Russia is one of the world’s chief crony capitalist states. China’s probably number one but Russia is right on up there. Of course we live in a global crony system which we should keep in mind, but Putin’s cadre of oligarchs is a particularly nasty club. Or gang. Of course the world is filled with gangs. (It likely will always will be, though some “gangs” are better than others without doubt.)
Right now it feels like the Russo Gang and the Western Gang are reaching for their switchblades. Not to fight necessarily but eyes are locked. Yesterday talks between the USA and Russia on the subject of Syria broke down. Last night came word of a large civil defense exercise in Russia.
As relations between Russia and the US disintegrate as a result of the escalating proxy war in Syria, which today culminated with Putin halting a Plutonium cleanup effort with the US, shortly before the US State Department announced it would end negotiationswith Russia over Syria, tomorrow an unprecedented 40 million Russian citizens, as well as 200,000 specialists from “emergency rescue divisions” and 50,000 units of equipment are set to take part in a four day-long civil defense, emergency evacuation and disaster preparedness drill, the Russian Ministry for Civil Defense reported on its website.
Basically Russia is doing a dry run of its command and control system in the event the country was presented with a large scale emergency. That is of some concern.
This is occurring while the White House is threatening “actions” in Syria against the Russians.
President Obama faces an increasingly stark choice in Syria — he can order American military action or watch thousands of women and children die as the rebel stronghold of Aleppo falls.
So far, he has shown no willingness to launch a U.S. military response, but White House officials told NBC News Monday they are now considering escalating the U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war, including unspecified “actions…that would further underscore the consequences of not coming back to the negotiating table.”
“Escalating the US involvement in Syria’s civil war.” Boy, that sounds like a great idea.
And hooray, Russia is feeling (or wants the world to think it feels) more confident with its ability to project power, at least according to Sputnik News, a Russian government controlled news agency. In the attached article (below) Sputnik openly questions US military superiority in Syria and maybe even in the Middle East.
For example, over the past year, the Ministry of Defense has picked up on repeated efforts by NATO intelligence to monitor Russia in Syria. Earlier this year for instance, German and Turkish aircraft were flying AWACS reconnaissance aircraft in the area. “This system’s capabilities are clearly excessive for the fight against Daesh, and it’s likely that the aircraft were aimed at the Russian air group in Syria,” Khrolenko noted.
In other words, whatever happens next, so long as Russian forces and Russian weapons continue to defend Syria’s sovereignty, the country won’t be sharing the fate of Yugoslavia, Iraq, or Libya.
Great, so Russia is blustering and feeling good about its ability to fight (at least this is what they say) and we are feeling challenged. This is not a positive development and we pray that cooler heads prevail.
It will be interesting to see if Syria even comes up in the Vice Presidential debates tonight. It really had better. If it doesn’t that might be even more interesting.