Russia up, USA down?

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Patrick Armstrong, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    (Don't ask what happened to the format on this -- I don't know)
    This thread connects somewhat the one on Obama cancelling meeting with Putin in which discussion moved into the big girl's blouse question.

    I find this particular site refreshing -- it is conservative but does not have that reflexive Russia is the Main Enemy and Putin is a Monster slant that so much of the Rightosphere has.


    From the title I expected this sort of thing: “Dangerous Times: Russia Rising in the Middle East
    But quite different. It’s Obama-bashing (IMO a lot of what we see in the Rightosphere as Russia-bashing is really Obama-bashing: Obama is such a nincompoop that he allows Brutal Putin to mug him) but this is something different.
    In the absence of American strength and reliability, all the players are turning to Russia, which is emerging:
    ● as a vocal defender of Christianity against Muslim persecution around the world;
    ● as a plausible peacemaker in the Middle East, with far better relationships with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria than America has today;
    ● as the monopoly natural gas supplier for Germany, with the consent of the Franco-German axis;
    ● as the only country with a credible a nuclear umbrella to protect its friends and deter its enemies;
    ● as a country that understands the value of relatively free markets -- witness the 14% flat tax Putin just introduced in Russia.
    Apart from 13% and not recently, not too wrong. Still a zero-sum outlook (ie no thought that Moscow and Washington might work together) but an interesting take.
    Also, BTW, the only time I can remember when a conservative has noticed the flat tax and its immediate success. (Something to imitate from Russia -- what a concept).
  2. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Also, BTW, the only time I can remember when a conservative has noticed the flat tax and its immediate success. (Something to imitate from Russia -- what a concept).


    I recall that some US conservatives praised the flat tax back when it was new, around 2002 or so. Before Khodorkovsky was arrested, I found quite a lot of conservative pro-Putinism in the American media. Also around this time the London Times praised him as "Russia's best leader since Alexander II."
  3. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    For me, the most amazing thing when comparing Russia and the US is how their roles were inverted in few decades. The US is turning into a huge police state willing to do everything to reach full hegemony over the entire world, with total disregard not only towards the freedom and prosperity of other countries, but even their own; while Russia is just a normal country seeking to be stable, free and prosperous, with no expectations from other countries than the respect towards their sovereignity. Eduard Snowden and Gerard Depardieu are, in my opinion, pioneers: in the next years we will see more political and economical dissidents from the West who will find sanctuary in Russia.
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  4. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    FYI my latest effusion.
    http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2014/01/russia-not-enemy-of-world-peace-after-all.html

    This latest is based on looking at a year-end poll taken in about 70 countries with one of the questions asking which country is the greatest threat to peace. Evidently you're only allowed the name one. The USA leads the world list with about a quarter naming it. Well, that's one thing but what really interested me is, after two decades of propaganda about Russia's intrinsic imperialism, desire to regain its empire, use of the gas weapon and so on and on, that Russia ranks very low as an threat to peace. Hardly any country gives it anything more than trivial.
    My conclusion is that in the absence of an actual campaign (Pussy Riot, Georgia war, Litvinenko when some individual turns the wind machine on: in these cases respectively BAB/USA NGO racket, Saak/US State Dept and BAB) most people aren't especially worried about Russia.
    Interesting, eh? Maybe Russia's PR problem isn't as bad as Russia-obsessed people like us think it is.

    Another fragment of evidence for a tentative theory of mine that Russia's bad PR in the world may owe more to actual campaigns than to anything Moscow does or doesn't do.

    Another fragment of evidence I think is the relatively muted play on the Greenpeace thing. It wasn't in anyone's interest to blow it up as another Putin outrage.
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  5. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    This resonates with me; although it's probably not stated often enough in those terms, indeed the roles of the two on the international stage are beginning to reverse, and it is all down to unswerving eye-on-the-ball leadership on one side and unstatesmanlike incompetence on the other. I genuinely wished for a change in American direction after the disaster of the Bush years and for a return to pragmatic global leadership, but Obama has been a failure, and that is unfortunate.

    The historical model that always comes to mind for me is "The Ugly American". Although Burdick and Lederer's novel has evolved into a stereotypical epithet for Americans misbehaving abroad, it was tremendously influential at the time, came to the attention of President Kennedy and was thought to be the driving inspiration behind the formation of the Peace Corps.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/books/review/Meyer-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    In the fictional country of Sarkhan - commonly believed to represent real-life Vietnam - the American representatives are boorish and ignorant, cannot speak Sarkhanese and are basically going through the motions of foreign service. Their Soviet counterparts are fluent in Sarkhanese, invested with the community and engaged in local politics and alliances. The eponymous character, Homer Atkins, American engineer, is popular with the natives because he treats them as equals and helps them solve their problems by being part of the effort rather than directing it, operating from the personal maxim, "“Whenever you give a man something for nothing, the first person he comes to dislike is you.”

    America's image in the world has suffered terrible, perhaps irreparable damage, and Russia has moved to fill the vacuum while rarely coming into direct confrontation - and when it has, it has had international law on its side. Overall, a tour-de-force of outmaneuvering.
  6. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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  7. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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