Posted by Ivan Rendall on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 in Blogging
So, Putin wants to regress to the Soviet Union. Maybe he wants to be selective about which aspects of it he wants to go mack to, in particular the power of the executive of the CP, the borders, the sphere of influence, the Warsaw Pact, but has he thought through the reality namely that it would also mean back to the Cold War (though in a much hotter context especially with China in the mix now as well) back to the 20% + of GDP on defence related matters, a Star Wars competition with US not to mention a much lower standard of living for New Soviet citizens as they return to being part of the old Second World, or “Upper Volta with rockets”.
It’s all getting a bit daft. While I don’t imagine most Russian people want to sacrifice their identity on the pyre of pointless consumerism, nor would they want a return to the command economy and social system of 1945-92. The American skilled workforce, on the other hand, might just love a new NSA69 and a fully new, digital military-industrial complex and a boost to employment which was the hallmark of the Cold War for them.
Putin is doing what he can to swagger at the moment but standing ovation in the Duma or not, he’s doing it because he’s weak, not strong. The problem is so are his western opposite numbers, and what happens when weak people are in charge?
Strong people rise to the surface but they are rarely very agreeable people.
Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande need to stop chatting and quietly move some troops, aircraft, ships, satellites etc around the chessboard, give Putin some difficult conundrums to wrap his brain around, keep him guessing, try and trip him up in a way that costs money, not lives.
He’s getting a lot of what he wants at the moment, but he needs a crisis to get it.
WE HAVE TO BE BOTH CLEVERER AND MORE RUTHLESS AND ACT MORE THAN TALK.