Saturday, December 24, 2016

Exulting in The Certainty of Power

"We can say with certainty: We are stronger now than any potential aggressor. Anyone!"
"Russia must act with alacrity in] adjusting plans to neutralize potential threats to our country."
"We need to enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defence systems."
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin
Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP    Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, meets with senior military officials in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. Russia's military is now stronger that any possible foe, Putin told an annual end-of-year meeting with the defence ministry on Thursday.
Moscow is preparing for the centenary of its 1917 revolution. This is when the Bolsheviks assumed power in Russia. It is what led to the rise of the USSR. Russia's great dominance of its neighbours under the assurance that all were equal and as one, nothing could defeat them. And within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics all would thrive, none would be superior to the other, and the resources that reflected the quality of life would be available in equal measure to all, irrespective of their station in life.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." 

But first the revolution had to cleanse itself of its reactionary irritants, the intellectuals who denied the superiority of the ideology that exemplified the Soviet Union, the wealthy who thought they could evade their responsibility to society, and once their presence was expunged all would be tranquil, the revolution could get on with its amelioration of all the insincerities, insecurities and inequalities that life had offered to those who suffered the misfortune of misery and poverty.

And then a most strange occurrence came to pass, long after the Ukrainian Holdomor and the Nazi invasion when Soviet Russia suddenly disintegrated under the weight of its own tyranny when its satellites weary of 74 years of bondage gradually lifted themselves from their prone condition and quietly rebelled, leading a Russian president to introduce glasnost and perestroika. In his dotage, Mikhail Gorbachev, great man that he was, bemoans the West's failure to Marshall Plan Russia.

A Russia that has gone full circle, from its disintegration to its experiment with Russian-style democracy, back to autocracy veering back toward dictatorship. In lieu of nation bondage the renewed Stalinist agenda is to act under the radar to recoup what was lost. The experiment with Georgia elicited little international backlash, so it was on to Ukraine and further afield to Syria. With all those successes amid demurs from the international community, Russia re-armed under Vladimir Putin is drunk with power and success.

Nostalgically recalling Russia's glorious past, Mr. Putin aches to revive it. He has exalted himself as the successor to Stalin, yet requiring the official palace of a czar, reflecting his munificent majesty. His word now makes the Baltic states tremble for what they don't say, but imply, despite NATO's assurances. Vladimir Putin viewed with disdain President Obama's limp-wristed Syrian rebel policy as he spurned a no-fly zone, leaving the vacuum that Putin filled.

And now he looks to help unseat the UN-backed Libyan government, toothless in the face of tribal-backed militias. An emerging relationship between the Russian-educated and -speaking 73-year-old warlord Khalifa Haftar now in control of a large swath of oil-rich Libya is meant to unseat the west-approved Libyan prime minister. What's in it for Russia? Billions in arms and other contracts from a different Libya.

Mr. Putin has no trouble aligning himself with tyrants familiar with torture and extra-judicial killing.

"Russia's support for Khalifa Haftar in the name of countering terrorism could instead escalate Libya's conflict and undermine the UN-sponsored political process", reported the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, this month. What's that to Vladimir Putin? "We are stronger now" than anyone.

The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
U.S. Air Force via AP, File
U.S. Air Force via AP, File       Like a giant pen stroke in the sky, an unarmed Minuteman 3 nuclear missile roared out of its underground bunker on the California coastline Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, and soared over the Pacific

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