Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Putin Principle

While reading Mustang's latest post on Russian President Putin, I began to think about some things that I had been thinking for the last several years, since Mr. Putin has been in power.

Here is my comment to Mustang's post, posted in the comment section of Social Sense:

I have often felt that Putin has ice running through his veins. (Unlike Gorbachev who had to have some love for his countrymen, in a time when the jig was up and communism met it's natural demise.)

I have often wondered what ever would possess Yeltsin to trust this man to do what was right with Russia. I think I know, and Mustang has just validated some of it.

My thought about this has been simple: The mafia controls Russia.

When it was the USSR, the only way to get things that the state was unable to provide (through its failed experiment) was the black market. When the USSR folded and Russia became a free market economy, the only ones that had experince in running a capitalistic enterprise, was the black market.

So, in the interim, it legitimized itself; but it kept its ruthless business theories and models. (Attila the Hun would be proud).

Meanwhile, every American economist that had the time, tried to help Russia develop a free market independent of government control. Not only that, we sank lots of money into Russia's economy. They ate it all up.

Then, in the end, they did it the way they wanted to, anyway.

Now, instead of the government controlling the business world, the business world controls the government. The tactics are the same as the mob, because it is the mob. And the mob, is a cold dark entity that has no affection or respect, for those that compete against it.

I would add further that the government of the USSR tolerated the Russian mafia, as long as the bribes were paid. If they weren't, then the non-compliant organization was shut down and the proprietors were sent to Siberia. But today we see a very different circumstance that has developed, since the fall of the USSR. We now see a Russian mafia that is tolerating the government. As long as the favors to the Russian mob keep coming, the kingmakers will continue to allow the Russian government to function, unabated.

What a switch. In essence, the Russian people have traded one form of tyranny for another, like so many oppressed people allow, when making a change from oppressor to oppressor.

But that's the Russian people's problem, right? Wrong.

Now, we see President Putin coddling Iran and buying into the lies they are currently trying to sell in the world market of ideas. For some strange reason we see Putin meeting with the terrorist leadership of Iran, as if nothing is wrong. Yet, when our President makes a statement, it is criticized and even mocked, despite its poignant content.

From the IHT:

"If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it'd be a dangerous threat to world peace," Bush said. "So I told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested" in ensuring Iran not gain the capacity to develop such weapons.


Let's contrast this with Putin's statement, reported from the same article:

But in Tehran on Tuesday, Putin said, "Not only should we reject the use of force, but also the mention of force as a possibility."


Translation: Our businesses are overly dependent on Iranian oil and cannot compete in the world market without it. Therefore, we should not upset the apple cart, lest we lose out ability to compete.

Basically, the Russian mob needs the Iranian oil. And with its long history of oppressive and brutal tactics, they are not going to worry about Iran starting WWIII, in the process. They, like Putin, have ice flowing through their veins and values are not a priority right now.

5 comments:

Mustang said...

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Russia’s oil reserves makes those of Saudi Arabia appear inconsequential. Russia’s problem is getting the oil from beneath the ground, the extraction requiring viscosity reducing technologies. Perhaps Iran’s oil is more convenient to Russia at this time. But since Russian nuclear scientists are responsible for the development of Iran’s nuclear programs in the first place, I think that there is more involved here than sharing resources or technologies.

I think Putin in courting Iran for other – geographic – reasons. By establishing new relationships with the so-called Caspian Sea nations, Putin is appealing for better relations with the Islamic republics that surround Russia’s underbelly. If Putin can create a dependency of these countries upon Russia goods, services, protection, and good will—and serve as their Champion against the “great Satan,” then ultimately Russia will have fewer Islamofascist incidents, increased demand for Russian goods, and more money flowing into its treasury.

I have not thought much about the role of the mob in Russian politics, but from what I have read in the past – you could be correct. Rather than the government tolerating the mob, their roles are reversed. I do know that Mr. Putin is reputed to have dishonestly made millions, so I would not be surprised that Putin is now sharing his wealth with criminal elements—and I am not surprised that Russian journalists have been murdered and their bodies left as warning markers to others.

Mr. Putin can be described in any number of ways—but “good” isn’t one of them. He is cleverly resourceful, and we should be exercising a great deal of caution in our dealings with him. It is always a good idea to remember, when picking up a snake, that snakes bite.

Greg said...

I tend to agree with Mustang. I think Putin is taking a page from Chirac's guide on middle east politics, establishing itself as the anti-US partner. It's ironic that Putin's support for Iran in its obvious persuit of a nuclear weapon gives him credibility, even in countries directly threatened by such a weapon, like Saudi or Egypt.

LASunsett said...

Mustang,

//If Putin can create a dependency of these countries upon Russia goods, services, protection, and good will—and serve as their Champion against the “great Satan,” then ultimately Russia will have fewer Islamofascist incidents, increased demand for Russian goods, and more money flowing into its treasury.//

Very, very good point. There is a three-fold set of secondary gains here. Less attacks, more oil, and a market for their ordnary goods produced in Russia.

They seem to be in more competition with China, for Iran's affections. We don't do business with them, so it doesn't hurt us.

If Europe is serious about denying Iran a bomb, they are more than likely poised to impose sanctions through the EU rather than the UN. The trade then becomes up for grabs, both Russia and China stand to gain from it.

The bright side to all of this (if there is one) is, Iran has been delaying the opening of a nuclear plant there.

One can only hope we are seeing a case of good cop-bad cop, in action here. But not to worry, I will not asphyxiate myself by holding my breath on this one.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//I think Putin is taking a page from Chirac's guide on middle east politics, establishing itself as the anti-US partner.//

Another good point. Someone has to fill the void for the anti-US attack dog role, not that Chirac is gone. How funny is that?

Anonymous said...

Now, we see President Bush coddling Saudi and buying into the lies they are currently trying to sell in the world market of ideas. For some strange reason we see Bush meeting with the terrorist leadership of Saudi, as if nothing is wrong.

must be the gangsta culture.