Interesting times indeed.
Watching the dual between Putin and Obama would be instructive (and amusing) if the consequences of the battle were not so dire. Both are amoral, both are ideologically wrong, and both are tragic second-handers whose self-image is based on what others think. It’s a fight that can only end in tears all around.
In one corner you have Obama, the protected species; untouchable. An inexperienced amateur bumbling his way through somehow, glossing the mess over with his silver tongue, and getting a hand-up from mainstream journalists raised on the same liberal-leftist fare, for whom Obama is the flag-bearer.
He’s got a good percentage (perhaps half) of the US electorate behind him, not because they share an ideology (they’re either too stupid or too skeptical to speak of ideology), but because they share in the loot that Obama and his cronies are dishing out.
He’s got Europe on side, though increasingly reluctantly. They know somehow that he’s a fraud, but he’s only doing now what they’ve been admonishing America to do for decades. Careful what you wish for – you might get it.
In the other corner is Putin, a professional bureaucrat, raised on subterfuge; a hard-nose bully.
And he is the hardest kind of bully. Most, when someone finally stands up and slaps them down, shrink in shame and self-pity. Putin though, is the rarer breed. He means it and he’s tough. You could whack him to the point of concussion and he’d still drag himself up and fight on. The tighter the corner you back him into, the harder he’ll fight. Worst of all, his small-penis-compensatory machismo endears him to a large majority of his countrymen, most likely because it embodies their own national insecurity; their yearning for the Motherland to be strong and prominent once more.
Third-man in is Europe… well, really Germany, who, as the “economic engine” increasingly dictates EU policy. They would love to take Putin down; the echoes of 1938 are loud and frighteningly clear. But, the principled stand required would leave them cold. Literally. Russia controls enough of their energy supply to make their winters very uncomfortable and very expensive. For a generation raised on the pillow of welfare and under the blanket of US security, that kind of hardship is unthinkable. And throwing principles like national sovereignty, justice, and honor under the bus in the name of “keeping the peace” is easy for a culture so thoroughly steeped in post-modern relativism. When it’s “your truth” versus “my truth”, apathy, pragmatism and compromise reign supreme.
So how will it play out?
Russia may take Eastern Ukraine, make incursions into the “Stans”, start sniffing at Belarus; but these “geographic plays” are secondary. The primary weapon Russia holds is financial. The USD is on the brink of losing it’s status as the world’s reserve
counterfeit money currency. If Putin initiates acceptance of other currencies in payment for oil and gas, that will push the USD into the abyss. It will be like removing the bottom-most layer in the house-of-cards that is our global monetary system.
My guess is the only reason that hasn’t yet happened, by Russian or any other hand (say, the Chinese), is that the resultant economic crash and societal chaos will make the Great Depression look benign. Even the worst of bullies are loath to start a fire that is likely to burn them too.
But if Obama et al. continue to up the ante, sooner or later their bluff will be called. And if they back-off, and “The West” capitulates, letting Russia off the hook this time (sacrificing some of Russia’s near neighbors in the process), the Sword of Damocles that is our massive, debt-driven ponzi-scheme of a monetary system will still be hanging by the thinnest of threads. It will then be the next “crisis” in the Middle East, China or maybe even the US, that brings it crashing down.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, when the dust has settled, a good deal of your wealth is gone, and we’re resigned to a new era of dark-ages-like toil and hardship for “the masses”, don’t worry about Barry and Vlad. They’ll no doubt be enjoying a little time-out together on Barry’s Hawaiian estate or Vlad’s Moscovy Dacha, with some of their pals from the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank.
Ayn Rand once observed that a people get the leader they deserve. Personally, I find that in Obama and Putin that rings sadly true – the US has become frivolous, complacent, and image-obsessed; a Joker, while Russia is a force-driven, jingoistic bully with a chip on its shoulder; a thief.