Friday, April 18, 2014

Russia USA Europe China and the World: Where Are We Headed? Thoughts on The Bear That Talks Like a Man at the WSJ

This is a posting regarding Peggy Noonan's yesterday article in the Wall Street Journal on The Bear That Talks Like a Man: Conflict with Russia neither began nor ended with the Cold War.

Well, before reading further, you may ask, what do WE know about Russia?

With all due respect to Noonan at WSJ and George Friedman of Stratfor​, both experienced in this area of political and military discourse, but that particular article looks to us like a bucket loaded with illusory wishful thinking, wishful thinking that could -- detrimentally -- find its way into U.S. foreign policy.

To understand Russia, it would seem that more information must be acquired, before correct conclusions about events can be drawn.

What are the facts? FACTS.

We surely do not have a monopoly on facts, but some of the indisputable facts are that Russia lords over vast quantities of vital natural resources and that the military has been getting stronger under President Putin's leadership.

Here are some individually selected items in this regard:
  • Furthermore, Putin recently signed an agreement with China over "eased" travel rules between the two powers for "businessmen, scientists, culture and public figures, and athletes": http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/727480

    That does not look like a Russia that is becoming weaker. Indeed, in terms of economic comparative advantage, Russia and China would each seem to have a lot to offer one another in terms of trade at vital levels.
Given all of the above, we thus do not worry very much about Russia collapsing in the near future.

Quite the contrary, we see that the Russian Federation is getting stronger and stronger, economically and militarily, which will clearly create new political conditions in the future.

Demographics are also a very important parameter, with Russia and the USA both having populations near 300 million, which sets limitations on what they can do, whereas Europe dominates economically with 500 million persons.

We wish it were otherwise, but the country we worry about most is the United States itself, a country divided increasingly into haves and not haves, and guided e.g. by a U.S. Supreme Court dominated in the majority by "yesterday yearners" and a similarly backward-looking  populist-populated Congress with too many political elements living in a "Boston Tea Party" nostalgia-like celebration of past glories, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement

whereas the real world is moving forward and leaving America behind.

See e.g.
Only in such traditional parameters as "ease of doing business" and "economic freedom" is America holding its own, and even here the trend appears to be downward:
http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings
http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking
Accordingly, whether or not the political parties and representatives in the USA want political "change" or not, the nation really has little actual choice on the matter, because the rest of the world IS CHANGING.

NECESSITY drives the world, and that means change, by definition.
Hat tip to CaryGEE for drawing my attention to the WSJ article.


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