Or perhaps even more worrisome “for the rest of the world” is a certain saber-rattling ex-KGB Chief and aspiring international Puppet Master, who invades his neighbors, shoots down civilian airliners, and declares ‘war’ on gays (among other things)?

It would be, if Putin actually DID any of that bullshit you mentioned.

We Americans have a very strict definition for what an “acceptable” (to us) world leader should do, think, and say. That definition is: “precisely what the US wants them to do, think, and say.”

Not very liberal, by my way of thinking, to want to control not just the foreign affairs but the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. Sounds a bit fascist to me.

To get specific:

  1. “Sabre rattling” is a label which is not properly affixed to a nation which is acting to insure its own internal security. Any thought that the Russians would (or should ever) accept the Ukraine as a NATO country was absurd; in that case, the provocateur was NATO. Look at the damn map, and decide for yourself. Would the US tolerate a situation where Texas and Oklahoma, after secession, decided to align themselves with Russia and allow Russian military bases there? That’s the only scenario I can come up with that would be in the least bit analogous to allowing Ukraine as a NATO country.
  2. I have no idea what “civilian airliners” you’re talking about, and I don’t think you do, either.
  3. Wars on gays. :-). Please. Russia passed a law banning, IIRC, public demonstrations such as “gay rights parades”. To my knowledge, there are no other restrictions on people’s sexual behavior in Russia. Seems to me that a ban on such demonstrations is hardly a “war on gays”.

A tip: We Americans need to review the “information’ given out by our own government and media with a bit of a more critical eye, when it comes to Russia. Actions in the Ukraine and Georgia are never reviewed by our media nor government from the perspective of the Russians.

Key to any balanced analysis is that Russia considers NATO an enemy and a potential invading force. After all, that’s WHY NATO was formed; to “check” Russia.

Of course Svetlana Voreskova can (and I see that she has already commented) tweak my views on the matter if need be.

One anecdote to leave with, this regarding the hubris regarding economic sanctions. I had a lovely time in the summer of 2015, spending 10 days in Kazan on the shores of the Volga. Kazan is the capital of the province of Tartarstan, which is a large majority Muslim state in central Russia, which the US right-wing crazies should consider next time they become terrified that the US might someday reach 4% in its Muslim population. But I digress.

So, all I had read about prior to my trip in the MSM was how horrible the effects of the sanctions were on the average Russian, and how horrible Putin was for not recognizing this and immediately doing whatever it is the US wanted him to do that day, like a good little puppy, so poor Russian children wouldn’t be starving due to said sanctions.

Well, if that’s your view, don’t go to Kazan. Construction cranes everywhere as new condos go up along the Volga to replace the 1960’s buildings that were — — not so well built under the communists. New office buildings going up as well. Kazan is being built out as a summer sports capital, with stadiums and natatoriums, so those were fabulous as well; it is a primary venue for the next World Cup. Everyone well dressed and driving late model cars. Bustling restaurants.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Sanctions, it occurred to me, may have a noticeable effect on GDP, but do not have a noticeable effect on the quality of life when a region’s economy is still tied to basic resources (minerals and mining) and agriculture; people still need to eat, and the basic materials get sold through the black market anyway. I’m advised that the sanctions have had a more pronounced effect on the business/tech-oriented cities such as Moscow and St. Pete’s, but I haven’t been to St. Pete’s since 2011 (pre sanction) and my only experience with Moscow has been to connect in the airport (not recommended — connect in Amsterdam, given the option).

My $.02.

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.

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.