The Russian Menace Made Simple 190

There is currently a major propaganda blitz by arms and security industries to convince us was are in a “new cold war”, and therefore should be spending even more ludicrous sums of money on weapons of mass destruction. Here are a few simple facts.

a) Russia is not a great power. Its total GDP is about the same as Spain’s – and Spain is pretty knackered. Russia has even less economic clout as a basis for world domination than the UK.

b) Russia’s economy is not diversified. It is over-dependent on raw commodity production and export. Its distribution of wealth is even worse than ours, although the Tories are doing their best to catch up. We have a totally false popular impression of Russian wealth because a few oligarchs have most of the money – and export it straight to the West. Capital flight is a huge problem for the Russian economy.

c) Russia is no threat to the UK and never has been. Centuries of Russophobia are entirely baseless. The idea of a defensive posture against Russia is ludicrous as there is no threat. Churchill, incidentally, asked Truman to nuke Moscow. A nuclear attack would be the only realistic way Russia could attack the UK – and the only thing that could make that possible are the mad calls for cold war and more weapons currently being heard in the West. None of which is to say it would be militarily sensible to attack Russia, as history shows. But Russia’s aggressive potential is very limited indeed. It will not be long before Poland plus the Baltic states are economically stronger than Russia.

None of this is to say Russia cannot continue to bully those very weak states which neighbour it. I have no time for Putin’s aggressive nationalism. But his position is fundamentally weak and his powerbase very limited. Neither the left nor the right in the UK (and in this comments section) want to hear this. The right constantly exaggerate Russia as a threat to boost their political interests and military funding. The left want desperately to believe in Putin as a strong counter to the West, as indicated by the ludicrous analyses that the Syria conflict was all about Russia’s decrepit and worthless Black Sea Fleet.

How to handle relations with Russia is not quite as much of a conundrum as it sounds, as Putin’s vaulting ambition is severely limited by his economic constraints. He is feeling that severely now, and it is nothing to do with the token and pointless economic sanctions. Russia desperately needs economic and political form – but Putin’s hand is only strengthened by the bellicose nonsense which enables him to appeal to the powerful atavistic strand in modern Russian social culture. I remain of the view that internationally supervised, genuinely fair referenda in Eastern Ukraine should be the way forward. That should include a new and properly conducted referendum in the Crimea, including free campaigns. It should be made plain that there will be a fast track into the EU for the Ukraine at the end of that process, after the secession of any districts that wish to join Russia.

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190 thoughts on “The Russian Menace Made Simple

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  • CanSpeccy

    And, just have to add this:

    Paul Keating, former Australian PM:

    “Russia is a great state whatever we think about it. It has one particular unique characteristic in the world – capacity to obliterate the United States.”

  • Kempe

    So a couple of dozen people turn out and shout “fascist” a the president. That’s supposed to prove what exactly?

  • CanSpeccy

    Meantime, at the UN, the US, the EU and Ukraine voted against “a resolution urging countries to adopt more efficient measures to struggle against the heroization of Nazism and other forms of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.”

    “the U.S. delegation insisted that the Russia-backed resolution contradicts the freedom of gathering and speech.”

    Right: Heil Fascista Poroshenko.

    Now lets get on with the killing of those Russian vermin and their children cowering in basements.

  • CanSpeccy

    Commenting on the Pew poll of ex Soviet ruled citizens, Kempe lies glibly as usual.

    Averaging the responses of those above and below 40 years of age and eliminating the minority who had neither a positive nor a negative response, one finds that in the eight former Soviet republics or satellites, 27% of respondents believe people are better off under capitalism than under communism, versus 50% who believe people are worse off under capitalism than they were under communism.

  • Paul Barbara

    @kempe: ” If the US Navy is ‘unaware’ of this, they must be remarkably ill-informed.”

    They’re polite and coded way of saying “It’s bollocks”; like much else on this thread.’

    Sure, they’re so polite they have not responded to my direct response to the DoD to confirm or deny the repot.

    ‘Nobody just “resigns” from the US Navy or any other armed service,’

    ‘Really? I wonder why the US Naval Personnel Command website gives the following info:
    ‘Resignations are processed by PERS-834F (901-874-2084). You should also submit a copy of your resignation request to your detailer for entry into your file.

    You will submit an Unqualifed Resignation from Active Duty (ACDU) as an active component officer who will be awarded an Honorable Discharge upon separation.

    MILPERSMAN 1920-190 (Types of Resignations by Officers)

    MILPERSMAN 1920-200 (Officer Resignation Procedures)

    ‘screens only black if they loose power and the Donald Cooks main radar produces 6 MW. A jamming signal would have to be more powerful, there’s no way a plane the size of a Su 24 could carry a transmitter and power supply that big..’

    I am no technical expert, and I very much doubt that you are either. I understand a black screen can occur if no signal is coming through, which is different from a loss of power. To use the ‘logic’ which you seem to think I ‘don’t do’, my analogies would be of a person who shouts in an avalanche-prone mountain valley; the extremely weak sound can be enough to cause a massive avalanche; a Rolls Royce, painstakingly put together over a considerable time, with heavy expense and expertise, can be immobilised with some sugar in the tank, or sand in the gearbox; a human being, having evolved over millions of years, and lovingly nurtured over many years, can be killed by a single bullet or knife cut; an earthquake can be triggered by a tiny amount of energy from a ground-penetrating radar, and so on. So I do not believe for a moment that you need equal power to close down a system to that which powers it.

    ‘Lastly if the Russians really did have this capability would they reveal it in peacetime and allow the US time to develop countermeasures?’

    They may well be demonstrating SOME of their technology to PREVENT things getting out of control in the this very important region. Militaries around the world demonstrate their new technologies in peacetime, for instance they demonstrate their latest fighter aircraft at air shows, and make promo videos of their weapons systems capabilities to further international sales.

    ‘I’m sure none of this will affect your “thinking”, truthers don’t do logic..’

    I’ve already dealt with this before.

  • Kempe

    ” Commenting on the Pew poll of ex Soviet ruled citizens, Kempe lies glibly as usual. ”

    To refresh your failing memory your claim was that:-

    ” the majority of Poles, according to a Pew Research Poll, would be happier to be back in the old Soviet Union ”

    So what have the other seven ex-Soviet satelite states got to do with it? Poland, you were talking about Poland.

  • Kempe

    ” Sure, they’re so polite they have not responded to my direct response to the DoD to confirm or deny the repot. ”

    Are you surprised? They must get hundreds, thousands of letters and e-mails from looney-tune conspiracy theorists. If they answered them all they’d never have time to do anything else; anyway if they did issue a denial you wouldn’t believe it.

    Exagerated reports of Russian capabilites were two a penny during the cold war, if you’re my age you might remember the scares about the latest Migs or the atomic powered plane or the ABM beam weapons, without exception they were the work of a cabal of Neo-Cons and US arms manufacturers using the fear factor to up defence expenditure. I suspect this is one of the same and like all the others total fiction.

  • CanSpeccy

    Kempe, your mode of debate is so uncivil and so intellectually dishonest that it is difficult to understand your role as other than that of a shill. For example,

    ” the majority of Poles, according to a Pew Research Poll, would be happier to be back in the old Soviet Union ”

    So what have the other seven ex-Soviet satelite states got to do with it? Poland, you were talking about Poland.

    But the link I provided answers your question. The majority of Poles with a definite opinion considered themselves “worse off than under communism”. That the same is true, but more so, in all but one of the other six ex-Soviet satellites that were surveyed and also in Russia, in no way negates my point.

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