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Tuesday, May 10, 2016
From Mike: "Virtual Militarism Grows Into Real Peril for Russia."
As the tanks and missiles depart from Moscow, the paroxysm of self-glorification also dissipates, leaving behind the inevitable hangover and the “Now what?” question. Last year, the answer was ultimately found in launching the military intervention in Syria. But this time around, the escape from this adventure—even if it goes smoothly, which would take a lot of luck—needs to be outshined by a new “victory.” The options, however, are growing progressively limited as money begins to run out—while remaining in high demand by Russia’s corrupt state-owned enterprises and embezzlement networks. Putin cannot be sure that the forthcoming parliamentary elections, tightly managed as they are, might not unleash an avalanche of heretofore hidden mass discontent, as they did in late 2011. He has only a few weeks to invent a new cause to rally the masses in support of more of the same, but his subordinates seem to be out of ideas.
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I used to work in Moscow. The closest of my Russian friends tells me Russia now feels like the USSR again, except that they have internet and get outside news. She is pleased that Russia is strong again, she admires Putin's strength, she thinks he is wrecking the economy and says she'd leave tomorrow for the West if she could afford it. This is the attitude of most Russians, according to her, and it's in keeping with my experience with Russia...another unstable and unpredictable tyranny.
It's the shell game. Keep delivering the patter while your blurred hands keep the marks in a trance.
Its been a favorite of politicians, not just dictators, across the world and throughout history. Don't let people focus on the real problems, especially if they have your name all over them.
I'm reminded of a skit I once saw around the time of Watergate. Too far back to be preserved by YouTube. The actor portraying Nixon is announcing that he's directed the military to blow up the sun. He explains that this will prove to the world that the USA is a true world power and not to be trifled with.
They're not out of ideas. Just short on ideas that aren't 'unthinkable' in their global implications.
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