Wednesday, March 5, 2014

More Empty Threats
 There is no corner of the earth so remote, no nation so insignificant, that it does not represent a vital interest of the United States--former Secretary of of Defense Caspar Weinberger
     Barack Obama and John Kerry just made the stupidest decision a leader can make: they picked on someone their own size.
    Russia is the world’s largest energy producer, supplying 30 percent of the fuels that keep Europeans warm and lit. It’s the biggest supplier of industrial metals. It’s a huge, largely self sufficient land.  In 1945, it emerged a winner in a war that killed 20 million of its people. because of its ruthlessness and ability to take punishment. And that’s not to mention that it possesses hundreds of nukes and with them the ability to instantly erase these United States.
     In short, there’s no feasible way for Washington to slap, sanction, bully, threaten or intimidate the Russkies.
    You would think the honchos of a country that regularly gets roughed up by medieval tribes might have taken that into account. But Obama, Kerry and the yahoos are apparently more in love with hearing their own empty threats than dealing with reality.
    Why are our leaders doing such a dumb thing?  It’s because they’re single-minded imperialists who can’t stop treating the world the way Bain Capital picks takeover targets.
    It was two decades ago that the decrepit USSR busted up into 15 or 16 countries, most of which Americans had never even heard of.  Within a few years, we had military bases in a half dozen of them and were pressing them to forget about their economic needs and replace their Soviet-era weapons with new American ones. And, of course, we wanted a Mickey D’s and a Sunglass Hut on every street corner from Latvia to Siberia. We had won the Cold War and the old Soviet Empire was going to be our new one
    Ukraine was at the top of our wish list. It was big, resource rich and an important part of NATO’s plan to project itself right up to Russia’s borders even though it had officially forsworn such an aggressive policy.
    The problem was that the Russkies had been the dominant power in that part of the world for 350 years and were not about to surrender it to Uncle Sam.  The Crimea is Russia’s only outlet to warm water, without which it could not be a world power. So the Ukraine and Crimea are life and death matters for Moscow.
    The notion that Putin might let Obama pull off a pro.-U.S. coup there a la Honduras was sheer madness. Unlike those drawn in sand by Obama, Putin’s red line will stand. Either that or we’ll have a new Cold War--this one centered in a hot spot that could blow at any moment. Europe wants to keep its lights on and homes warm.  Except rhetorically, it will not follow Obama down the road to confrontation with Moscow. As in Latin America, the U.S., the great isolator, will find itself yet again isolated.