Thursday, August 21, 2014

Putin vs the EU - stunning quote

"His wealth and position are built on the wealth of his people: socialism’s power by contrast is derived from wealth destruction, which explains much of the political divide."

Read Alasdair Macleod's five-star essay on Ukraine here.


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Nick Drew said...

yes, but do we agree ? (with the first bit, obviously)

in any event I'd assess Russia as having a lot fewer aces than Macleod does. Alright, it's invulnerable in one sense: but it doesn't want to be just a vast lumpen territory, it wants its 'rightful' position in the comity of advanced, civilised nations

without, of course, doing anything to earn it

declining population; surrounded by trouble; limited respect (pace, Hatfield Girl); pretty soon it's just a source of raw materials for China, with some interesting history + architecture

(and a striking diaspora of very well-educated & wealthy people)

Sackerson said...

Now that you've given Lord Burleigh's assessment to the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth I, put yourself in Putin's shoes and think how he might see Russia's economic development - maybe holding onto resources in the East but turning Western Russia into a stable modern industrial society? Working to form an EU of Central Asia?

Nick Drew said...

how Putin sees it is simple: try to parlay his excellent (but raw-materials based) trading contacts and hard-won (painfully hard) WTO membership into sales opportunities for manufactured goods (other than armaments)

as I've noted on C@W, the Russian opening gambit on sales of gas to China was to 'insist' it would be a package, 50:50 by value, of gas & goods: & of course the Chinese told them where they could stuff their lousy trucks

stalemate ensued (over the price and Russian insistence on oil-indexation, given that the manufacturing package was a complete non-starter)

broken only by his Ukraine-based desperation, to sign with China, to 'show the West'

an EU of Central Asia? but Russia only understands might-is-right, and Russia-is-best ! and everyone knows this

they just can't help themselves