Setting the Record Straight

August 12, 2008

What’s Putin Up To?

Cold War II?

         Back in July, almost as a throw-away line in an Outside the Box item on Afghanistan, we noted the United States is the world’s sole super power, “until Vladimir Putin gets Russia back up to the old Soviet strength….”
         Later in the item, we noted we defeated the U.S.S.R. not with warfare, but with money, with the U.S.  ability to spend more money than the Soviets in the Cold War arms buildup. Finally, Mikhail Gorbachev, thankfully with a modicum of training as an agriculture economist before he became the Soviet Union’s last president, could see the end game, quit the Cold War and folded the Soviet Union in 1991.
         Since then, the Soviet Union has contracted back into its pre-Stalin boundaries, largely areas that never spoke Russian before the expansion of the Russian Empire in the 1800s. That contraction allowed restoration of the sovereign nation of Georgia, which sits astride the stretch of land between the Black and Caspian Seas, just above the oil-rich Middle East. It also established its own democratic government.
         Today a pipeline vital to Russia is stretching from the Caspian Sea into Georgia, past its capital of T’bilisi and across Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea. That is a valuable outlet for Russian oil, which, along with natural gas, is the base of the new nation’s economy. Russia has become the world’s second largest exporter of oil and the largest exporter of natural gas.

         Putin was a two-term president of Russia, and before he had to step down from that job as required by the Russian Constitution, he arranged to hand-pick his successor to serve as his presidential puppet and in return name him the next prime minister earlier this year. There is little doubt he will use that office to remain Russia’s leader.
         So what is Putin up to in Georgia? The attraction of controlling the former Soviet portion of the pipeline seems obvious. That would take Russian troops next into Azerbaijan, across which the pipeline begins its journey from the Caspian.
         Does he see Russia’s energy-based economy growing to the level the country without the burden of its Communist-era satellites, could once again compete with the United States in Cold War II? The United States is not looking any too strong itself, right now.
         So weak is the United States thanks to the Iraq-invasion lunacy and its own oil-price economic woes, it is likely to have almost no diplomatic influence on the outcome of what already has been termed a war between Russia and Georgia.




  1. Perhaps we should be asking this question of “Putie’s” buddy, George…

    Comment by draabe — August 12, 2008 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  2. yes. unfortunately, cowboy diplomacy knows no borders.

    Comment by straightrecord — August 12, 2008 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: