However, like most Americans, you live in a bubble that does not recognize the reality of Russia in anything more than over-simplistic terms.

I think that Caitlin Johnstone is Australian, but I might be wrong.

Russia is f**king with us, and with several other nations.

This is not news. Countries f**k with each other on a rather consistent basis, and the internet has made that a cleaner proposition than the old days, when you had to hire on the ground operatives to do the f**king. Nobody has clean hands on this one.

They have been doing so for at least 10 years, when several of our allies in Europe, some of whom share borders with Russia, began issuing warnings to the US which were ignored by Dems and Repubs,

Interesting phraseology. Our “allies” that share borders with Russia were never supposed to be our “allies”; Russia seemed to think they had an agreement, rightly or wrongly, that those former Soviet states would not join NATO, who they view (with some basis) as a foreign aggressive military alliance. Svetlana Voreskova has written in detail on the history of this.

There is no “evidence” as yet because there has been no legitimate, serious investigation as yet. tRump, many of his cronies, and several members of Congress are obviously in thrall ($) to Russia.

You’re assuming as fact what is not in evidence. It MAY end up being in evidence, but as of now, the allegations of Mr. Trump and others being “in thrall” is your opinion, pending that evidence.

Russia is a bear. It is neither demon nor angel.

That is, without question, a statement applicable to most every nation in the world.

It is, and has been since it’s founding in the 16th century, an empire with imperial ambitions, when Ivan IV, the “Terrible” took control of Muscovy, and conquered the principalities of Novgorod, Kiev, and Khazan; and built upon that.

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation swept Europe, with the result of certain nations and some city-states essentially being run as theocratic dictatorships. However, that said, I don’t consider the Swiss (who sponsored Calvin’s theocracy in Geneva) to be theocratic today. Nor do you, I suspect.

Point here is that assuming that because the Russians were imperialistic in the 16th century, they remain so today, is doubtful reasoning. I’m sure you can list more current reasons for believing this, but I wouldn’t put Ivan IV on that list of evidence.

Putin is ruling a failed state where life expectancy and human rights have plummeted since he took control in 2000. Russia has almost nothing but fossil fuels to sell and maintain its economy; and time is running out on the opportunity to turn a profit before the ‘Carbon Bubble’ bursts.

Sometimes it’s best to let the data speak. The “plummeting” you mention ended in 2005; since then, life expectancy has risen. It is not yet at developed nation standards, but is no longer a standard deviation behind the mean.

Further, Russia’s economy is not locked to petrochemicals. As you can see, the sector “Extraction of Raw Materials”, of which petrochem is a part, makes up only 11% of its economy. Certainly, it was a shock to the Russian economy to see the PPB drop from $150/barrel to $30, but it’s led to a more balanced economy overall, with petrochem making up < 10% of GDP.

I would compare this situation more to Houston’s economy in the early 80’s, when oil dropped from $45/barrel to <$10. Even in the US’s developed economic environment, it took Houston over a decade to recover from that and start growing again.

So, I think that your definition of a “failed state” differs than mine. I spent 10 days in Kazan in 2015, there for the FINA World Championships, which were hosted in a first class facility that next year they will hold the World Cup in; the real natatorium, which was next door and hosted the non-racing aquatic events, was breathtaking. Kazan was/is an immaculately lovely city that showed no signs of economic hardship. Construction cranes were everywhere, nobody living in the streets, late model cars, fashionable people, and a lively outdoor entertainment district where people wandered about an enjoyed coffee or dinner outside, just like any other European city.

Now, there were SOME signs of shortage; it was not uncommon for us to order something that was not available that day, but plenty WAS available; and I was told that the economic stress in St. Pete’s and Moscow was much more palpable, as those highly-developed cities constricted economically to meet the realities on the ground.

But if you thought there would be human misery on display, you’d have been disappointed.

Russia needs tRump, Rex Tillerson and Exxon to carry out fossil fuel extraction in the Arctic by getting sanctions dropped so that they can harvest what a $500 Billion investment in extraction technology can produce.

I’m sure they would like that. However, what Russia really NEEDS is continued investment by US tech companies and manufacturing to diversify their economy even further.

Russia needs the EU and NATO to be split into pieces so that they can continue to be a major provider of gas to Europe.

I’m sure they would “like” that as well. However, whether they NEED it is doubtful. Big world out there. After a horrid 2015 which was sanctions-induced, Russian GDP has stabilized and they are now out of recession.

There are no limits to what they will do to assert Russia’s supremacy over the West, which they see as ‘Decadent’: immoral, unnatural, and in a state of decay.

Well, kind of hard to argue that “decadent” part. We’re a lot more interested in our celebrities than we are in our business innovators and leaders that we depend on to create an economy for our children. Not good.

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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