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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Quo Vadis, Caesar Vladimir Vladimirovich?

Via The Hill (h/t Drudge) we see that the Conqueror of Crimea is setting his imperial eyes on regions far removed from Russia's traditional Near Abroad,
Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn. 
To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.

Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.

“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.” 
Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America. 
“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.
I have written before that while we announce the end of the Monroe Doctrine, Russia announces that it seeks military facilities in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. All three of those regimes, by the way, are shining examples of what happens when the USA behaves in a weak and confused manner, especially in a region of vital concern to us.

I am no genius, and don't play one on the internet or anywhere else. It does not require a genius to see what is happening in the post-USA world of the Obamistas. Other actors, many of them ruthless opponents of Western values of democracy and liberty, are stepping in to fill the power vacuum and reshape the world--and do it while laughing at us. Of these actors, Putin is the most determined and committed to reforming the globe into a place much less congenial for those Western values, and much friendlier to Russia's rise to the top. His plan is exceedingly simple. No Snowden-like revelations required. Taking advantage of the weakness and self-loathing of the Obama misadministration, Putin is out to neutralize Europe and make it into an economic resource for Russia, e.g., gas sales, investments, access to high tech, and to ease the US out of the picture. NATO is to be seen for what it increasingly has become, to wit, a joke.

With his cost-free move in Crimea, Putin has put on notice all the former republics of the old Soviet Empire. Their freedom of action is severely constrained; they must never go against the perceived interests of Russia OR of Russians. He is reasserting Moscow's predominance over the "Stans" aided by our precipitous withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Middle East, Putin is the savior of his Assad ally in Syria, and a behind-the-scenes force in getting the US and the West to give up on blocking Iran's nuclear ambitions. His steadfastness in backing Assad stands in sharp contrast to our treatment of Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian military, our needless sacrifice of Qaddafi, and our relentless pressure on Israel to cave to ever-shifting "Palestinian" demands. In East Asia, our fecklessness in dealing with the threat from North Korea, and our weakness in the face of China does not pass unnoticed. Putin is out to show East Asia that the US is not a reliable partner and that those nations would be better off reconsidering their alignments. Correction: Putin does not really need to do this; Obama is doing it on his own, projecting weakness and lack of seriousness when it comes to economic and military subjects, and by sending his idiotic wife to lecture elite Chinese high school students on the need for education.

Putin, Maduro, Rouhani, Castro, et al, see the US refusing to take the measures that would lead to a reassertion of superpower status, e.g., frack, undo military budget cuts, free our economy of regulatory shackles, and, apparently rightly so, have decided that the US no longer wants to be a superpower. We are content not only to watch but to fund the rise of our enemies.

Putin has seen his opportunity and he is taking it. We, however, seem more inspired in our reactions not by Winston Churchill, or Teddy Roosevelt, but by crazy 19th century Bolivian dictator Mariano Melgarejo who sent his troops to invade Europe but when he found out how far it was to the Old World, decided to fire a cannonade in Europe's direction, instead.


47 comments:

  1. Putin has free reign until 2016. If Hillary gets in because "It's time for a female president",we are doomed. I would seriously start consider going all "Prepper" should that happen. I may live to see the end of the Republic. What an awful thought.




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    1. It took a surprisingly long time for the Roman Empire to fall. So it may be with us.

      And all the way down, the hipster government will be *so* sure we aren't going in the wrong direction.

      Delete
  2. Mr Diplomad,
    Right you are...
    and it is a sad...sad time for America wittness their ship going down sabotaged by its own...
    we can cheer, yell and scream until our voice boxes refuse to work, but it is not going to change anything until like the Crimeans we will demand change...
    can we do it?
    ...I am sure we can...maybe after next meal will become matter of life and death...literally...

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  3. Dear Diplomad,
    I am wondering what can be done to protect the Baltic countries from Putin. There are so many good people there and those countries really have suffered enough. As I recall Solzhenitsyn had good Estonian friends in the camps and wrote at one point that he had never met a bad Estonian.
    Maybe Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania need tactical nuclear weapons under their own control from some source. Israel? India? Such a strange thought for what are quite peaceful small countries.

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    1. Think big, Mr. Mous. I am wondering what can be done (in the long run) to protect the United States of America.

      The Baltic countries are as good as gone, long suffering though they have been. No one is going to give them nuclear weapons--and suffer the joint revenge of Russia and Obama's America.

      Delete
    2. Here is Fred Kagan in 2008 after the Georgia invasion, advocating Patriot missile defense systems and anti-tank weapons for the Baltic countries.
      http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2008/08/defending-baltic-states.html
      Prescient.

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    3. India has a long tradition of seeing Russia (or, back then, the Soviet Union) as a useful counterbalance to the USA. I don't think they'd stick their necks out for the Baltics.

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    4. We sent Biden to Europe to ensure them.
      What more do you want?
      (sarc)

      Delete
  4. Well Mr. Mad,
    It really has come to an unreal place. The picture I saw of S. Power at the UN berating V. Churkin while his staff publicly laughs in her face kind of says it all. The look on Churkin's face is priceless and I'd love to know his thoughts (I bet I've got a good idea) at that moment.

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  5. We do Sr. Melgarejo one better. We may even acknowledge that the bad guys win--but we are sure that many generations hence they will be seen to have been wrong.

    I haven't figured out (1) why "we" are so confident or (2) why that matters even if true.

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  6. Sad to say that our elected officials in both parties are complicit in the collapse of American prestige. At some point our economic house of cards will collapse and the rest of the world will laugh at our stupidity. Who can respect a country that doesn't even have the political will to protect and defend its own interests? We've got too many elites walking around in endless circles, regurgitating partisan drivel or high from academia-produced ether, that they don't even see the cliff up ahead. Between the neocon democracy delusions on the right and the far-left "responsibility to protect" Jello-chasers in this WH, it sure feels like we're doomed some days.

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    1. The language being tossed about is alarmingly similar to that preceding WWII. All this talk about how the aggressors are simply "out-dated", "backwards", "last century actors", it's like Chamberlain on repeat.
      "Hey... it's not they're fault, they're just innately aggressive and we have to give them their 'breathing room'."

      Whatever. It's not clear to me at all that we had much reason to be involved, it just sucks that even if we did, we wouldn't be able to.

      What will save the baltics? The US upping energy production by 10x.

      The administration has to realize that what other people do is not simply tied to what this administration will think of their actions. They're entirely too America-centered in a *bad* way.

      - reader #1482

      - reader #1482

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    2. Hi again, 'belle and '82.

      The "of both parties" refrain doesn't get me. The Republicans suck significantly. The Democrats suck infinitely. Plus which, the Republicans are the only significant obstacle to the Democrats--the only hope we have. Like it or lump it.

      The US will up energy production by 10X over Obama's undead body. If the cost of preventing that ecological horror (!!) is Russian conquest of the Baltics, he can contentedly live with Russian conquest of the Baltics. Sigh.

      Delete
  7. Commiserations Dip,
    I unfortunately believe that I am seeing the demise of Pax American occurring before my very eyes in just a few short weeks.

    Another conservative writer, Peter Hitchens in the Mail, gives different perspective but draws a similar conclusion and itemises the many follies of the West let alone the perfidy of Albion. http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2014/03/who-is-the-aggressor-some-thoughts-on-the-continuing-crisis.html
    The link in the article to the British Ambassadors summary written 15 years ago is all too prescient.
    https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/bringingrussiain/#.Uywmuqh_t8F

    I believe you are correct in your depiction of your current President however your recent solution of deploying American economic power while rational and effective it seems to be unlikely given the Alinskyites and Gramcians that have befallen your republic and you could have little joy in the prospect of the Clinton dynasty continuing. Combine the Russia deployments and support of anti-democratic regimes (anti- anglsopshere) with the Chinese Military and Naval expansion along with the supine nature of the US Presidential incumbent the world has become much less safer place.

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  8. OT, I know, but one of the online Chinese-language news sources my diplowife reads ran a story on how guests in a Chinese hotel found Obama's Mother-in-law loud and obnoxious.

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  9. Well said, Sir.

    When reading this brilliant analyze of yours, I came to think of this masterpiece of an article by Lieutenant General Sir John Bagot Glubb (1897-1986):

    "The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival" from 1976 (24 pages):

    http://www.rexresearch.com/glubb/glubb-empire.pdf

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    Replies
    1. Fate of Empires, absolutely fascinating. 250 is looking like a number to be wary of!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Sundling for this great link - already forwarded it to several friends. This is an amazing big picture world history view (scary too).

      Delete
    3. I cannot myself find it in my heart to read without prejudice any product of Glubb Pasha, may his name be a curse, who did so much to kill Israel in its cradle.

      Delete
  10. Now we have the Secretary General of the UN - Bonking at Noon - telling the Ukrainians that he morally supports them. Not that the UN could do anything if it wanted to. Vlad the Impaler must be quaking in his boots.

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  11. kepha - regarding the mother-wookie - I've stayed long-term in Bejing hotels, and the people running them are typically very good at what they do. I 'spect they are simply dealing with typical neveau-trash-behavior and not having seen it before can't believe what they are seeing from the supposed f(w)orst family.
    AFA the obumble foreign policy goes, occam's razor says if this administration's actions were stupid rather than deliberate what would they be doing different?

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  12. As a creature with a very deep case of Cold War Mentality myself, I am naturally alarmed at any Russian expansion. I've had my dealings with them in Eastern Europe at the mid point of the Cold War and also in Central America in the late 1970s. Mad Vlad's Russia is not the USSR. He seems to be relying on his barely functioning economy and its problematic currency to fund his chasing of past "glories". If he intends to absorb the nearby Ukraine with its deeply in debt economy---in debt to Moscow-- then he has a very large basket case economy in his sights. Absorbing them won't help either economy. Crimea is pretty much gone but it was a basket case economy within a larger basket case of Ukraine. More parasites on a weak Russian economy. Nearby Belarus is not much better off and it is attached to Moscow as it practically never left if their leadership is any indication. This leaves Poland and the Baltic states, all within NATO. Putin may be angling to test NATO at some point but not just yet. He will have enough trouble with struggling non-democratic countries. The Caucasus region is watching and probably waiting for their chance to make trouble for Russia.

    What the West is looking for is leadership--for the moment there is none-- but then leadership by whom? The usual answer is not playing at the moment, and if it was, then it is leadership of whom to do what? The largest 3 economies in Europe have deep economic ties within Russia and Russian Oligarchs have made deep investments in those 3 economies as well as others to secure their ill gotten fortunes. Twenty five to thirty billion British pounds invested in the City of London while Britain has nearly double that invested in Russia. Germany has deep ties within Russia over natural resources trade.

    I am alarmed by the idea of new Russian expansion into the Western hemisphere but the locales mentioned...Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are old news. Cuba is a perennial parasite of Moscow in the past and Venezuela today. Venezuela is a wealthy broke country and is pretty much out of everybody else's money. Nicaragua is among the very poorest countries in the entire region. It costs money for Russia to maintain bases that far off just to show the flag with no return on investment. Latin America's only chance for prosperity lies with cleaning up its non democratic members already mentioned plus a few more and casting their lot with their democratic neighbors as well as North America.

    Mad Vlad may hear the glorious anthems of the past but he has little means to accomplish them. The farther he ventures from home, the more home will take advantage of his divided attention. My CWM and I are not ready to toss in the towel. Not by a long shot. The Russian fly may just capture the fly paper.

    Sorry for the length of this rant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Mad Vlad may hear the glorious anthems of the past but he has little means to accomplish them."

      I don't know Whitewall Mad Vlad necessarily thinks he need actually accomplish anything of substance.

      And frankly where these maneuvers are taking place all that's really necessary to fry the fish he "apparently" [I haven't a real good grip on what he could possibly hope to accomplish given all are indeed basket-cases] "wants to fry"

      Indeed I tend to think all he really wants to do (for now) is to distract ie, rattle us. His real fish is securing his Near Abroad. He (and the regimes in Cuba, Venezuela) all must realize "we" can (if "we" don't get rattled) do pretty much as he did in Crimea.

      I used to wonder whether the folks currently holding the reins of "our" power projection were either truly malevolent or just incompetent. I'm tending these days to the latter. Adding a few Russkis to the Magnitsky List (at least I'm reckoning that to be how "our" sanctioning is being done) is Silly in the context of Crimea. I mean Treasury must know skirting sanctions are a few wire transfer clicks of the mouse close as the nearest laptop.

      However - the rattles of a saber in Havana can easily be carried on the trade winds blowing toward DC. Lets hope the bunglers in chief don't mistake us into a real anniversary by sending Seal Team Six into the Ukraine to take out some VIP.

      Be just our luck the VIP will have in his family tree an Archduke.

      Ark

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    2. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/12/22/the_coming_venezuela_missile_crisis_108312.html

      From December 2010 - I'm getting as bad as you, Arkie, with the links, lol. Guess the rest of America must be in a deep sleep, missing all the exciting power plays the Russians have been orchestrating.

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    3. Thanks for the link LB.

      Admittedly I don't pay much attention to stuff south of Mexico (and even there about all I've done is "helped" with id'ing weapons - the autos I think I've mentioned here looked to be supplied by the Iranians most likely via Venezuela - Quds Force I thought).

      Lets hope the Israelis are maintaining their diplo channels with the Russians ... *hopefully* our "experts" are aware of that just in case *somebody* figures out it might be a good thing to "back-channel us" out of this mess.

      Of course the Israeli diplos will need to settle their strike - the sooner the better.

      Arkie

      (In case anybody's forgot what the two have in common and why ...

      "Putin's Visit and Israeli-Russian Relations is republished with permission of Stratfor."

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    4. Not sleep, ma belle: self-induced coma.

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  13. Just thought it appropriate to drop in a "Thanks Diplomad" & to note 'Patience Arkie, patience' is a good thing as regards questions I pose here.

    Some posts back I asked if "that ship in Cuba have anything to do with Venezuela?" (and dropped in the link noting Russians visiting Disneygrad).

    Thank you Sir.

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  14. The gov corruption has been deepening since the before the beginning of the 20th C. & w/ the bogus War on Terror the entire Central US Gov has gone rogue and is a murderous collection of immorality & greed to such an extent it allows a Putin to look like a hero & yet the NeoCons/Bolsheviks screech & threaten everyone that points to the actual cause of our country's dissolution.

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    Replies
    1. beginning of the 20th century was a very long time ago indeed.

      Delete
  15. Dear Dip,
    I feel as if I have been transported to an alternate universe. In 1982 we were stationed outside Nuremberg, Germany. My husband, an Army aviator and officer, took over a big command of a until of Air Cav who flew the border between what was then, W. Germany and East Germany, and West Germany and then Czechoslovakia. It was not a border composed of a mall but pilots memorized the route and were tested often. His mission was to prevent incursion from the Soviets. It was a dangerous time and we dealt with terrorism, Gaddafi, and so many other stomach churning times.
    We have a feckless President, determined to lose war on two fronts (Iraq, already lost by him, and Afghanistan, in the process. And if he could he would secede this entire country to our enemies. I understand why veterans shake their heads, because they fought to keep our freedom and it is being given to despots and brigands.
    I salute you, Sir, for your perspective.
    Blessings,
    EastTexasRancher

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  16. A voice from Germany: Sie haben in Ihrer Beschreibung der Situation vollkommen recht. Danke schön für diese Post.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, and keep reading.

      Delete
  17. If America can have bases all over the world, why can't we have a few in Latin America?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Whitewall. I thought I was the confused.

      Ark

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    2. By we I mean Russian people

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    3. Running pipelines across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from Venezuela to [where, Calais? - better yet Normandy?] the EU might even get ... our current MisAdministration's attention.

      Heck. Go for it.

      Arkie

      Delete
  18. Ah, Mr Mous, now I can answer. Our country did not kill 20 to 80 million of its own people, nor support the Shining Path in Peru, a truly vicious terrorist organization, nor a host of murderous thugs. Throw back at me ay rationalization you wish, the numbers do not lie. The US used to act in our own interest, but, again, the numbers show that we defend people's lives and liberties, and the Russians have, historically, not. The world needs to be defended from the Russians. The despots need to be defended from the US. That's why not.

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  19. This comment rightly belongs under a former posting - but I think it is important enough to add here. It summarizes (it would seem) all that Diplomad has been telling us.

    Certainly it applies to the likes of Samantha Power, the down-low halfrican, David Camoron, and all the affirmative-action hires PRACTISING foreign relations

    http://20committee.com/2014/03/16/nobody-knows-anything/

    The world has learned that a treaty signed by the USA and/or EU is worthless, and that a powerful military with self-imposed terms of engagement is weaker than a few hundred ill-equipped mujahadeen. What is there to fear, that you may be "brought to justice" after murdering a US ambassador? Just ignore FBI requests for permission to investigate and the down-low halfrican will slink away humiliated.

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    1. Hey Cascadian, you been digging around in my bookmarked sites?

      (I suppose I'd best say that while there's a lot John says I agree with, there's a lot I don't.

      Mr. Amselem on the other hand, is hard to disagree with. Not impossible mind, but ...

      I think the difference is, Diplomad - knows how to carry on conversations with plumbers, east Texas ranchers, Canadians, Aussies, the occasional blog-reading Russian ... and courteously ignore "mil-wits" ... or at least, gets around to it as he sees fit.

      Here's what I mean by saying Dip knows how to speak to plumbers:

      http://theamericanscholar.org/the-disadvantages-of-an-elite-education/#.UzCr2LdOWM9

      That's 'Pre-Obamarama' Summer 2008.)

      Arkie

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    2. Might need to drop the stuff past the n, ending 'education' ... problems with my preferred Search Engine at any rate.

      http://theamericanscholar.org/the-disadvantages-of-an-elite-education

      Ark

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  20. I'm starting to see reports (NOT from the Onion) that Obama is planning to stop Tomahawk and Hellfire production by 2016.
    I am having trouble imagining any POTUS (including The One) who would so thoroughly neuter the US Navy.
    Add to it the rumors floating in the hall of NAVSEA the George Washington (CVN) will be decomed instead of refueled)...

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    1. KellyJ?

      The Tomahawk (both the TLAM & TASM variants) are funded through 2019. Raytheon wasn't affected - so far as I can see - in the newly proposed DoD spending "cuts."

      I don't keep up with the Hellfire systems but I should think, The One at least seems to be "fond" of UAVs and without Hellfires what would be the utility of UAVs? Traffic monitoring on US highways?

      Alas the scuttlebutt re CVN-73 is ... disquieting.

      Arkie

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    2. *Hellfires (I only know where to get Navy stuff) but it appears indeed that missile's acquisition will drop to zero in 2015. Page 12

      http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/FMB/15pres/DON_PB15_Press_Brief.pdf

      Ark

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    3. Sequestration is quite unpleasant, but then so is living within a budget...
      It would surprise me if certain decisions were slanted for political effect: "Ooops... due to some unintelligent choices we're determined to make, sequestration is going to wind up with us becoming defenseless, how are you feeling now about that legislation for importing more Democrat voters from abroad?"

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  21. Last time I looked, "Tsar / Czar" was a "Russification" of the Latin "Caesar".

    Your etymological mileage may vary.

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  22. I am not sure just how "incompetent" this administration is. I think they have a natural sympathy for all things leftist and totalitarian and antipathy toward all things not. The real enemy is the opposition in this country. They have been remarkably cunning and effective in destroying private enterprise, the middle class, the dollar, transparent elections, and our liberties. I know I am a little late to the party, but this post is still worth sharing.

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