View Full Version : The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers

06-25-2007, 10:12 AM
25 June - Foreign Affairs / Real Clear Politics - The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/06/the_return_of_authoritarian_gr.html) by Azar Gat.

Today's global liberal democratic order faces two challenges. The first is radical Islam -- and it is the lesser of the two challenges. Although the proponents of radical Islam find liberal democracy repugnant, and the movement is often described as the new fascist threat, the societies from which it arises are generally poor and stagnant. They represent no viable alternative to modernity and pose no significant military threat to the developed world. It is mainly the potential use of weapons of mass destruction -- particularly by nonstate actors -- that makes militant Islam a menace.

The second, and more significant, challenge emanates from the rise of nondemocratic great powers: the West's old Cold War rivals China and Russia, now operating under authoritarian capitalist, rather than communist, regimes. Authoritarian capitalist great powers played a leading role in the international system up until 1945. They have been absent since then. But today, they seem poised for a comeback...

06-25-2007, 12:58 PM
"Who Are You, Mr. Putin? (http://www.kommersant.com/p767833/r_520/George_Bush_Russia_/) The Answer Isn't So Friendly Anymore"

The Russian card again began to turn into a trump card – but in the hands of the opponents of the current Western leaders. And the circle of those leaders, who had assumed the beginning of a partnership with Putin's Russia, has begun to visibly thin: Gerhard Shroeder and Silvio Berlusconi have left, as has Jacques Chirac, and Tony Blair is on his way out the door even as we speak. Only George Bush is left, and he has only a year and a few months left. So he has decided to give an advance summing-up of the period in relations with Russia that is drawing to a close.

"Prior to his massive victory in the elections (http://radiobergen.org/russia/blind.html), there was not a single Western media outlet that even knew who he was."

To them he was just an obscure spy that Yeltsin probably had appointed when drunk. Putin was belittled and ridiculed. When he held his first speech as a President not a single Western journalist attended to listen. God knows were CIA was, but they were also missing. They were sitting in Moscow, and did not even notice that Putin went to Yekaterinburg (Yeltsin.s home town), where the entire Tsar family had been murdered. Putin went directly to nearby Snezhinsk, known as Chelyabinsk 19 which used to be one of the two secret atomic research centers in Soviet (Nizhni Novgorod was the other). These cities are the Russian counterparts of Los Alamos and Livermore.

Putin made a couple of promises. And he has made good on every one of them. He wowed to restore the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) which was in shambles. He wowed to pay all state debts. He wowed to restore Russia (The Empire). He wowed to install the “dictatorship of the law”. Both the Tricolor and the double headed eagle emblem were already reinstalled. The West was in shock when he started to prosecute the criminal oligarchs, of which several fled to the West or to Israel, where they have been given sanctuary to this day.

In just 7 years Putin has created a corporative state and all debts are paid. Moscowites have become the big spenders and international investors of today. He has not named a successor, because there is none. By the end of his presidency he has created enough external enemies and established a solid support from the suffrage and the new “pioneer” generation. They will beg him to continue to lead the Empire. They will beg him not to step down, because sovok russkies don’t have the ability to run a state without a supreme leader. They are happy drinking vodka and eat Borsh while singing sentimental songs.

His weapons are energy and the lame ducks of the West. “Tsar” Vladimir is a leader with full support of his people. In the West till today, only Estonia and Poland are showing guts to stand up against him.

Russia’s covert foreign intelligence (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,273948,00.html) operations against America have reached Cold War levels under President Vladimir Putin, according to Washington officials.

Russia’s covert foreign intelligence operations against America have reached Cold War levels under President Vladimir Putin, according to Washington officials.

White House intelligence advisers believe no other country is as aggressive as Russia in trying to obtain U.S. secrets, with the possible exception of China.

In particular the SVR, as the former KGB’s foreign intelligence arm is now known, is using a network of undercover agents in America to gather classified information about sensitive technologies, including military projects under development and high-tech research.

Yuri Shvets, a former KGB agent, said: “In the days of the Soviet Union, the number of spies was limited because they had to be based at the foreign ministry, the trade mission or the news agencies like Tass. Right now, virtually every successful private company in Russia is being used as a cover for Russian intelligence operations.”

06-29-2007, 07:37 AM
Putin's Arctic invasion (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=464921&in_page_id=1811): Russia lays claim to the North Pole - and all its gas, oil, and diamonds

Putin wants a strong Russia, and Western dependence on it for oil and gas supplies is a key part of his strategy. He no longer cares if it upsets the West.

The dramatic move provoked an international outcry. The U.S. and Canada expressed shock and environment campaigners said it would be a disaster.

Observers say the move is typical of Putin's muscle-flexing as he tries to increase Russian power.

Under current international law, the countries ringing the Arctic - -Russia, Canada, the U.S., Norway, and Denmark (which owns Greenland) - are limited to a 200-mile economic zone around their coasts.

A UN convention says none can claim jurisdiction over the Arctic seabed because the geological structure does not match the surrounding continental shelves.

But Russian scientists have returned from a six-week mission on a nuclear ice-breaker to claim that the 1,220-mile long underwater Lomonosov Ridge is geologically linked to the Siberian continental platform - and similar in structure.

More at the link

07-01-2007, 04:57 PM
Breakthroughs Unlikely, but Seaside Talks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/30/AR2007063000794.html) Will Allow Bush to Dip a Toe in Detente

With little left to discuss, let's insult the first family's dog !

The first time Vladimir Putin met President Bush's dog at the White House, the Russian president seemed distinctly unimpressed. When Putin later played host at his dacha outside Moscow, he presented his Labrador to Bush.

"Bigger, tougher, stronger, faster, meaner," Putin boasted, "than Barney."

In many ways, Russia is a bigger, tougher, stronger nation than it was when Putin took office -- and the relationship with the United States is certainly meaner. Putin, the first world leader to call Bush and offer help after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has evolved from a potential partner to one of the most vexing players on the world stage for the U.S. president.

Some Russia scholars said the meeting may even be counterproductive, seemingly rewarding Putin with a rare invitation to Kennebunkport, even though he recently compared Bush policies to those of the Third Reich and threatened to point missiles at Europe. "It sends all the wrong signals," said Michael McFaul of Stanford University. "It says, 'I can call you Hitler, and you will invite me to your summer home.' It says Russia is strong and the Americans are weak."

Dominique R. Poirier
07-01-2007, 10:50 PM
Some years ago—it was during the late 90’s I assume—I read an essay whose author, a specialist on strategy, I guess, lamented and bemoaned the era of the West vs East. He said that, wholesome, the world didn’t get out of it for better, contrary to all previous expectations; and that things were easier to understand and rein before. Conflicts and other intricate internecine feuds, he continued, are breaking out here and there throughout the world; out of control since there is no longer any door to knock at. He held the post Cold War world as a mind boggling pandemonium. Regretfully, I am really unable to remember neither the name of that expert, nor a single word of the title of the article he wrote. But I have a vivid recollection of its substance.

Does it ring any bell, anyone?