[FPSPACE] Kremlin Inc (was: RE: NBC News on Safronov funeral, implications)
robot at esper.com
robot at esper.com
Mon Mar 12 11:32:37 EST 2007
I saw this piece Jim described when it aired on NBC.
I was impressed by the number of military uniforms at the funeral
service. Is this normal? Were the pallbearers merely /militsia/
(police) or were they active-duty military? I read the obits and know
that Safronov was admired by lots of folks in the military, and I
know that the military is not happy with the new "civilian"
leadership at the Defense Ministry. "spit in the face" is how one
high-ranking officer described it.
There's a good article, "Kremlin Inc." in the 29Jan2007 issue of /The
New Yorker/ magazine, pages 50-63. Obviously, it predates Safronov's
death by a few weeks. It quotes some of the same folks who appeared
in the NBC story.
OK, now here are some implications.
Before, in Bad Old Days, there was an uneasy troika between the
Party-the KGB-the Red Army. A standoff like in the classic spaghetti
Western /The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly/ . Now there's what?
- The Army (which the other two always feared in the old days, and
thus repressed like crazy, which was the principal reason for
/zampolitsi/ and the purges) is clearly subservient now. With a
little spit to make the lesson stick.
- The old Party (the CPSU, which held itself as the legitimate
repository of the people's sovereignty) is moribund and ideologically
bankrupt. (We can quibble offline about whether that was always so;
but certainly it is true that the CPSU has been utterly discredited
in the popular mind by events since 1989. Remember Richard Rhodes's
comment in /Making of the Atomic Bomb/ that "cynicism is one of the
uglier effects on public morals of losing a major war".) The new
Party means nothing, aside from its generic placeholder label,
"Unity". What's that really mean, but "my way or the highway"? No
wonder Dubya "saw into Putin's soul". Only over there it's more like
"my way or nine grammes of lead".
- Then there's the FSV, successor (sorta) to the KGB (the "sword and
shield" of the CPSU). Oh, wait! The Russian President *is* KGB. Well,
I guess that answers that. Last man standing is the /gaybist/ ! Put
another way, in the game of musical chairs which has been playing out
since 1989, the last chair left was The Big Chair, and a /gaybist/ is
sitting in it.
So, it seems that Russia's new political philosophy is syndicalism,
based on a monopsony (from the internal point of view) of natural
resources and weapons exports, enforced by the secret police. For the
best fictional treatment of the syndicalist "ethos" (one of its
important features is that it hasn't got any ethics), see the classic
dystopian s-f novel, /The Space Merchants/ , by Cyril Kornbluth and
Frederick Pohl. You will recognize much. I think these whackings were
about business, not politics /per se/.
Recall also the thesis about Reagan's secret economic war against the
Soviet Union, as propounded by Peter Schweizer in /Victory/ (Atlantic
Monthly Press, 1994), and further avowed by former Reagan-era
NRO-director & USAF-secretary Thomas C Reed in /At the Abyss/
(Ballantine, 2004). I have discussed this successful strategy to
crash the Soviet economy (which was executed by Reagan's campaign
manager and Director of the CIA, William Casey) on this listserver
before, and I wrote a review of Reed's memoir here:
. http://www.ultimax.com/AbyssRev.html .
Collusion with the Saudis to starve the Soviets of vital hard
currency by glutting the oil market with crude was the critical piece
of that five-part strategy. We owed the Saudis big-time for that
favor, and we repaid the debt in Desert Shield/Storm. That
arrangement has had repercussions to this very day. Namely, 9/11, and
the quagmire in Iraq. Now the shoe is on the other foot, because
friends don't let friends drive airplanes while drunk on religion.
Now the Russkiis are actually making deals with the Saudis!, which
makes the strangest bedfellows I can imagine. (See comment about
Reformation at bottom.) There's an antithesis for you!
So, these recent political developments in Russia have caused me to
reinterpret Schweizer's and Reed's theses. Thesis --> Antithesis -->
A new synthesis! See, all very dialectical and proper. But these are
not just historical matters for dry scholarship, they're also
relevant to this very day. Even though the Cold War ended without a
hot (i.e. thermonuclear) one, which was a surprise to virtually
everybody, the resulting economic fallout nonetheless was a personal
disaster for most ordinary Russians, for which they are still paying
an apalling demographic price. Though we should all be thankful we
are not wisps of radioactive ash wafting about in the stratosphere, I
suspect the Russians are the least happy with how things turned out.
With commodity prices at near-all-time-highs, it would seem that the
Russian State finally has wherewithal to provide for the foreseeable
future, by which I mean so long as the Chinese & Indian economies
continue to grow like gangbusters, keeping demand white-hot. Ordinary
Russians finally have economic security, and with their socioeconomic
pain freshly in mind, they by and large don't give a damn about the
cost in civil rights. It would seem, regarding oil, weapons, and
blatantly screwing with peoples' economies, the Kremlin has decided
that turnabout is fair play. They know full well what we did to them,
so I really can't blame them for trying to get even.
But I warn Russian decisionmakers, if any are lurking here in this
open forum perchance, that in this revanchist game, if that's what it
is, they are losing sight of two much closer and larger strategic,
i.e. existential, threats. Namely, jihadist nuclear terrorism to
which Moscow, more powerfully concentrated in that single city than
ever before, is more vulnerable than anyone; and an unbelievably
expanding Great China, which, with a sufeit of people and money,
might decide that the gigantic grossly underutilized landmass to the
north is just the thing to complete their picture.
Robert G Kennedy III, PE
PS. There's some interesting geopolitical implications about OPEC,
the nascent Islamic Reformation/Thirty? Year War, and the new Russian
syndicalism: namely that the Saudis still have /de facto/ control of
the world market given their ~2 MBPD surplus production capacity,
even though Russia is a bigger producer, and how these all relate to
America's unique potential to reduce demand if she wanted to.
Especially about the potential for business-motivated whack jobs on
*this* side of the ocean, which was the original subject of the post,
if a truly promising alternative energy scheme does appear. But that
is rather offtopic for this list.
---- Original Message ----
>Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 13:18:28 -0600
>From: "Jim Oberg" <joberg at houston.rr.com>
>Subject: [FPSPACE] NBC News on Safronov funeral, implications
>NBC News on Safronov funeral, implications
>Story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17505864/,
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