotten off the backs of a dozen satellites, allowed its own fourteen borderlands to form independent states; embraced capitalism and begun moving toward democracy, its interests are being wholly ignored.

This diagnosis is generally correct, but the analysis needs to go deeper. Putin, a self-avowed student of history and a champion of the Westphalian tradition in international relations, certainly understands that the balance of interests—a phrase he should not have borrowed from Mikhail Gorbachev—rests on the balance of power or equivalent. This, by the way, is well understood in Beijing, where I heard—also last week—that the talk of multipolarity is just talk, for the lack, now or in the foreseeable future, of multiple poles. In reality, the world was moving toward new bipolarity, this time between the United States and China, with all other countries aligning themselves with either of the two poles. Thus, Europe and Japan would side with the United States; and Russia would go to China.

The way the Chinese see it, Russia is not an all-round “major power.” It has territory, resources and a sizable nuclear arsenal, for all that is worth today, but it lacks real economic strength. Unless it deals with this massive deficiency, Russia will not be able to play in the global top league. And, given the present circumstances, it will have nowhere to go other than to China. Exit Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok; enter Greater Asia from Shanghai to St. Petersburg.

Complete story at - Russia's Great-Power Problem | The National Interest

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is EAE0QAAIBAgMDBwULCAcJAAAAAAABAgMRBBIhBTFRBhMiQWFxkTKBobGyByNCUmJyc5KjwdEUFRYzRFNjdCQ0Q4Kz4fElZHWDk6LS4vD  Subject is russian flag

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments subject to moderation.

Recommended Reading via Amazon

If you're seeking more information about how the world really works, and not how the media would want you to believe it works, these books are a good start. These are all highly recommended.

If you don't see pictures above, you likely have an adblocker running.  If so, here are the links.

1. The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein
2. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - John Perkins
3. Manufacturing Consent - Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky
4. Gladio - NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe - Richard Cottrell
5. Profit Over People - Noam Chomsky
6. Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives - Stephen Cohen
7. The Divide - American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap - Matt Taibbi

How this works.  Follow one of the links.  Should you decide to buy that item, or any item, I get a small percentage, which helps to maintain this site.  Your cost is the same, whether you buy from my link or not.  But if the item remains in the cart too long, I don't get a thing.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...