Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Bear is Back

In this case it's not the market I'm talking about. Russia is the subject and there is no doubt that they are back as a regional power and there is not much the US can do about it. George Friedman's Stratfor piece explores the ramifications of the Russia- Georgia conflict from multiple angles.

One of the first questions is how, given the massive quick Russian response to the Georgian invasion of S. Ossetia ( obviously the Russians had been prepared for this offensive for some time) could the US allow it's closest ally in the region to walk into such a trap? Was it a failure of intelligence or a misreading of Russian attitude and will? Either way-- not good. I thought Condi Rice was a Soviet expert. Maybe she is just another academic with no real world experience.

The end result is that Russia has shown the world that they are the boss in their neighborhood and that other former Soviet Republic states might now realize that the while the US is bogged down in battles in the Middle East we have nothing much to offer them other than empty words--- the old gum flapping routine. Forget about ant-missile defense sysems or additions to NATO. What I don't understand is this need for the US to continue to try to expand NATO. It would seem to be like spitting into Russia's face.

As of today Putin is stronger domestically and the Russians have reasserted their leadership of the region. Our European " friends" must wonder where their bread is buttered.They need Russia a hell of a lot more right now than they need the US ( energy supply) . How does this all play into what's coming soon -- the conflict with Iran. All in all another mess. W's inane comment about looking into Putin's eyes just speaks to his utter incompetence on the world stage. 1/20/09 can't come soon enough.

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