Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Are we about to fall victim to one of the classic blunders? The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia,and only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. And slightly behind that is underestimating the Russians facing a crisis. As so eloquently expressed here, it seems like our current administration is being a bit complacent when it comes to the Russians. We shouldn't discount that Russia is going through a significant financial crisis: foreign investment has fallen from $28B two years ago to barely a few billion, their stock markets have lost over 65% since last May, and Russians have pulled $280B out of their markets in fear of an imminent collapse. There are a number of theories circulating in the west of how the Kremlin will respond but largely it's viewed as an acceptance of the crisis...maybe much like Obama's speech indicated yesterday for the U.S. Maybe the largest contributor to this misconception that a Russian surrender to the financial crisis means that they won't be a rising power anytime soon is that Russia doesn't rely upon the same foundations of power that many countries in the west do. After reading Volgi's post again, take a jump over to the excellent assessment by Stratfor.