Well Calculated Moves

I was commenting at Winds of Change and some one asked if Bush had thought through his moves:

And, of course, it helps to think through what comes next.
Obviously given the moves and counter moves going on Russia has thought though its actions to the last decimal point and is advancing its position internationally.

1. Poland gets an anti-missile defense.
2. Ukraine is working to expel the Russians from the Black sea.
3. Ukraine and Poland get mutual defense pacts with the US.
4. Its international prestige declines hourly.
5. It has made abundantly clear that doing business with it is a very risky proposition.
6. Its population is declining 1/2% a year
7. Its birth rate is 1.4 - replacement rate is 2.1
8. It exports its women - brides and white slavery

And it is not over yet.

As Canaris said to a Spanish diplomat who asked a similar question about Germany's leader of the time: "Calculated nothing at all."

The next question of course is what happens when Russia cuts off Europe's gas and oil?

My take on all this - Russian oil output is on the decline with the expulsion of Western oil companies. It has to conquer or die. Germany 1939. Japan 1941.

My guess? Russia is bluffing and its bluff has been called.


And of its arsenal of nuclear tipped missiles - how many will work when fired? As many as 30%? 50%? Or 10%?

When you bluff it is wisest not to let your opponent see your cards. i.e. had Russia pulled out after its initial depredations it might have kept its credibility intact. Now it has to show its cards or fold. Bush is calling their bluff.

Had Europe in the run up to WW2 stood firm on Czechoslovakia or Austria resisted the Anschluss, a general war in Europe might well have been avoided. I believe that is the motivation behind current events. Once you let the little guys get picked off it then comes to a bigger war not too much later.

"Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war." Winston Churchill

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 08.16.08 at 04:46 AM


Don't forget 9. Brain drain.

In a way Russia's power as an energy broker is (was) now at its peak. The following developments threaten that:
-pipeline through Georgia,
-Iraq becomes more stable and can increase oil production as well host a pipeline together with Turkey,
-high energy prices and solid science reduce green / global warming hysteria, enabling more coal and nuclear plants.

Poland, Ukraine, Baltics, Georgia were already trending away from Russia.

With this move on Georgia Russia has short-term consolidated its energy power over Europe, but damaged its long-term chances.

Sadly enough Putin seems to have little plans for Russias power and wealth except 'hear me roar'. Still, we do not want to reach the point where Russia thinks the West a greater threat to its future than a nuclear Iran.

Daran   ·  August 16, 2008 7:50 AM

It's always been my opinion that history will be kind to George Bush. Events in Iraq and now possibly Russia show the rehabilitation has already started.

It still amazes me when such resource rich countries manage so little real advantage from their resources, even in times like this when their leverage is greatest. It's always been this way in Africa, I've come to expect the Arab tendency to squander advantage, but Russia is as bad as any of them and it should know better.

tim maguire   ·  August 16, 2008 8:33 AM


500 years of culture are not erased in a 20 year eye blink.

Russians have never been good at grand strategy. They understand the stick. The carrot was never one of their tools.

And a you and daran allude to: exporting brides and whores is not a long term solution to decline. It only accelerates the decline.

BTW daran,

Iran and Russia are currently part of the same team.

M. Simon   ·  August 16, 2008 10:31 AM

With my Russia remark, I was thinking about the hundreds of years of looking west and trying to be more European. But you're right--500 years of trying and failing is still 500 years of trying and failing.

tim maguire   ·  August 16, 2008 11:06 AM

I doubt very much whether Russia and Iran consider themselves on the same team. However, some of their goals overlap (goals they seem to share to a certain extend with China, France).

The ruling elite of a resource rich nation does not have to develop on a social/industrial/intellectual level in order to keep/gain wealth and power, and allowing such developments are usually seen as dangerous for the existing rulers. A pet theory of mine is that crony capitalism leads to democracy as the owners try to develop their human capital.

Daran   ·  August 16, 2008 12:50 PM

Putin is trying to do what Hussein did, get the U.S. to invade and conquer the place. Saddam did it because he was suicidal thanks to Gulf War One. Vlad is doing it because he knows damn well Russia can't do it herself, and needs America's help to get straightened out. In order to save the village he needs to let the enemy have it.

But the pundits aren't helping any, because they're too stupid to see that Russia today is not the Soviet Union of old, and ton proud to admit the Soviet Union of Old was never the Soviet Union of Old. (cf Jerry "Golly Mr. Goring" Pournelle)

Alan Kellogg   ·  August 17, 2008 3:54 AM

Post a comment

April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits