Saturday, December 6, 2014

Putin's boast

Okay, I confess. At first pass I thought Vlad Putin was just being a Russian jingoist, putting on his best spin to counter a domestic concerns of a troubled economy, as he spoke to the Russian people this week.

Putin spoke of sovereignty, and of Russia's military power, according to press reports including this one:
"I want to stress: either we will be sovereign, or we will dissolve in the world. And, of course, other nations must understand this as well."
Putin continued:
"No one will succeed in defeating Russia militarily," he said. "They would have been delighted to let us go the way of Yugoslavia and the dismemberment of the Russian peoples, with all the tragic consequences. But it did not happen. We did not allow it to happen." 
"The more we retreat and justify ourselves, the more brazen our opponents become and the more cynically and aggressively they behave."
Turns out, Putin may not have been simply been pandering to his Russian masses. His comments may have been in direct response to a U.S. House of Representatives resolution.

HR 758, passed the same day as Putin's address, was billed as a resolution “strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.”

Former Congressman Ron Paul is no fan of the House action, calling it "sixteen pages of war propaganda that should have made even neocons blush, if they were capable of such a thing."

Paul describes the resolution as a provocation, perhaps to be interpreted by the Russians in line with a declaration of war.

Ron Paul doesn't always get things right. But sometimes he knocks one out of the ball park.

I worry, as Mr. Paul does, that we have a government more focused on rhetoric and show, too impressed with its own bluster.

Mr. Putin, I suspect, has a more practical and tactical mindset.

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