Monday, February 23, 2009

from russia with no love


Now although I could talk loot, like how J.C. Penny’s profit fell 51% last quarter, or how Lowe’s profit fell 60% last quarter, or even how down here in Georgia, more than 120,000 folk filed for unemployment benefits in January – I won’t. Instead something else caught my eye while reading my favorite Russian News daily -the Kommersant.


Kyrgyzstan, which is located in Asia in between Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and China, just kicked out the only representative of the United States military in the region. Manas Air Force Base, which may be our closest military base to Russia, will be no longer in about 6 months. The base is only about 8 or 9 years old and formed ex post facto to 911. Not that this is an indication of how the new administration relationship with Russia will be in the future (which it is) or the fact that Russia flexing will continue to be a thorn in the side of America’s foreign policy objectives (which it is), but more so how this will play with respect to the administrations locution concerning Afghanistan. Manas was most likely our major supply hub to troops in Afghanistan. The President of this small nation,Kurmanbek Bakiyev made his announcement ironically right after the Russian government agreed to give his country $2.1 billion in economic aid.

As we read and twit and blog and type, the war in Afghanistan is growing and becoming more out of control each day. President Obama stated last week that an additional 17,000 troops are on their way to Afghanistan. Which is strange to me when the current President of the country, Hamid Karzai, was not involved in the decision to add more troops into his country? However, he was “informed of the deployments via a telephone call from Obama” on February 17.


I do not know what to anticipate with respect to the new administration approach to Afghanistan. I do hope that they do more than just chase the Taliban around the country back and forth; to and from Pakistan. Meaning he cannot continue the Bush approach, for Bush was so busy palling up with the former military dictator/president of Pakistan that he dropped the ball on Russia. And as of now, it seems as if Obama has been so enthralled, that he has over looked Russia as the player they are on the world stage, especially in their own backyard
A while back I wrote that Obama has to do some serious consideration to his dealings with Russia, specifically that Russia “may be the first head bump for Jones… Russia (Putin) is making a fat cat move to buy allegiance from Latin American states that are right in our own backyard. Plus they mad because of our decision to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. So as a result, they have decided to place some similar equipment in Cuba – or so they say." That was then, now he cock blocking with respect to US war efforts in Afghanistan. I can’t wait, for this will make for some good opinion editorials from Jones here.

20 comments:

E. Payne said...

I'll definitely stay tuned for this one. This probably sounds absurd at this stage of the game, but I believe Obama's distance with Karzai has everything to do with his former alliance to Bush and his and Biden's belief that the man has turned a blind eye to the corruption in his own cabinet, let alone his government.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

E.Payne
Now that is a novel idea, never thought of that. He is indebeteed to being President via Bush, huh?

Nicole said...

Definitely an interesting read T, but I am not surprised by the move. Russia has been antsy for quite some time now even before Obama stepped in office. I believe his (Obama) lack of attention to foreign policy will come back to him in the worst way.

I think just based on the decisions Obama has made domestically will give countries like Russia more incentive to try to test the waters in regards to making power moves. And if Russia tries to woo more latin countries to his side will only make things more difficult here.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out...

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rainywalker said...

Kyrgyzstan wanted more money for the leased base that it looks like we are willing to pay. We still have a leased base in Uzbebistan where they will likely move. Uzbebistan has a small border with Afgahanistan, has airspace and is closer I understand.
If you put your ear to the east and listen hard you can hear the skinning knives being sharpened.

Big Man said...

That's some good info, man. Thanks for spreading that.

Curious said...

This makes me wonder that if after almost 50 years of embargo whether it's time to talk to Cuba again despite Mrs. Clinton's objections. Because I don't think Putin and his so called boss will back off as easily as Kruchev did in the 60's.

no_slappz said...

Whatever the reason, resuming normal relations with Cuba will undermine the Castro brothers faster than anything short of a massive attack on Havana.

The sooner the US grants US citizens full access to Cuba, the sooner it becomes our newest and fastest growing market.

You wrote:

"I do not know what to anticipate with respect to the new administration approach to Afghanistan."

Neither does the new administration. Obama seems better able to create chaos and confusion in the US rather than elsewhere.

no_slappz said...

Russia may return to its expansionary ways, but its military is incapable of carrying the fight to our half of the globe.

Keli said...

Chickens coming home to roost...

Untouched Jewel said...

Well, to me this sounds like things are starting to heat up from everything that was getting started with the war in Georgia (not the state in the U.S., the city in Russia. LOL). And it only looks like the Russian government is trying to form allies with other countries to buck up against the U.S. It's enough trying to fight two unnecessary wars, and then North Korea "thinking" they are punking this country. SMH. All I know is I hope that President Obama can do something to fix the situation regarding the problem with Russia closing the base down.

Linda said...

National politics are enough for me at this point.. *lol*

All I know is my best friend went to Kyrgyzstan once and we had such a fun time trying to pronounce the name ;)

greetings from the netherlands!

Tera said...

Wow, I will definitely stay tuned on this one...it will be rather interesting to see how this all turns out.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

As a resident of a South American nation which has a very good relationship with Russia, I think that NICOLE and RAINYWALKER nailed it.

Russia was OFFERING stuff. America was THEATENING stuff.

McCain was out and out Walnuts. He said if president he'd quarter 150,000 US troops in Colombia to wipe out the FARC and ELN (and trade unions and the grange movement!) and then pour over the border into Venezuela with air and sea support from the Navy in the Harbor.

Obama was just his usual schoomarmish preaching self kind of doing a Panama-to-Patagonia criticism and finger-wagging. I understand the symbiotic marketing value Chavez serves for the US and the US serves for Chavez. Right now, Chavez with a pretty solid PSOV, should be promoting front-benchers and ministers into election stars but his ego is too big and the more the US pisses him off the more he does the same right back. He's not the issue. The issue is how careless Obama has been with Torrijos, Correa, Morales, Vasquez, Lugo, Lula daSilva, Fernandez de Kirchner and Bachelet. You could even put Uribe or Garcia in that bunch though Colombia and Peru are the last two remaining US client states in South America.

All Obama has done is carry over Bush's policies. So, here comes Russia with private investment money and joint ventures with private and public entities. Plus, because they need stability for their investments to grow they say "we stand with all democracies of South America against any attacks on their sovereignty."

What is Obama offering? Lectures on which aspects of local economic policy he doesn't like and all the ways the USA is "exceptional." And you can't find a Marxist system here for love or money. Every country is capitalist. All have flatter taxes than the US has. All have freer markets than the the US has.

Of course, Russia is sweet-talking Central Asia now. They don't want another ass-over-tits like in Georgia or Chechnya. They already have a good relationship with Kazakhstan and besides Georgia the important ones are Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan. They are just going to have to forget about Georgia, Abkhazia and Chechnya, so long as they can prevent ethnic cleansing of Slavs by Muslims. The US wouldn't push up on Russia by making client states out of those three and there's a big anti-Muslim feeling in the US anyway. The Georgia addiction will be hard to break, though. Georgia produced two of "Greater Russia's" most important political figures in Stalin and Shevardnadze (#3 to Gorbachev and Yeltsin in Glasnost era and President of Georgia after fall).

Russia is not expansionist militarily because they don't have the warm bodies to enforce it. Because of the dominance of natural resource exports in their economy they are very aggressive economically. I don't think Obama sees it that way because he has no prior experience in international business. He views Russia the way the foreign policy hawks around him view Russia, America's #2 enemy after "the Muslims." He doesn't yet see the Russians (nor the South Americans) as "people." He sees them as foreign policy "obstacles." And as he has seen towards himself at home, Putin and Medvedev are at least as bright as he is and probably brighter, certainly more experienced, From what I can tell Chavez, Lula, Bachelet, Uribe and Herrera are brighter than he is, and all much better versed in global and economic policy. He's avoided a lot of summitry because I think he's used to getting press he could charm and opponents he could snowball with his brains. Once you're outside of the US, a whole other thing is happening -- every leader can talk knowledgably about their views.

And he's kind of burned up some goodwill equity with nothing to offer. The US can't offer protection because the US is the country every other one needs protection from. They can't offer money because they're broke. They can't offer trade deals because they're only in the position of receiving them. They have none to offer because their trade balance is already so minus.

He's just going to have to man-up a bit and deal with all other capitalist nations as peers.

Everybody has to dial it down a notch on Cuba. This is a tempest in a tea kettle. The economy is so ruined from communism that it will take another 20 years for it to become even a tourist-oriented service economy again.

Moreover, there's no strategic advantage to Russia to control Cuba. This is the mature "jet age" is it not? Russians already control about 15% of economically productive South Florida.

Besides, two nuclear powers can't even have a conventional shooting war anymore. It would ramp up in two days to a doomsday scenario which is why Obama is playing with FIRE in South Asia.

Somebody needs to buy him a couple of GI Joes with the Kung-Fu grip and let him play in his rec room instead of messing so close to Kashmir. There are so many conflicting interests in the region, that it's hard sometimes to ascertain alliances. The only interest I know which allies naturally with nobody is "We're America. We're in charge." You can probably get a Jain to fight you over that prospect!

Obama's ACHING to be a WAR PRESIDENT, though. Can't you feel it? He needs a couple of small plus quarters of growth and a consensus to take it slow on fiscal '10, and then he'll really be able to play armchair general in South Asia.

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