In short, if it wasn’t one thing, it would have been another.

It didn’t have to have to be a gas attack; it could have been a stray Russian shell in some Ukrainian city; a dead exiled opposition leader on the streets of a Western capital city; a major hacking attack against a critical American target; a crucial NATO ally “flipped” by a Russian disinformation campaign; a released set of Trump e-mails.

It could have been Trump waking up one day to realize the Russians aren’t interested in destroying the Islamic State, so long as IS distracts the Americans and grinds down anti-Assad rebels.  It could have been when Trump tried to rally Moscow to support a new round of sanctions or military threats against North Korea.  Perhaps Trump’s bromance might have ended with a shooting incident over Finnish skies, or maybe he’d have changed his mind if Russian troops showed up in Libya to prop up Moscow’s increasingly favorited local strongman, Khalifa al-Hafta.

The fact is, on a long enough timeline, he would have changed his mind or faced an all-out revolt from his cabinet, his generals, and his party.

The furor surrounding Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s alleged influence over the air strikes last week is therefore overblown; presume, then, that they did not exist, and that Steve Bannon continued to whisper pro-Russian lullabies in the president’s ear, even as critical NATO allies like the UK, France, Canada, and Germany clamored for action.

How long until the next incident?  How long could Trump have kept ignoring his spy and military chiefs because Steve Bannon and his Alt-Right supporters said to?

I have long written how Trump is less important than the system he commands.  Most presidents do not change the course of American geopolitics; they conform to them.  Woodrow Wilson tried to impose a liberal international order with America’s great armies; he was stymied by the American Senate.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt couldn’t convince his fellow Americans of the threat of Axis militarism until the Japanese proved his point.  Dwight D. Eisenhower famously (perhaps too famously these days) warned of the military-industrial complex while building the military-industrial infrastructure it needed to fight the Cold War.  Jimmy Carter was going to let human rights lead America’s way; he was repaid for that with an Iranian hostage crisis.  George W. Bush was staunchly against nation-building; he ended up trying to build two.  Obama called Iraq “the dumb war”; before he left power, he had already sent troops back to fight over once conquered territory.

“Trump is less important than the system he commands.”

In each case, national interest overrode the personal interests of each president.  Obama desperately wanted to leave Iraq to its own devices, but the Islamic State invasion in June 2014 threatened something much bigger than his moral principles.  George W. Bush wanted to focus on “compassionate conservatism,” using a proto-“America First” foreign policy to preserve power; 9/11 put paid to that.  Reach back into history, find a president’s inaugural speech, and see shattered dreams of a cleaner, less brutish foreign policy.

Thus it is interest that keeps tripping up the utopian geopolitical dreams of each new president.  And let us be fair to President Trump: while his hopes for a Russian reset may have involved quiet business deals for himself and his family, the reality is we would all benefit from a Russo-American alliance.  It would secure Europe, which with its nuclear arsenals remains the world’s most potentially dangerous continent.  It would allow a united Euro-American front to focus on reordering Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, regions that desperately need a superpower’s attention to bring about a more permanent peace.

But there can be no reset with Vladimir Putin, nor with the Russia he leads. Trump had to learn that the hard way.

A depressing history of Russian resets

Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried first.  In 1933, FDR led negotiations to recognize the Soviet Union.  He spent much of the 1930s trying to justify this to his citizens, who saw Communist subversion as a genuine threat.  He was particularly burned by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; only in 1941, with the German invasion, did Roosevelt manage to get Americans back on his side for the duration of the war.

Roosevelt famously called mass murderer Josef Stalin “Uncle Joe” and believed the Soviet leader would help build a safer Europe. We know now Stalin’s idea of peace was Soviet control of the continent. 

In 1946-47 Soviet troops installed Communist satellites throughout Eastern Europe.  But many Americans wanted to see these actions through the prism of personality; it was Stalin’s fault, went the thinking, and so when he died, so too would Soviet oppression.  Nikita Khrushchev’s rise to power in 1953 and his anti-Stalin inaugural speech heartened these Russophiles.  President Eisenhower gave voice to that faction in his 1953 Chance for Peace speech:

So the new Soviet leadership now has a precious opportunity to awaken, with the rest of the world, to the point of peril reached and to help turn the tide of history. Will it do this? We do not yet know. Recent statements and gestures of Soviet leaders give some evidence that they may recognize this critical moment. We welcome every honest act of peace.

But Khrushchev crushed the Hungarian rising in 1956 just as thoroughly as Stalin.  It was not leader personality that created Soviet aggression and oppression; it was the Soviet system itself.  There would be no reset during the Cold War.

This led to a period of realistic, though dangerous, relations with the USSR.  Soviet power was based on expansionism or the appearance of it.  U.S. power was based on containment of Soviet influence.  The Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations never doubted this basic tenet of Cold War geopolitics.

George H.W. Bush thus got the first chance for a true reset when the Soviet Union fell.  It worked, for a time – first Bush, then Clinton, enjoyed something of warm relations with Russia’s first democratic president, Boris Yeltsin.  But the end of the Cold War had switched geopolitical polarities: U.S. power increasingly became based on expansionism, or at least its appearance.  Russian power was based on containment of American influence and power.

Thus the U.S. under Clinton and both Bushes led a NATO surge eastward.  They saw the end goal as Moscow itself: a Russo-American alliance, an end to Europe’s security dilemma.  But while DC saw security and cooperation, Russia’s elites saw conquest.

This mismatch of perception led to a bizarre media narrative.  When Vladimir Putin took power in 1999, one of his first acts was to crush the Chechnyan rising, just as Khrushchev had hammered Hungary in 1956 and Brezhnev had smashed Prague in 1968.  Unlike Khrushchev and Brezhnev, the Chechen war did not inspire widespread horror in the West.  Western elites, both political and media, largely ignored the war and its portents for the future.  For them, the curve of history was towards NATO, the European Union, and American power.  Having won the Cold War, they felt assured of success.

Even the relatively clean Kosovo crisis got unfair media treatment: when Russian troops took Pristina’s airport, it led to a showdown between U.S. and Russian troops. “I’m not going to start World War III for you,” General Michael Jackson, the British commander, told the NATO supreme commander, General Wesley Clark, who ordered him to retake the airport.  Yet Westerners neither ducked nor covered; the story was a two minute sound bite, at best.

Then Clinton gave way to Bush, who infamously looked Putin in the eye:

“I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue.   I was able to get a sense of his soul.  He’s a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that’s the beginning of a very constructive relationship,” Mr Bush said.

It was, by then, an ingrained American tradition: presuming Russia saw the world as America did, that a Kremlin president would behave like a White House one.  By the end of Bush’s second term, his administration had learned their lesson.  First, Moscow refused to authorize Bush’s invasion of Iraq, seeing Iraq as a potential Middle Eastern client just as it saw Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.  Then, Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia in 2008, ending Georgia’s bid to join NATO and forcing the Georgian army to rush out of Iraq and return to a losing war.

These lessons were not passed on to the next president. Obama came in promising yet another reset.  Obama believed the problem had not been Russian interest, or Vladimir Putin, but President Bush: change the personality, and the geopolitics would shift.

Obama, like Bush, was wrong.

Putin armed the Assad regime as the civil war began in 2011, then hoodwinked the White House when Assad gassed his own people in August 2013.  To put the nail in the coffin, Putin invaded Ukraine in 2014.  The Obama administration finally understood: Russia was a rival, not a friend.  Like Bush, it took a full presidential term to reach that conclusion.

Yet that did not stop Mr. Trump from trying again.  Despite the obvious, Trump once more believed that the problem was the American president, and not the underlying geopolitical situation.  It was immature criticism, of course: Trump would sway from hitting Obama as weak, and then go on to say he’d been too tough on Putin.  That had everything to do with America’s broken and increasingly irrational presidential primary system, which did a terrible job of screening candidates this cycle.  But in attacking Obama – and not recognizing how national interest propelled behavior – Trump was walking in the well-trodden footsteps of Roosevelt, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama.

“Obama believed the problem had not been Russian interest, or Vladimir Putin, but President Bush: change the personality, and the geopolitics would shift.”  

Trump’s blatant conflicts of interest slowed this realization.  Russia had, after all, tried to influence the election in his favor.  He had extensive business dealings with Russians, and his base wanted an “America First” policy that would ignore human rights violations unless Americans were killed.  Trump saw ground for cooperation against the Islamic State; Russian propaganda made the Russian campaign in Syria seem more effective than it actually was.

But the underlying situation did not change.  The U.S. is expansionist, in both influence and alliance.  Russia is trying to contain that expansionism.  It is the Cold War in reverse.

Trump came to power promising to end that expansionism.  It was only a matter of time before he realized that to give ground to anyone else would threaten American interests.  Those states that are not a threat to the U.S. are already within its system: from NATO in Europe to the Organization of American States in the Americas to the U.S. alliances in Pacific.

This leaves precious little geopolitical space on the map for ambitious powers.  India is not currently so headstrong; hence the reason it can work with the United States, despite America’s long friendship with its arch-rival, Pakistan.  Neither is Brazil, another potential great power of the 21st century.  Even Turkey, whose authoritarian turn alarms NATO democrats, is not seeking to push up against American power just yet.

Russia, on the other hand, must push back. It’s current system – even its present borders – may not survive the changes that would come with a permanent U.S. alliance. But it can only push back in places the United States cares deeply about. This is the recipe for conflict. 

No one goes down unless they’re forced to

Geopolitical rivalries do not end because of handshakes or smiling photo ops: they end because they must.  France and Britain closed ranks after hundreds of year of brutal war to face a rising Germany; France, Britain, and Germany were forced into alliance by the Soviet threat.  The Cold War did not end merely because Gorbachev botched reform, and Soviet troops refused to shoot Soviet citizens.  It also ended because the United States had bled a rusting Red Army in Afghanistan and outspent it on nuclear weapons.

Thus the dream of uniting Russia and America in alliance will take far more than a personality switch.  Even if Putin is removed from power, only a seismic internal geopolitical change within Russia will prevent a return to conflict with the West.  George Friedman wrote about this in the book that helped inspire this site, The Next 100 Years.  In it, Friedman, from 2008, writes:

The United States in particular tends to first underestimate and then overestimate enemies. By the middle of the 2010s, the United States will again be obsessed with Russia. There is an interesting process to observe here. The United States swings between moods but actually, as we have seen, executes a very consistent and rational foreign policy. In this case, the United States will move to its manic state but will focus on keeping Russia tied in knots without going to war.

…[But} the causes that ignited this confrontation—and the Cold War before it—will impose the same outcome as the Cold War, this time with less effort for the United States…Russia broke in 1917, and again in 1991. And the country’s military will collapse once more shortly after 2020.

If true, the United States will have an opportunity in the 2020s to build a permanent alliance with the shattered remnants of Russia.  If not, it will doom America to another cycle of geopolitical competition and violence with Moscow in some other decade of the 21st century.

28 thoughts on “Why Russian resets keep failing

  1. This gotta be the greatest bullshit story ever written. Summary: USA contains USSR expansionism = USA Great. Russia contains USA expansionism = USA Great again!

    My God, USA is not just winning, it’s bi-winning. It has tiger blood!

    Pure hypocricy and idiotism. E. G. Korea war. How is something that’s going on literally on USSR borders an example of Soviet expansionism and not American imperialism?
    Korea is USA neighbor? 🙂
    No, it’s Vietnam. Nah, it’s Kennedy’s rockets in neighboring Turkey. Kissinger in China, that’s practically family. Germany in NATO 1949, Stalin, you Godless son of a bitch. Nah, it’s interests.

    Not acknowledging who was expansionistic all the time, and who from time to time and far less intense, would make anyone stupid.

    This bullshit text made me all warm inside.

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    1. Well, it does seem like you read all the way to the bottom, which is more than I can say of many a hostile comment that comes my way. I’ll be honest, though: a lot of what you write towards the end is incoherent. I’d suggest you try again.

      Let me respond to what I can.

      The Korean War was a North Korean invasion of South Korea, breaking the agreement for free elections that was part of the post-war settlement for East Asia. That was less Stalin and more Mao – you can read Stalin: The Court of the Red Czar for the scholarship on that lead up. Regardless, that was Communist aggression, not American.

      To what I think is your other point – you’re attacking me saying that the U.S. world order is just as bad (maybe worse?) than a Russian-led world order. Of course, I completely disagree. To start, a Russian-led order is geopolitically impossible: Russia is too weak. But presuming that it did have the power to reorder the world on its terms, that would create illiberal democracies and distorted economies run by kleptocrats. It would hardly empower anyone but the new oligarchs that Russia would naturally support.

      By the way, I did write about the U.S. surge towards Russia after the Cold War. I guess you missed that?

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      1. There was never a Russian-led world order. How something geopolitically impossible becomes a threat that creates a Cold War.? The answer is simple: cause it was a threat to American-led world order, therefore, American expansionism.

        Calling it free elections problem in Korea is pure ideological work. Geopolitics is not about elections. It’s about power, and when someone “defends” their “interests” thousands of miles from their national border (not USSR, btw), it is called imperialism.

        USA is not a country in Asia, so the problem is clear. Someone thinks global hegemony is good, even benevolent. This is a world view problem. For some reason, there are people who think global hegemony is normal. There’s nothing normal about it.

        Why is it important for the USA if there was free elections in Korea? What are US interests there? Global order? You mean every country has to be a liberal democracy? And why is that? 🙂

        For some reason your care about the world makes interventionism and regime change the greatest things. For what, American-led world? No, thanks.

        So, to finish, even though in this matter there’s no end, cause one-dimensional thought is just too thick: USA was expansionistic and imperialistic the whole XX and XXI century. USSR was always a weaker power, therefore USA was always a bigger threat to the world.

        Why would John Kennedy put rocket launchers in freaking Turkey, on the border of USSR, if Soviets are the problem. You not question why are those launchers thousands of miles from American soil. When they were in Cuba it was crazyhour in Washington.

        Tomorrow, when they put it in Poland, it will be normal, just like it was in Turkey 60 years ago.

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      2. “Geopolitics is not about elections.”

        I entirely agree. I think we’re differing on “who started it,” if I’m reading you right. My article was about how American president after president has failed to bring Russia into a permanent alliance, thereby solving the European security dilemma. Much of this involves, as I argue, the misreading of Russia’s geopolitical situation: it still has imperial hangovers. Who is right and who is wrong is geopolitically irrelevant, but remember that at Yalta in 1945, Stalin promised Roosevelt that he would hold elections in occupied Eastern Europe. But Stalin surely knew that those elections could produce anti-Soviet parties, which would undermine Soviet security, and so he decided to install Communist regimes at bayonet point to ensure he would have a strong buffer from any further invasion from the West. This makes sense from Moscow’s point of view, but let us not pretend this was not an expansion of Soviet power. So too Soviet expansion into Asia and Africa during the Cold War.

        I think you are also misreading American grand strategy as well: U.S. grand strategy is very reactive, largely because of its switching presidents. Would NATO have been founded if free elections were held in Eastern Europe in the 1940s? Very probably not: it was a reaction to those new regimes. Would Kennedy have placed nukes in Turkey if he had not believed there was a “missile gap” the Soviets were winning? Again, probably not.

        You’re viewing the Russian point of view with geopolitical realism but not the American one. Consider that if Russia had the same superpower status as the U.S., and America had lost the Cold War, would it have not expanded the Warsaw Pact across Europe and into the Americas? Would it not have rewrote the world order in its favor?

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  2. History didn’t start in 1945. Russia had a cordon sanitaire at the end of WWI, created by the same people who in 1945. wanted “free elections” in countries that became independent because Lenin let them in 1918. So, the problem started at least in 1918. and it was expansionism from the West. (gonna skip Joseph Nye’s claim the first Russian-American conflict was over Chinese market in the 1800s)

    Of course, not mentioning that magical word communism makes it better than it sounds, cause there were some rich guys who would put Hitler in power to save their property.
    European security dilema? Churchill’s sympathy towards Mussolini is just a tip of the iceberg. The so called countries without “free elections” in 1945. were fascist before WWII, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary…

    We know now that, for example, German SPD was created by CIA, the “free elections” story completely falls apart. We know now that Yugoslavia was given billions $ to say no to Stalin, had fake free elections….

    And we also know why D day happened in 1944. and not earlier. Michael Harriginton shows USA fought for oil in the Middle East first, and human lives second, especially Soviet lives, the only real resistance to Hitler in Europe. Letting millions of Soviets die while USA is looking for oil, instead of fighting against nazis, and then demanding free elections with CIA supported political parties, it’s a joke, right?

    Saying that NATO would not be established just because of some elections is not just wrong for my perspective, but it’s wrong in the whole “system doesn’t change, Trump had to change” hypothesis. Just like the same double standard methodology falls apart when it says the system changed, but after the Cold War.

    Actually, it never changed, it was always expansionistic. Drang nach osten rings a bell? Napoleon? System doesn’t change!

    Like I said, this is primarily a world view problem. Kennedy is a great example, cause you’re completely wrong about Kennedy. No free elections in Hungary = Soviet expansionism. No capitalism in Cuba =?

    What if things really changed, and someone installed cordon sanitaire at Mexico border, and put Hitler in power in Brazil, than attacked USA and killed 20 million people, created concentration camps for Americans on the Mexico territory, than lost the war, got split into 4 parts between China, USSR, Cuba and France, and the first three created East Brazil and communist NATO, cause USA stopped free elections in Mexico, or better yet, Chile, where USA, just like with Saudi Arabia, doesn’t need free elections, Pinoche was ok.

    So, this alternative history will show us what? Kennedy was not aware of the missile gap? That’s funny.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/the-real-cuban-missile-crisis/309190/

    System doesn’t change. Your words.

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    1. A major part of Nazi expansion was to secure oil supplies for an increasingly militarized form of warfare. Denying the Nazis access to oil was incredibly crucial on all fronts, and helped quite a bit when the Russians stalled and then kicked out the Nazis on the Eastern Front.

      I also suggest you check your basic dates. The SPD was founded in 1863, the CIA in 1947. Everything you’ve said about the CIA backing countries before that date is nonsense because there was no CIA. It’s like saying that Youtube controlled all the distribution for Charlie Chaplin’s movies right from the beginning. The OSS was the closest thing we had to the CIA before that, starting in 1942 and being dissolved in 1945. As you may have guessed from the years it was active, it was entirely focused on winning the war; hence Julia Child got her love of cooking from creating shark repellent to protect sea mines during WW2 but didn’t run around Europe garroting Russians after the war ended.

      You’re also missing a lot about how influence expanded during the Cold War. The Russians and Chinese supported communist regimes in various parts of the world, while the United States supported groups that opposed those communist groups. It was a proxy war, basically. So if the governments in Cuba, or Peru, or Argentina were going to go Communist, it was likely with considerable Soviet influence behind them and a high likelihood that they could provide a staging ground for things like missile silos, or improve on logistics if the Russians were ever to attempt a conventional invasion.

      You also need to learn more about other countries’ history. I have little specific knowledge of Bulgaria and Hungary’s actions during World War II, but I have researched Romania, which had a constitutional monarchy, with a king and parliament. With the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in effect, the loss of Poland and other nearby countries, along with Soviet demands of Romanian territory, led to an increasingly nationalistic attitude that finally led to the election of right-wing nationalists. They formed something of a coalition and forced the king to abdicate in favor of his young son in September of 1940. So it was in 1940, with WW2 well under way, that Romania became fascist. I repeat, Romania didn’t become fascist until after WW2 already started.

      Then, after a bit of infighting, some of that coalition was forced out, leaving the country in the hands of a very nationalistic anti-Semite. With the war going badly for Romania in 1944, King Michael led a coup that ousted the fascists from power and hurriedly surrendered to the Soviet Union. So the fascists were kicked out by their own people, and the government wasn’t really all that set in stone when their surrender led to the Russians pretty much telling King Michael how to run his country.

      Finally, as much as I enjoy alternate history as a genre, it means nothing. If your uncle was a woman, she’d be your aunt. If I had a million dollars, I’d live my life differently. If the Earth was hollow and mermaids swam the oceans, things would be different. But they aren’t. We have to live with real history.

      All in all, I don’t know where you learned about history, but you need to focus on that instead of whatever alternate history you’ve been reading. Whatever strange conspiracy theory websites you’ve been reading have left you woefully unprepared to defend even the most basic of premises that prop up your beliefs, and there is no reason to listen and be convinced of anything you’re saying if you’re constantly getting basic information wrong. Plus, it might help you to learn the truth before you go around saying a bunch of stuff that is based on obviously incorrect information. After all, I have every single historian on my side about these dates and basic pieces of information in the same way that every single scientist agrees the sun exists and the Earth orbits it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I like this article because it mentions historic facts like East Europe ONLY became independent in 1918 this point of view is mostly neglected will write more on it.

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  3. Can’t help but to chip in here. I’m neither a native english speaker nor very good at articulating my thoughts so this will be a very tough read.

    What even Ryan seems to be missing here, is that the Russian Empire still exists today. They call it a “federation”, but one look at that landmass and all the various nationalities within those borders covering about ELEVEN different timezones tells you a simple story: This is an empire and an incredibly weak one. The end seems inevitable, but it will not go willingly. This empire is slowly dying to poison that is seeping in from the West, that is called the general idea of liberal democracy and all that entails it. To us in Europe and North America, this is not poison but a blissful substance and we could not imagine life without it, so to speak. Liberal democracy with its idea of personal freedom is indeed something that can be truly afforded by those nation-states that are geopolitically fortunate, such as USA most of all, but also Europe at least for as long as it remains within the American umbrella. This is not the case for Russian Federation, which can tolerate neither dissent nor personal freedoms, those have to be suppressed by the state security services in order to ensure that the federation remains one and whole.

    A nation-state can be compared to a living organism that has one overriding geopolitical objective and that is to secure it’s continued existence. No geopolitical entity will cease to exist voluntarily or simply because you’re asking politely. The Russian Federation is no exception. It WILL fight to the LAST in order to survive and one indication of this is the nature of responses Ryan is getting even in this relatively obscure geopolitical blog.

    This Russian empire, even in its extreme geopolitical and economical weakness, recognizes it’s geopolitical interests and pursues them with every means in it’s disposal because it wants to survive. That means pushing back on the idea of liberal democracy by any means necessary. This is made harder by the fact that indeed this western idea is incredibly appealing to any Russian individual human being who actually understands its core meaning and implications.

    If democracy comes to the Russian Federation, it will quite simply fall apart and disintegrate. In its place you could have more than a dozen little statelets bickering and squabbling with each other, some of the possessing nuclear weapons. This is because of two reasons: Extreme distances make democratic governance physically difficult and creates conditions for fragmentation of state power but also because of the sheer amount of incredibly diverse ethnicities and even nations within the federation. Because of this you basically have a true empire in your hands, and you rule that empire with an iron fist, or watch it fall apart. A securocrat like Putin understands this painfully well and it is no coincidence that he has ruled for 17 years.

    If the federation ends up disintegrating, it would be a geopolitical disaster of EPIC proportions for the Russians themselves, but not so much for the rest of the world, especially in the long term once the question regarding possession of nukes in former federation space would be solved. There would be no more threats of military invasions of eastern European countries, no more “hybrid” threats emanating from the east. That’s the brutal reality of geopolitics, it’s a zero-sum game, at least from an objective perspective. Those who win, gain ground and influence at the expense of those who are on the losing side. Russians understand this painfully well.

    To summarize: geopolitical interests of modern day Russia and the American-led West are in direct conflict with each other and one has to give way before any sort of rapproachement. I think it’s going to be the Russian side giving way due to ever increasing power of economical and geopolitical centrifugal forces, they simply cannot resist these forces much longer. This is mainly because the Russian Federation cannot handle such dangerous ideas such as democracy, personal freedoms such as freedom of expression and rule of law instead of rule by law. Such ideas would be needed in order to remain economically relevant in the age of information and innovation. However economical reform is impossible, because the ideas behind it would lead to disintegration of the Russian Federation and that cannot be done willingly by the powers that be This problem is exacerbated by the advent of various information technologies which make the absolute control of information that much harder for the security services. Russia has pulled off a bluff after bluff while playing an incredible weak hand brilliantly, motivated by its very survival as a geopolitical entity. It however is now facing a virtually unbeatable foe. Time.

    We live in interesting times indeed.

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    1. Cant read all the stuff but OK after several years in Russia as you call it the evil Empire I tell you they saved your ass to say it bluntly as some Americans do. But in North America as in South America who cares. THe Europeans care because the Arabs and Muslims are part of european society. And this means if Turkey or Dshingis Khan from Mongolia or if the King of Saudi Araibia wants to invade good old Europe the party is OVER. So you US party lovers you dont care but this what Russia is about AGIANST Ottoman Empire, Mogolian crowds, Arab invaders and these days other Muslim fanatics. The BLOOD of Russian soldiers ALL Christian Orthodox later Atheist saved your little coward Western comfortable consumer party going … . Hope I inspired you

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    2. The brutal reality of Russia after CIA instigatee civil war is that the White Europeans will be wiped out by Tukey and Arabs and other non European and that the ‘White’ US remaining population can pray da y and night before these Muslim gentelmen install another 50 state govnernos in US states. Sorry for being so frank

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  4. Being German, I have a very different perspective. The US and Russia are both empires. However, the US empire is in a state of terminal decline. Trump, as disgusting a person as there ever was, argued one point during his campaign that made a lot of sense: if your empire is declining, then a managed, controlled decline is vastly preferable to an uncontrolled one. Think about the Roman empire; the Eastern half and the Western one.

    By literally bringing out the big guns on Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea he gave up on the concept of controlled decline, and switched to further expansion.

    This is bad news since the center does not hold in the US anymore. The US infrastructure is crumbling, its school system is resembling Third World status in wide swathes of its territory, the executive (i.e. police) employs ever more repressive tactics, its industrial base has shrunk alarmingly, the middle class base is shrinking dramatically, and its geopolitical expansion (“partners and allies”) is being stopped by geopolitical competitors (China, Russia, Iran). Another indicator of decline is the inability of the political actors to form policies the majority of them can agree on.

    The US cannot expand anymore, but now it tries to nevertheless by relying increasingly on its military power. The problem is that if you have to kill a couple of dozen enemy militias with the biggest nonnuclear bomb in your arsenal, you demonstrate clearly that your strength is just weakness. Afghanistan is on the verge on burying another empire.

    From my point of view, the US empire is toast. It may not know it yet and the decision-making class may be in denial about it, but toast it is.

    Russia, on the other hand, has recovered from a major geopolitical setback (fall of the Soviet Union) and seems to weather the current tempest reasonably well (rising child births). If Russia can temper its responses to the increasingly desperate US actions (Russian hackers gave Trump the presidency!?! Really? Come on), it may come out the winner. If it gets involved too much, China will come out the winner.

    However, it is very clear that on many issues Russia and the US are on a confrontation course.

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  5. Difficult to comment here, my last post still not published. In the meantime others posted about really weird things, like Russia being so multicultural it’s uncontrolable (USA is what then), Putin is a securocrat but if you make an ex CIA director a vice-president and then even a president, that’s ok, and his son can be president, too, and his other son lost the candidacy cause of Trump.

    That’s all liberal democracy, with fake checks and balances, literally trolled by Trump campaign, that showed how liberal and democratuc it is.

    This new Trump, disguised as Hillary, is a said thing though.

    All in all, destroying Russia is pure resources thing. Colonizing the Siberia etz don’t make it a free election thing, again.

    Free election are merely a weapon, no free person can become a US president without some serious money and party behind him, it is a vhoice between right and extreme right candidate, and you call it liberal democracy. Ha, I say.

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    1. America’s “diversity” is pretty shallow – there aren’t the same kind of deep ethnic differences between the biggest groups of sub-cultures in the U.S. as there are in Russia. There is, for example, nothing close to the Chechen situation in the United States, nor anyone like the Volga Muslims. While the U.S. did conquer its Native Americans, they’re isolated and unable to stir instability at the present time the way the Caucasus can for Russia.

      I’d take issue with the notion that America has “fake” checks – if so, why did President Trump’s initial travel ban get shut down? Why did the healthcare reform fail? Why does the GOP suffer abuse at town halls? These are signs that the system, while imperfect, still does work.

      I’d also take issue with the notion that the United States want to destroy Russia – it wants to destroy Russian power, which is the same not same thing. Destroying Russian power means bringing it into America’s security alliance system on America’s terms – just as it did with Germany and Japan.

      Finally, I’d point out that Trump won the presidency despite the GOP opposing him almost up to the very end. Trump’s money didn’t even matter; his celebrity did. (He is not famous in the states for being rich; he’s famous for being a reality TV star and, in New York at least, a buffoon).

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    2. You undertand what is going on. After all America was the destinatio of the poor and persecuted Europeans. The spirit that comes with that is to be admired. But during the last years a large part of the US population left the comfort zone. I am constantly hesitating to blame North America because it was the place to go for desperate political and econmic refugees. It is not a good development to make any achievements ridiculous once we talk about countries hat were the last hope of European Protestants other religious minorieties and all those persecuted by European aristicrots and dictators.

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  6. Checenya makes 1% of Russian territory, why is that a diversity problem when France, Germany, Belgium… also have problems with islamic terrorism? Comparative perspective shows double standards, if Russia has a terrorist problem it’s the end of the world, no democracy, whatever. If another country has terrorist problem then it’s normal.

    And why are you not mentioning the most important things? Democracy is primarily a way getting to powerchecks and balances after that are government and constitutional problem, not democracy problems.

    How someone becomes a president, in the case of George HW Bush, you first have to be the CIA director, while your son has a problem Russian president is ex-KGB. Again, when Americans do it, it is not a problem.

    In Trumps case, he would be long gone without his money behind him. He was a candidate in Reform party primary in 2000. So really saying he didn’t need the GOP is completely false. Hom being against establishment meant distancing himself rhetorically (not organizationally and in the last months even finances were connected to GOP) from GOP is a part of the campaign.

    Look somehow like you pay attention on what Trump says but not what he does, and this is not a english language test but politics. He was GOP candidate, and his actions in month of april now completely prove it.

    Germany and Japan don’t have resources and they were in the US system xause of geopolitics, literally part of Containment policy in Rimland area, cause destruction of Russia was a bigger goal.

    You can’t really be serious when you say USA doesn’t want destruction of Russia, when Madkene Olbraight explicitly said it’s “not fair” Russia controls resources in Siberia. The goal is to disolve Russia and make 6-7 satellite countries, which, again, shows USA is an imperialist state, the real agressor, real expansionist power, and a greatest threat to the world.

    Nobody does in US backyard what US does in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, North Korea. That’s so logicall everywhere, except indoctrinated people in Noth America.

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    1. To begin – Chechnya is a major problem because it is a secessionist problem. Just as Tibet is more severe for China than France’s Muslim minority. There is no movement in France to split away territory (or, perhaps more accurately, no movement with power). That is a critical difference. Chechnya is a splinter that could go septic; Russia has, probably within both of our lifetimes, lost a 1/3 of its people and a 1/4 of its land. Why is that impossible again?

      In Trump’s case, I guarantee you wealth did not factor into this election as much as celebrity. If wealth mattered more than celebrity, then Jeb Bush, with his massive war chest from some of the richest people in America, would be president. But wealth mattered a lot less than having a name outside of politics that people already knew.

      It’s interesting you mention the Rimland theory – a theory that was only halfheartedly embraced by American State Department officials in the Cold War, but which was a major part of Hitler’s thinking when he launched the invasion of the USSR. I mention Hitler not to say the theory was a Nazi one, but simply a bad one: holding the Heartland has been proven to be irrelevant, as the USSR came quite close and still lose the Cold War.

      Not sure about your Madeline Albright quote – source for that?

      Nobody does what the US does anywhere else because no one can. The USSR could, and did, by sending arms to rebels in Central America, Cuba, and South America. This is not a calculation of morality but capability. Nation-states behave this way; find me one that doesn’t, and I’ll show you one that can’t.

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      1. Very good point about Trump, especially considering that nobody knows exactly how much wealth he has. He’s actually sued someone before over trying to find out, and he apparently had to borrow a lot of money from Russia back in 2008, according to the former head of MI6.

        Also, I found the source of the Albright claim, which is usually not attributed to anybody in particular, probably because of its origins:

        “According to an investigation by a former Moscow Times correspondent, Anna Smolchenko, the idea that Ms. Albright was jealous of Russia’s natural resources can be traced to a December 2006 interview with Boris Ratnikov, a retired major general from the Russian secret service. General Ratnikov told Rossiyskaya Gazeta that his colleagues in the service’s secret mind-reading division had read Ms. Albright’s thoughts in 1999, just before the United States-led military intervention in Kosovo that she had championed.

        According to the general, his colleagues had detected a ‘pathological hatred of Slavs’ in Ms. Albright’s mind and that “she was indignant that Russia held the world’s largest reserves of natural resources. Asked by Ms. Smolchenko to explain how the mind reading had worked, General Ratnikov recalled that the team had studied photographs of Ms. Albright. “By tuning in on her image,” he said, “our specialists were able to glean these things.”

        So there you go. She never actually said it, but some Russians stared really hard at a picture of her and decided to believe that she thought it.

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  7. You know CIA wordpress cuts my comments but OK you rule the world. So what is this SCRAP article about ? Russia controls ISIS what a joke. 50% of Iraq and Syria were controlled by ISIS with the help of US weapons the US ‘left’ by accident after leaving Iraq. ANYBODY who need a letter of recommendation to work in US state deparment please contact me THE ONLY university professor of law on German (nazi) Law or why the US state department is happy with NAZI laws in Germany

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      1. If you google delete Facebook or wordpress comments there are results I knew it before. The same on German blogs. OK I am here you have your blog. What is your argument AGAINST Russia. They have NOTHING a little oil. The GPP or ecomomy of Holland is bigger than than the GP of Russia. So what do you want. The CIA and US business COMPLETELY control Russia and the few patriotic Russians fight this. I donot fight the US but you fooled me because I speak Russian I tried to help them. What do you offer Russia apart fromTOTAL submission to US and EU interest and political control . I repeat the US German Nazis and CIA made me a piece of shit after 10 years in Russia

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