(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).