Russia not prObama

From Russia prObama (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog):

ARTICLE: Russia Ready to Cooperate With US on Afghanistan, AP, January 23, 2009

More nice signaling.

Remember my bit about everything suddenly becoming 50 percent off the top when Bush-Cheney leaves office?

Four days later:

At any rate, within a day of Petraeus’ remark, Moscow corrected him. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Maslov told Itar-Tass, “No official documents were submitted to Russia’s permanent mission in NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] certifying that Russia had authorized the United States and NATO to transport military supplies across the country.”

A day later, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, added from Brussels, “We know nothing of Russia’s alleged agreement of military transit of Americans or NATO at large. There had been suggestions of the sort, but they were not formalized.” And, with a touch of irony, Rogozin insisted Russia wanted the military alliance to succeed in Afghanistan.

“I can responsibly say that in the event of NATO’s defeat in Afghanistan, fundamentalists who are inspired by this victory will set their eyes on the north. First they will hit Tajikistan, then they will try to break into Uzbekistan … If things turn out badly, in about 10 years, our boys will have to fight well-armed and well-organized Islamists somewhere in Kazakhstan,” the popular Moscow-politician turned diplomat added.

Russian experts have let it be known that Moscow views with disquiet the US’s recent overtures to Central Asian countries regarding bilateral transit treaties with them which exclude Russia. Agreements have been reached with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Moscow feels the US is pressing ahead with a new Caspian transit route which involves the dispatch of shipments via Georgia to Azerbaijan and thereon to the Kazakh harbor of Aktau and across the Uzbek territory to Amu Darya and northern Afghanistan.

Instead of hoping for change from Putin, better to recognize him as the man who broke Russia’s soft power and ended Russia’s economic reforms.

While Putin has proved himself to be an able domestic politician, and capable of effective flattery, Putin is not prObama, prohOpe, or proChange. He’s pro-Putin.

6 thoughts on “Russia not prObama”

  1. Shawn in Melbourne,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    From Real Clear World today, two related articles:

    “Russia: Not Swept Up in Obama-Mania” [1]
    “Russian pipelines threaten Europe’s Nabucco -EU” [2]

    Russia was erratic when the price of oil was high, and is still erratic now that the price of oil is low. Changing oil prices, electing Barack Obama, even signing a treaty [3] won’t fix this: the problem is Putin and his regime, who wish to use oil and natural gas wealth to make Russia into an Ecuador or a Venezuela (completely independent from the world — as long as oil and natural gas prices are high.)


  2. If it’s any consolation they’ve backed off laying down missiles on the Polish border siting Obama’s lack of immediacy at continuing the US missile shield.

    A bit off topic but,

    “First they will hit Tajikistan, then they will try to break into Uzbekistan”

    Yeah, I don’t see the Uzbek’s nor the Tajik’s ushering in the Pashtun Taliban anytime soon.

  3. In the current Google News search for ‘Russia,’ the first story is the Russian agreement not to put missiles in eastern Europe (good), the second is Russian plans to put a naval base in occupied Georgia (bad) [1], the third is Putin insisting that Russia’s energy sector is open to foreign investment (disingenuous) [2].

    So this ‘consolation’ from Russia is nothing more than what Pakistan, Venezuela, or any broken state in the Gap could offer.


  4. Thanks for replying, Dan.

    Actually, I didn’t mean to imply that their erratic behaviour was only recent, but I believe there was a thickened layer of bullying confidence and/or arrogance while the oil price was at its peak prior to the financial collapse.

  5. Definitely.

    A story in today’s New York Times outlines this quite well, including Putin’s hyperfocus on Gazprom, including a deal Putin made that makes Russia pay twice the market rate for gas from Turkmenistan. [1]

    The article is well-worth-reading, though this detail sticks out in my memory:

    As far back as 1997, while serving as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin earned a graduate degree in economics, writing his thesis on the economics of natural resources.

    Later, when scholars at the Brookings Institution analyzed the text, they found 16 pages had been copied without attribution from a 1978 American business school textbook called “Strategic Planning and Policy,” by David I. Cleland and William R. King of the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Putin has declined to comment on the allegation.

    Tellingly, the passages they say were plagiarized relate to the indispensable role of a chief executive in planning within a corporation — the need for one man to have strategic vision and control.


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