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Have We Reached Peak Putin?

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The capture of a few pawns has cleared the chessboard, but the strategic choices already made have greatly reduced Putin's room to maneuver.

No tree grows to the sky. Once extremes are reached, trends reverse, often with symmetry: the decline often matches the ascent.

Which leads to an interesting question: have we reached Peak Putin?

Let's start our inquiry by noting that pundits from across the political spectrum are all busily chainsawing events up to fit into their little boxes of existing narratives: Cold War Redux, World War 3, neo-Nazis, etc.

One key driver of this stale parade of pre-packaged opinion is the instinctive urge to cheer for whatever team is on the field opposite the U.S. and President Obama. This natural urge leads to indefensible hypocrisy along the lines of "Brand X Imperialism bad, brand Y Imperialism good." If you oppose Imperialism and Great State meddling, then you can't oppose one brand of Great State meddling and support another brand.

Let's stipulate a few things to get them out of the way, so we can we proceed beyond the chainsaws and little ideological boxes.

1. All nations act in their own self-interest, and all states do so while claiming noble purposes that are patently absurd. To support one nation's actions in its self-interest while decrying another state's actions in its self-interest undermines one's claim to objectivity, to say the least. By all means, be a partisan, but lay open claim to being a partisan; anything less displays the same hypocrisy as that of self-serving states.

2. Crimea: done. the West had no leverage, and the U.S. hypocrisy was blatant: we favor democracy and self-rule only so long as the elections go our way. Uh, right.

3. Just because Ukrainians speak Russian doesn't mean they want to be annexed into Russia. Most Ukrainians speak both Ukrainian and Russian. By the logic of those claiming Russian speakers are naturally part of Russia, the U.S. could annex all of Canada (with perhaps the exception of French-speaking Quebec) on the grounds that Canadians speak English.

4. Desiring cordial economic and cultural ties with Russia is not the same as supporting annexation of Eastern Ukraine to Russia. The memory of those liquidated by Russians or given "tenners" in Siberian work/death camps has not yet been extinguished. All those convinced that Ukrainians want the warm and fuzzy embrace of Russia would do well to read the three volumes of The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956
The Gulag Archipelago 2
Gulag Archipelago 3

5. There is room for a non-neo-Nazi nationalism, but only if every nationalist isn't painted with a Neo-Nazi brush. There are reasonable nationalists in Ukraine but their voices aren't registering in the hyper-coverage of neo-Nazis, Western plans for World War 3, etc.

6. Being rabidly anti-American doesn't necessarily mean you have to automatically be rabidly pro-Putin. If you oppose Imperialism and Great State meddling, then be consistent if you want to retain any credibility.

If we set aside the Cold War Redux narrative, we are clear to see some interesting things that are neither pro nor con, they simply are.

1. Russia used its energy leverage over Europe with such great gusto that the blowback will reduce that leverage. Europe is scrambling to develop other sources of natural gas, and doing anything less would not be acting in Europe's self-interest.

2. Massing conscript troops and an army with limited ability to maintain its supply chain once inside Ukraine is another example of sparking blowback that will last for years and perhaps decades. Pressing your energy boot on Europe's neck was bound to create a strategic response, and massing troops on Ukraine's border has the same consequence.

3. While Putin's popularity is sky-high, domestic support for invading Ukraine is low. Should the poorly paid conscripts start coming home in body bags, Putin's domestic support will be revealed as an inch deep and a mile wide.

4. Russia's energy pacts with China and India are positive developments for Asian peace and development. China and India need more energy, Russia has surplus to sell--it's win-win not just for these nations but for the world. The peaceful trade of energy is a major plus for everyone.

5. But selling energy to Europe and selling energy to China and India are not equal: China and India have seen the way Russia has exploited its energy leverage in Europe, and Russia will find it has precious little political leverage over China and India, who will be sure to develop alternative sources of natural gas. The loss of political leverage over Europe will not be offset by an equivalent gain of leverage over China and India.

6. Russia has ruthlessly exploited its monopoly over natural gas by charging politically influenced prices: Poland, for example, pays a lot more for Russian natural gas than Germany, even though the gas flows through the same pipeline.

7. Once Russia loses pricing power in Europe, it will not gain pricing power over China or India. Those nations have other sources and cannot be held hostage in the same way Poland et al. are currently held hostage.

This means Russia will be earning considerably less per therm of energy once it ships natural gas to China and India.

Slowly but surely, the global natural gas market is becoming more integrated. Those currently charging cartel/monopoly prices will see their energy earnings decline.

8. In terms of national income, Russia is as dependent on energy earnings as any other "resource curse" oil exporter. The loss of pricing power in Europe and a decline in energy income will become headwinds for the Russian state.

9. Putin's domestic popularity flows from nationalist pride in the Olympics and in reclaiming Crimea. But now that those high points are past, Putin's options are not so lopsided in his favor.

Threatening (or invading) Ukraine reminds everyone in Europe why they fear Russia, and why Russia is not truly European. Domestic support in Russia for annexing part of Ukraine is low, for good reason: who wants to be responsible for the costs, financial and political?

10. Reclaiming Crimea makes for good theater and is a geopolitical plus, but it does nothing to reverse Russia's real problems, which include corruption, wealth inequality, low birth rates, etc.

11. Russia's military looks good on paper and in photos, but it's not as prepared to mount a sustained campaign within Ukraine as advertised. Asymmetric warfare doesn't respect lines on a map.

12. If Putin had set out to reinvigorate NATO, he would do exactly what he has done to date. Anyone thinking the U.S. Deep State is in despair about Putin's moves has it backwards: everything Putin is doing is fueling blowback and resistance in nations that were potentially friendly to Russia. Nothing tells you who your friends are quite like troops massing on your neighbor's border.

As a refresher, here's a map of pipelines connecting African natural gas fields to Europe.



Given the context laid out above, it seems increasingly likely that we've reached Peak Putin. The capture of a few pawns has cleared the chessboard, but the strategic choices already made have greatly reduced Putin's room to maneuver.

Ukraine: A Deep State Analysis (February 27, 2014)

Ukraine: Follow the Energy (March 4, 2014)


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Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:21 | 4608346 peter4805
peter4805's picture

Putin / Paul 2016!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:27 | 4608353 vie
vie's picture

Peak Putin my ass.  China/Russia Gold backed currency, bitchez!

Or just let Iran/Syria v. Israel to blow up on it's own.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:31 | 4608365 svayambhu108
Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:35 | 4608379 vie
vie's picture

Indeed, who really believes it's US/NATO vs Russia anyways?  Seems more likely Obama and Putin are like, "So... What country should we divy up next?"

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:36 | 4608387 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Peak Charles Hugh Smith... we're past it.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:54 | 4608399 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Charles... you lost me at

1. All nations act in their own self-interest

Actually they tend to act in the perceived best interests of those who control the strings of national power. Rarely in the nations (the citizens collectively) best interests itself.

Just look at about anything the Cheney/Obama administration has done for Americans lately...

(Stupid wars, spying on its own citizens, neoliberal trade policy, neocon foreign policy, Banksters first, Obamacare etc etc...)

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:04 | 4608453 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Chuck is correct.

They own = their own.

You and I are just tenants who pay rent since 1913.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:51 | 4608695 strannick
strannick's picture

Putin's defensive game has been a reaction to US hubris, in Ukraine and Syria. The sooner the rotten debt ridden husk of America keels over, the better for everyone. China Russia are creditor nations, far from peaking

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:05 | 4608872 Latina Lover
Latina Lover's picture

Charles Smith, I respect your work but in this instance, I have to strongly disagree.   Putin had no option but to regain sovereignty over Crimea lest he lose the Russians Primary and only secure warm water port  Moreover, he secured tens billions of dollars in offshore oil and gas reserves (blocking Ukraine from same), and saved huge sums of money in terms of subsized gas to the Ukraine.  Having visited Crimea at least 8 times, I have no doubt most of the population was in favor of joining  Russia. It was historically a Russian state, 97% of the population speaks Russian (now a denied language in Ukraine), most of whom despised Kiev for corruption and incompetence.

As for Peak Putin, it is the debt ridden west, choked by regulation and lack of freedom that is in decline.  Instead, Putins strong blocking move sent a clear message to NATO, this far and no more.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 21:45 | 4609175 philipat
philipat's picture

I share the disappointment with the lower than normal standard of this piece by a normally superb writer. Specifically:

  1. Russia's energy sector has decreased from 40% of GDP to about 15% today. Russia is the largest consumer economy in Europe, which explains why US and German retailers are so keen on not folding to the Military-Industrial complex.
  2. Russia's National debt presently amounts to about 3% of GDP versus that of the US of about 100% and climbing.
  3. You do not even mention the real weapon that Russia can and will use as necessary, which is to seed the destruction of The Petro_Dollar by pricing all its energy contracts in Gold, Rubles. Yuan or any currency OTHER THAN USD. This will be the case initially in the Inda and China deals and with Europe will follow later.

I agree totally with the comments regarding hypocrisy with Ukraine and elsewhere but aren't the above listed matters of sufficient importance to be discussed in any serious strategic review of Russia's influnce on the 21st century, especially now that financial war has become as important as, if not more important than conventional warfare?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:14 | 4608472 douglas
douglas's picture

Yeah Charles, stick to Economics please!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:35 | 4608669 Poundsand
Poundsand's picture

Yes please.  This is horrible analysis.


2. Supply chain issues?  In Ukraine?  Hardly.

3. Russians are not Americans.

5. It's not about leverage over India and China, it's about leverage over the West.  Selling it to India and China increased it's leverage over Europe.  The energy isn't just to heat homes in the winter, it's the lifeblood of economies.

8. Energy pricing power declining because of headwinds?  Please, I guess the planet he is on has an unlimited supply and a shrinking thirst for it.

9. Until he hand's Obama his next defeat.

10. As does all of the West.

11. Again, please.  It's not like they are fighting on the other side of the globe with entirely unrealistic rules of engagement.

12. Okay.  Completely out to lunch on this one.  As if Europe wants to reinvigorate NATO.  Have you seen Europe's army lately?  And I have yet to see the headline where Germany is cranking up it's war machine, let alone anyone else.

Finally, talk about long supply chain issues, does he think those pipelines are actually safe?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:40 | 4609000 yrbmegr
yrbmegr's picture

Unlimited energy?  Check.  All you need is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust, 1100 W/m2 of virtually inexhaustible radiant energy, and some batteries.

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 01:01 | 4609637 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

Finally, talk about long supply chain issues, does he think those pipelines are actually safe?

Europe will have to reinstate its colonial policies in Africa to keep Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Lybia stable and compliant - all the countries on the way of respective pipelines to keep NatGas flowing from Africa. As for Putin, it's not a question of if he ran out of room to maneuver, he barely started ripping benefits of energy Empire he so carefully built, the question is whether collective West has ran out of feet to shoot itself at. Think not. Battle for Ukraine has just begun, Crimea was just an episode of prolonged confrontation to remind the West of Russia's negotiating position in the region.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 22:24 | 4609300 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

RIGHT, Zer0head! I was going to write the same comment, but then I saw that you have already made that point.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:44 | 4608406 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

Charles Hugh Smith has learned to love Big Brother.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:04 | 4608455 angel_of_joy
angel_of_joy's picture

No. He's just out of his depth.

Again !

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:11 | 4608415 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

my thoughts as well.  Russia saw the game and wanted in.  There may be a confrontation between the major powers some time down the road, but right now there's still money on the table.  Split up the weak states and put on a good show for the rubes back home- remind them why they need the state. The Ruskies are comin'!  Or- the US is taking over! 

Just as with alQaeda- enemies are only declared as enemies when such distinction serves a purpose.  Common interest makes the best of friends.



Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:23 | 4608491 Freddie
Freddie's picture

When I saw that Putin and Russia have a $10 billion country fund being invested by BlackRock and goldman types - I think Russia and Putin are the smae side of the coin.

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 02:41 | 4609746 UrbanMiner
UrbanMiner's picture

Hardly, Putin is a Russian nationalist, Obama is a puppet of Zion. Putin represents Russia's interests, Obama represents the interests of a financial cabal. 

The move on Crimea was something Russia had no choice but to undertake, they were not going to lose access to their naval fleet, and they were not going to allow NATO to take it over. This is about Zion looking to set up the kill shot on their old arch enemy, the Eastern Orthodox Christian population of Russia. Period. Energy transit routes are secondary, everyone needs the energy, so it will flow, this is about containing Russia and reducing it finally to a client state with no ability to defend itself from civilizational extinction.

Why is Russia's population in decline? Who implemented and installed Bolshevism on the Russian people? What was the Russian White Army and why did they lose to the Bolsheviks?

There are people who want Russia decimated, for reasons that would take days to discuss, all this chatter about Russian imperialism, Russian aggression and so on is truly, in every sense of the word, Orwellian. Forget Stalin, and the Reds, these were overlays upon the Russian people. These were not Russian, they were social experiments imposed upon the Russian people, by the hand of Zion.

The cornerstone of the Christian world and the morality that allowed the movement away from tribalism stems from the teachings of Christ. Whether religious or not, the current of Christian thought was like a light upon the world, no matter how misrepresented it might have been from time to time and place to place.

Today the true home of Christianity is not in the corruption of Rome, it left Rome for Byzantium almost 1700 years ago and maintained a relative harmony and strength for over a thousand years surviving wave after wave of Rome's Crusader armies until the Ottomans, under the hand of their money masters, finally brought it down. Today we see the replication of that struggle, with the destruction via economic and military means of all countries carrying the banner of Eastern Orthodox faith (the remnant of Byzantium), a faith which is the primary buffer to global hegemony by the powers of Zion.

Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia, Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, etc all Eastern Orthodox, have endured and still experience extreme pressure under the powers of Zion. They must be crushed into social extinction/submission. Russia is by far the biggest thorn. The other thorn to Zion is rational Islam - see Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, etc. - a pattern emerges. In those nations with no real lasting moral fabric (atheist populations), no social cohesion to protect against massive immigration, and no obstacles to economic control there is 'prosperity' and 'freedom', like the United States, Britain, Canada, Sweden, France....

Yet despite the temporary 'freedoms' enjoyed' under the beneficence of the money masters of Zion, the morally bankrupt western nations are falling headlong into a spiritual blackhole, subsumed by techno-atheistic thinking, heading inevitably to their complete control under a Brave New World scenario dreamt into reality by Zion and their Rabid Messianic genius.

The hate is on for Russia and Russians, nothing new here, but don't be fooled by the external appearance, this is a conflict going back centuries, and it is coming to a climax real soon. 

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:02 | 4608446 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Any headline with a question mark is bullshit or propaganda.

Journalists are supposed to report/write facts as they are known. That a "story" has a question mark in the headline indicates that no facts will follow.

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 00:19 | 4609561 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

It is also a HUGE tool of the propaganda media. They will have a headline stating what they want the brainwashed to believe but disguised as a question. The "article" will "blah, blah, blah," on with stuff, but the "idea plant" has already happened.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:04 | 4608451 TaperProof
TaperProof's picture

No Putin is just getting warmed up.  There will at least be more financial warfare, retructuring how Russia does business to cut the US and the Dollar out etc.   Plus who knows what Washington will do to provoke further conflict, so on and so forth.

We are not at peak Putin

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:13 | 4608470 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

"Currency wars, trade wars, world wars."

-Gerald Celente.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:17 | 4608942 mccvilb
mccvilb's picture

   Bloodless takeover of Crimea - pawn up, Putin,

   Crimean referendum, overwhelming turnout and euphoric win - two pawns up, Putin. For any grandmaster, game over.

   90% of Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea defect to Russia - Putin castles, takes control of key positions. Putin up in time and material.

   Obama unilaterally orders fab 8 to kick Putin out. G-7 very concerned, sheepishly ask for a refund on Sochi lift tickets.  

   Obama's one-handed clap speech - Putin left speechless, along with the entire EU. Now realizes the O-man's a puppet of Jeruselem.

   US Sanctions, oh no! Putin laughs, returns favor. Straight exchange, a big disavantage to a player with lesser material.

   Kerry tries to confront Lavrov - a huge strategic blunder.

   Putin visits w Chinese then calls Barry, announces checkmate in five.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:35 | 4608384 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Apprently, 30,000 Alaskans want to rejoin Russia.  I guess they do not like Obama much.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:20 | 4608951 mccvilb
mccvilb's picture

Too funny.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:28 | 4608359 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Peak Putin? Maybe, this weekend's Barron's says $75 oil coming soon.

Peak everything? Maybe, I just saw the NEW Rolex Sky-Dweller... Price: $49,000...!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:38 | 4608390 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Barrons?  Seriously dud do you subscribe to that crap?  Well you arei bearings so you might need commodity data out of Barrons.  Anyone remember their buy signal on GM after it went public again after screwing the bond holders?  Barrons is a joke.  Alan Abelson?   F***king clown.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:50 | 4608422 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Abelson's friends and enemies both enjoy the fact that he has been a bear since 1200 on the Dow.  Crazy but true.

But the individual stocks he has panned have turned out to be DAWGS.


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:30 | 4608805 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Just a quick reminder to everyone, Alan Abelson has been dead almost a year now.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:46 | 4608416 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Yes Peak Putin, Peak housing, peak Fed, peak gubbermint intervention.  Peak lame stream media.

Great Piece.  Putin has done more for European solidarity than all the wine and caviar in Christendom.

Let's hope they do something more about energy.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:08 | 4608460 EatYourCornTake...
EatYourCornTakeyourPill's picture

Best written piece about Putin, I've read on here. The blowback Putin created over Crimea paves the road to his own demise. Russia's growth has been completely dependant on Gas/Oil, now that every sees the leverage first hand presented in their face. Alternatives are being aggressively pursued.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:10 | 4608594 TheFutureReset
TheFutureReset's picture

If this consolidates opposition to Russia, doesn't everything the west has done over the last decades consolidated opposition to the West? 

I'm waiting for a pivot from Russia because the west has no creativity. Putin will get the next one too. 

We need a Reset

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:58 | 4608552 johny2
johny2's picture

sheeple of europe unite! the power of media propaganda machine over the population is quite amazing. peak propaganda.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:58 | 4608718 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

As I recall, people have speculated that Obama's trip to KSA was about (a) getting the Saudis to drop the Crude prices and thus take money out of Russia's income stream, and (b) getting reassurance that KSA will continue to back the petrodollar.

Dropping the price of crude -- or trying to get people to believe it, in an attempt at self-fulfilling prophecy -- would cause the Russian oil oligarchs to worry and reduce their level of support for Putin.

A lot of Psy Ops and Tactical Ops going on.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:32 | 4608374 RetiredSilverBug
RetiredSilverBug's picture

Not sure about Russia, but there was Peak Bush when he was elected. After that US% of global trade, manufacturing and GDP was only going down. It was impossible for country to survive without western support 10 years ago, but now one can get all that is needed - loans, weapons, energy, commodities, consumer goods, computers, servers, etc from Russia and China. West becomes optional (really)

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 23:13 | 4609430 MedTechEntrepreneur
MedTechEntrepreneur's picture

Peak Bush was in the late 1970's.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:32 | 4608662 tempo
tempo's picture

Neo cons want war because its profitable.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:22 | 4608348 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

yeah... let's get our gas from stable african countries...

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:35 | 4608383 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

That's what they do in Texas.

Still...hard to argue with the oil play.
"Whoever has the oil can do as they please."

Obviously if we're talking natural gas processing there are a lot of business interests that would like to see Putin win.
And as well the USA won't be selling fuel to Europe anytime soon.

Complex issue "that can be made very simple by re-establishing relations with long lost brother."

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:47 | 4608413 RadioactiveRant
RadioactiveRant's picture

American gas can't be exported but its relieved a lot of the ME supply that can now head to Europe rather than cross the Atlantic.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:59 | 4608564 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Yes.  Many substitution effects, fuel oil in New England, gas and diesel for fleet vehicles, electricity production, etc.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:08 | 4608590 effendi
effendi's picture

I noticed that as well.

The pipe starts in southern Nigeria (no corruption there).

Then goes through northern Nigeria (no whack job anti western muslims there).

Niger? A bastion of enlightenment

Algeria, the same Algeria that had 200,000+ dead in a civil war? The same Algeria that had a gas field occupied by murderous fanatics just a year ago?

A 200 mile gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel is bombed every other month, so a 3,000 mile gas pipeline will be so secure (not).

Plus will a single pipeline provide 30% of Europes gas? Don't think so 



Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:23 | 4608635 Mine Is Bigger
Mine Is Bigger's picture

Yeah.  Besides, Russia can always sell nat gas to China, Japan and South Korea.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:23 | 4608350 Cattender
Cattender's picture

i wonder what happened to that FUCKING PLANE?????

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:30 | 4608369 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

probably wherever the rubble is from those buildings.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:49 | 4608421 Cornholiovanderbilt
Cornholiovanderbilt's picture

Supposedly an IBM engineer dialed out from Diego Garcia.  I don't believe anything anymore so use discernment


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:33 | 4608515 Rakshas
Rakshas's picture

Seems to be having a "Hunt for Red October" moment; the official speculative narrative would  have you believe the "Pilot" managed to crash it into the perfectly inaccessible  spot in the ocean, deep deep deep and rough as hell on the surface ....... "perhaps one day the means will be available to do a more thorough examination of the wreckage..... Perhaps"

......on the other hand was the pilot's name Waldo by any chance??

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:25 | 4608354 Cornholiovanderbilt
Cornholiovanderbilt's picture

Good read!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:27 | 4608361 ronron
ronron's picture

tylers lets hugh make an ass of himself again. nice. low birth rate? and so much other foolish verbal diaria.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:54 | 4608712 NoPantsSpongeBob
NoPantsSpongeBob's picture

The low birth rate argument made me laugh. I don't believe that annexation of Crimea by Russia was expected to fix that problem, or was it? I did read somewhere that Ukraine has become a top sex tourism destination.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:29 | 4608364 RadioactiveRant
RadioactiveRant's picture

A former Putin adviser is saying he might go for Finland eventually... Vladimir Putin ‘wants to regain Finland’ (Independent, London)

If his work is done, why are the troops still lining up?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:49 | 4608403 layman_please
layman_please's picture

nah, don't worry. finland is not part of nato so they must be friends.


Finnish Military Alarmed Over Air Force Drills At Russian Border

Russia to move 3,000 soldiers to Finnish border

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:19 | 4608765 ClassicalLib17
ClassicalLib17's picture

Them squareheads can be a brutal lot.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:46 | 4609020 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Yeah l_p lot's of "conflicting reports out there -like this one...

Obviously Andrea Mitchell couldn't make the "roadtrip"...

Sure hope the editor who allowed this story to go to print doesn't become part of Washington's "Hastings club"!!!!
Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:58 | 4608439 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

Looking to get Russia's ass kicked again?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:34 | 4608366 Tracerfan
Tracerfan's picture

I think we have already reached and passed peak Charles-Hugh Smith.  Good on economics, bad on geo-politics.

Nothing about the history of Eastern Europe, nothing about the Banderist neo-Nazis who seized power with U.S. support, nothing about opinion polls in Eastern Urkraine showing 70% support to rejoin Russia.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:35 | 4608382 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

So worthless I went to look if it was   No, but just as bad.

Everyone is always going to "develop other sources" . . . as if they haven't sought to do that for 40 years.

The North Sea's output is dying.  So is Europe. 

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:40 | 4608397 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Someone figured out the future was natural gas.

It wasn't my idea to put all those pipelines in Ukraine...and only Ukraine I might add. I'm no expert on Russian history...nor will I ever be...but I do know the history of what happened between Russia and Germany in WWII still has not been written.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:01 | 4608443 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

"...and only Ukraine I might add."


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:30 | 4608367 DOGGONE
DOGGONE's picture

Our USA is living the big lie -- that is, these histories are kept out of sight of the people.
"The Public Be Suckered"
I suppose that this status quo provides sizable leverage to Putin -- who has the continuing option to speak out.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:21 | 4608487 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

One of the biggest lies for any American to understand is the true nature of A Lincoln, his administration and the Civil War. All of it is in plain sight but completely spun and ignored to hide the birth of the DC US and related fascist/nationalism.

Once one understands that Lincoln was pro-slavery, truly racist, a corporate stooge bullshit artist extraordinaire, war criminal, and above all, a treasonous slimeball of the highest level, they will begin to understand that everything said since and everything that they have been told is a lie.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:42 | 4608528 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Most people would worship an anal wart if it were elected president.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:29 | 4608653 diluted intelligence
diluted intelligence's picture

Most people do !

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:40 | 4608678 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

/ ??? /

Life Call Commercial "I've fallen and I can't get up!" (1:00)

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 22:22 | 4609293 22winmag
22winmag's picture

His name was William Jefferson Clinton.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:31 | 4608371 Haus-Targaryen
Haus-Targaryen's picture

While ideologicially I disagree with you, you presented your argument in a clear and concise manner. I appreciate this kind of journalism, even though I disagree with it, than this nonsense "red white and blue gee wiz baseball and apple pie" nonsense I have gotten accustomed to. 


Well done. 

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:32 | 4608372 Harbourcity
Harbourcity's picture

As soon as he said the US could annex Canada because they speak English I stopped reading. Idiotic comparison and shows his lack of depth.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:39 | 4608392 Dickweed Wang
Dickweed Wang's picture

Ditto . . . . . all in all not one of Smith's better efforts.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:02 | 4608448 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

It wasn't a good analogy of course (particularly since Canada is technically part of the Queen of England's dominion).

A better analogy would be England having the right to annex Ireland.  The point being that language does not necessarily indicate national loyalty.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:19 | 4608729 NoPantsSpongeBob
NoPantsSpongeBob's picture

A better analogy would be Ireland annexing parts of the Northern Ireland.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:32 | 4608373 kito
kito's picture

Peak western power and influence...

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:38 | 4608389 RadioactiveRant
RadioactiveRant's picture

Peak nuclear non-proliferation.

Ukraine gives up nuclear weapons and suffers invasion within 10 years, by one of the nations guaranteeing its security no less.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:04 | 4608452 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

That ship already sailed when Qaddhafi got kinetic military action'ed.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:51 | 4608542 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Sorry, it suffered a coup and a secession.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:35 | 4608380 Tracerfan
Tracerfan's picture

Eurasia is rising.  Oceania/Atlantic is bankrupt and falling apart.  How does Charles miss the biggest trend of all?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:39 | 4608394 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Does this mean Ed Snowman will be looking for a new home before his Visa expires?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 21:11 | 4609050 mccvilb
mccvilb's picture

In this case 46 yr old Omidyar may simply be a deep pockets billionaire who was duped into supporting what he thought was a humanitarian regime change. He doesn't strike me as the pro CIA NSA type, especially considering the cast of characters he has beneficially funded and surrounded himself with, like Greenwald of the Intercept and Matt Tiabbi, the author of the Goldman Vampire Squid story in Rolling Stone who's no friend of the Tribe. Besides being the creator and founder of E-Bay, ethnicly he's a Persian of Iranian descent born in France and educated in the US. A Bill Gates type, doubtful he's had enough time to develop his political chops.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:40 | 4608396 viator
viator's picture

Peak Keynesianism, multi-culturalism, cultural Marxism, watermelonism.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:42 | 4608398 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:43 | 4608400 Godisanhftbot
Godisanhftbot's picture

 does putin own any Bitcoin, or is he too smart for that?


 450 lol.  1200, peak bitcon.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:49 | 4608419 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture


I think it's safe to say it's time to dump your resource at OfTwoMinds blog,

Whovever wrote this obviously is hell bent on staunching the bleeding in the "blowback" department coming from Chevron' and George Soros' failed "Orange Revolution" redux

I think this one was written by Vicky and "JawFree" with hubby Robert's narcissistic paranoid delusional editorial supervision.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:54 | 4608424 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

CHS gives way too much credit to the clusterfuck that is EU energy policy. Strategic reponse? don't make me laugh. This isn't the first time Putin has used natty supplies as leverage. Did the EU build a natty SPR? Can they even store enough natty to get them through a single mild winter? Have they built a bunch of LPG tankers? Solar panels and wind farms ain't gonna do jack. In fact, europe's infrastructure is almost as bad as russia. CHS doesn't cite a single fact, just conjecture. Africa can supply all of Europe's shortfall? Oh really? No political problems there, eh? Is a pipeline from the ME through Syria any closer today than it was ten years ago? Why can't Russia support their supply lines, they aren't as long as the usa's which stretch across the globe and are utterly reliant on imported oil to resupply. This piece is garbage.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:09 | 4608461 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:09 | 4608917 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

The EU has  storage requirement for each country.  Amusingly, they store it in depleted gas fields:

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:50 | 4608425 finaltable
finaltable's picture

I believe that a fundamental point of this article is completely wrong. I do not believe, especially in politics, that the growth of a thing is followed by a symmetrical decline of that same thing. Human nature is to overextend and when the expansion stops the results are usually catastrophic. The straw that breaks the camel's back does not result in a piece of straw being removed; instead, the camel collapses, its cargo spilled all over the ground. I defy you to name any significant figure in history whose thwarted aspirations resulted in a simple return to status quo ante.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:50 | 4608426 Talleyrand
Talleyrand's picture

"...Russia is not truly European." And that is probably a good thing to be...not European.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:51 | 4608428 agent default
agent default's picture

The bottom line is that the West is bankrupt both economically but most importantly morally, and is in no position to hold territory anymore because a) It can no longer afford to do so and b) frankly everyone has had it with Western hypocrisy and the US playing the global middleman with its US Dollar. We have reached peak Western hypocrisy, peak Western debt, peak Western incompetence and peak Western fraud.  As far as Putin is concerned, all that happened in Crimea is a gentle tap on the shoulder compared to the bitchslapping storm the world has in store for the US and EU.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 16:53 | 4608433 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Does it matter?  Putin got what he wanted for now, and now he's letting things settle back down before the next push.  I agree that Russia has serious long-term problems that none of this addresses, but in the short term this is absolutely a win for Putin and a huge loss for Obama and the EU.

The best strategy is always to have a weak and foolish opponent, and Putin went 2 for 2 in that regard when Obama was elected.  BO desperately wants this business out of the headlines for the 2014 elections so he'll happily agree to a "diplomatic solution" that gives Putin everything he wants.

I don't see how this strengthens NATO at all.  If BO and Kerry had noted that UKR wasn't an ally and was therefore none of our biz what happened to it, that could have simultaneously reassured our actual allies that we have their back AND avoided making empty threats against Russia.  But these dolts had to run their mouths about "costs" and in the process, make the Bush administration look competent by comparison.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:28 | 4608498 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

I agree that BO looks like a dolt here, but I don't think Putin will stop with Crimea either. Why should he? He can take a lot more with relative ease.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:35 | 4608519 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

He's got to be careful here.  BO is a vain windbag for the most part but at some point he's going to get sick of having sand kicked in his face.  Russia is not ready for a war with a powerful country.  Their energy trump card depends on infrastructure out in the middle of nowhere that USAF could obliterate in 72 hours or less, and would take a decade to rebuild.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:46 | 4608533 bitHedge
bitHedge's picture

The Russians and Americans have ICBM's that can fly into low earth orbit and rain down thousands of H-bombs  each with the explosive yield of 500 times all the explosives used in WW2. 


You don't seem to understand what war would mean, are you a NATO general?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:53 | 4608548 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

War would be terrible for both sides, of course.  Which is why Putin isn't going to risk it; but BO might be vain and stupid enough to head down that road if provoked further.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:09 | 4608592 bitHedge
bitHedge's picture

That is what I am afraid of.


The head of the Russian Congress once compared NATO foreign policy, to a monkey with a handgranade

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:26 | 4608789 ILLILLILLI
ILLILLILLI's picture

Nah...BO doesn't have the sac to do that.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:41 | 4608527 bitHedge
bitHedge's picture

I agree. NATO was seriously damaged by these events. The UK, Germans, French, Bulgarians, and pretty much all but the baltic states in Europe refused the US call for soft-power against Russia. Over the last 10 years you have seen the US use NATO as a tool to enlist the military power of its members to launch wars against the economic and social interests of the non-USA NATO members.


The Germans pulled all their military out of the Mediterranean last year because they wanted nothing to do with annihilating Lybia.

I bet the Germans are really happy with the Pentagon for bringing this shit to their doorstep and threatening one of their largest trade parners which they depend on friendly relations and energy......

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:57 | 4608555 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

I think you've got it backwards here.  European NATO members (not Germany but not US either) were the ones screaming for Libya intervention first, and eastern Europe (Poland in particular) was first in demanding to do something about the Ukraine situation.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:11 | 4608599 bitHedge
bitHedge's picture

It was mainly France/Britain that wanted Gaddafi out. Poland didn't fund and organize the coup though they don't like Russia much.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:00 | 4608442 Lumberjack
Lumberjack's picture

This is fight club and god damn it, (this is priceless), it's on (again).

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:09 | 4608462 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Would you like some cheese with that?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:09 | 4608463 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

We have reached peak everything in this world except peak stupidity.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:11 | 4608465 viator
viator's picture

Some peak...

London to Beijing in just two days.

Beijing northward, through Russia to Germany, linking with the European railway system.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:10 | 4608466 Cornholiovanderbilt
Cornholiovanderbilt's picture

Peak sobriety!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:35 | 4608520 navy62802
navy62802's picture


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:14 | 4608468 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

I normally enjoy Charles Hugh-Smith but he swerves into equivocation and some hyperbole here.

Peak Putin?  More likely peak U.S. and peak E.U.

If Russia had backed a socialist putsch in Alaska and the citizens of Alaska voted to join the Russian Federation and the U.S. was surrounded by Russian military bases in Canada, Mexico, and Latin America I imagine America and Obama would not be "calm" about it.

The greatest mistake of nations and leaders in the past 300 years has been to underestimate Russia.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:30 | 4608504 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Er, Alaska is already part of the US.  Poor analogy.

Ronald Reagan's low estimate of Russia seems to have worked out just fine.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:55 | 4608538 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867, formerly Russian America:

Analogy's require the use of a little creativity on the part of the recipient.

There is a big difference between a form of government and the people that comprise the nation.

I'd say the U.S. is falling apart with regard to the government and some of the people that comprise the nation, Russia not so much.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:05 | 4608583 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Yep, Russia sold it because they were afraid of losing it for nothing the next time they blundered into war with the UK.

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 01:24 | 4609670 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

How's the U.K. doing?  Not so great; Ireland sold out and Scotland ready to break away (leave the crown, Brothers).

Pretty sure Russia is head and shoulders minus the dandruff above the U.K.

Tut-tut, let's be realistic now shall we?

U.K. cooked, U.S. basting.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:14 | 4608474 Cornholiovanderbilt
Cornholiovanderbilt's picture

At the end of the day bathhouse B and Vladi answer to the same fkn handlers. Wake up!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:32 | 4608512 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

They both answer to oligarchs, yes.

The same ones,emphatically no.

A shit sandwich vs. a crap one.Ketchup with both.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:17 | 4608477 SHRtheALM
SHRtheALM's picture

Gulag Archipelago is a complete bullshit written by one of those who hungered for destruction of ussr. Solzhenitsyn is just exactly one of the guys who help all those orange/brown/whatever revolutions to happen. And of course, for that he was given the noble prize, sure

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:21 | 4608486 Soul Glow
Soul Glow's picture

Nigerian gas will not supplement Russian gas.  Nice attempt utopian.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:23 | 4608489 agent default
agent default's picture

I just came across  a very entertaining clip from the past that sheds some light on the Russian approach to Crimea and the West in general.  It is a bit out of date, but the situation and the whole approach is very well up to date.

Presenting :

Yes Prime Minister-The Nuclear deterrent

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:08 | 4608912 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

"Salami tactics"  Yup.  Funny, thanks.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:24 | 4608493 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

Those African gas lines could be blown for $1000, or less, repeatedly.  Not safe.


Russia is doing just fine, with China & India.  The U.S. looks like complete morons.


Thumbs down on the entire article.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:29 | 4608499 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

The thing about peaks is you can't see them until you pass them. No one knows what "Peak Putin" is until we have passed the peak and enter the decline, any more than you know what the S&P 500 peak is until after it crashes.

None of us know what hidden surprises Russia has up its sleve, waiting to be used. Suppose Russia is building a massive fleet of tachyon-drive flying saucers that are to an F-35 what an F-16 is to a garden slug, and will move to conquer the whole planet when they are ready. Russia has the brainpower and the research enterprise to do something like this, and unlike the USA, they can actually keep their good stuff secret.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:29 | 4608502 KenShabby
KenShabby's picture

More than a few pawns coming off the board.

It is more like Putin has sacrificed a piece for a more permanent positonal gain on the board. 

Facts on the ground. 

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:31 | 4608509 Solarman
Solarman's picture

Read this book. Russia will never be anything, but will be a source of future major wars.  They are trapped by their geography, climate, and their utter corruption.

They do not control their trade routes, subject to famine, very angry minority populations  And if anyone thinks the Chinese will abandon America for Russia is a fool.  In fact the Kremlin is terrified of the Chinese, and the Chinese know it.

The potential Alliance I strategically fear is if Russia and Germany bury the hatchet and create another strategic alliance.  Russia's resources and intellectual capacity with German engineering, nation building skills, and zero tolerance for corruption would be formidable.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:04 | 4608581 pcrs
pcrs's picture

I would rather say the usa is trapped in an overextended empire. If they take on Ukraine, it would mean more debts that will never be repaid. More client states like the Roman empire had on it's periphery that require a lot of funding to keep loyal.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:21 | 4608771 Solarman
Solarman's picture

Rome is a non sequitor.  America can decide to disengage with very little disruption to its populations well being.  When that happens the ROW is going to be thrown into turmoil as the power vacuums will cause chaos.

Remember wealth comes from the ability to feed itself, energize itself, defensible borders, tradeable goods, and a low corruption political system.  We are and have most.  China, Russia, or Europe will collapse long before america does or will.  My money is on China.

As a long time trader I trade what I see, not what I want or wish for.  Most of you guys on here must lose a lot of money in your fantasy scenarios.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:29 | 4608973 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

What fucking planet are you on?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:39 | 4608997 The Capitalist ...
The Capitalist Review's picture

What exactly are you trading, shitty advice?  Wealth comes from the ability to recognize opportunity and fashion together resources in a manner that makes your fellow man better off.  Feeding yourself and energizing yourself, as regards self-sufficiency need not be the case. The only reason human exsistance has been able to expand beyond a subsistence level is via capitalism and free trade.  Have you ever heard of David Ricardo?  The classical economists, while not right about their labor theory of value, had free trade nailed.  

While you in no way explained why it does not follow to use Rome in relation to the United States, your reference to vacuums must perpetuate that all too often used false narrative of the "benevolent hegemon".  Why is it that you beleive the US makes the world go round?  You must really fancy the idea of a one-world governemnt under the cause of the all knowing dictator BO.  Or Hillary.  Or is that a non-squitor too?  

To your last comment, it's the ability to recognize the Bastiat in the universe and "see that which is NOT seen, not only that which is seen" so I too trade the world as it is, not as I would like it to be.  I'd have a hell of a lot more purchasing power if I was trading my so-callled fantasy world.  

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:39 | 4608525 The Capitalist ...
The Capitalist Review's picture


You've lost it with this one.  This "conflict" is all about culture NOT gas.  Yes, we get it.  Russia is an exporting nation sitting atop tons of natural gas. Noted and done by anyone outstide of the US that hasn't fully lost their brain to Dancing with the Stars.  But your incessant claiming that Putin is about to get "Putined" misunderstands the entire set of events that has recenlty unfolded.  Read Margolis' "War at the Top of the World".  The Soviets, previously the world's formitable LAND power, have  felt third rate to the British then the Americans as a great NAVAL power, hence Sevastopol - the Russians ONLY warm sea port.  Putin can see the writing on the wall with the non-stop pulling and pushing of NATO at his borders every time he turns his former KGB head.  This should be no surprise, listen to Ray McGovern he's got it all laid out a few days ago on Scott Horton's show - this is fully understandable the way he reacted, it has very little to do with natural gas.  It may at some point turn into some of the events that Chuckie is describing, but it was not the genesis of fortifying troops to secure the port that has been with the Russians since Cat the Great.  It's more of an inferiority complex than anything else.  They lost their great land power status with the defeat in Afganistan 25 years ago and have never had a great navy, there was no way ithat Putin was going to give up a piece of Russian history and become even MORE behind the US.  He wanted the port, he couldn't care less about the Ukraine.  I know, I know that's not what the US media is telling us but for some reason I have this weird suspiscion of what comes out of the American Pravda.  

It's pride, not pipeline son.  

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:52 | 4608544 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Well said.  Charles seems to have an axe to grind against Russia and a blind eye to the lies and hypocrisies of the U.S.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 22:54 | 4609376 francis_sawyer666
francis_sawyer666's picture

Charles Smith is a 'owned' zio- bitch just like KUNSTLER,

If the CS talking points your hearing ring the same as the bullshit from the CNN (MSM), its only because all the fucking talking-points come out of Tel-Aviv.

To suggest that CS is anything else than 'loyal opposition', would be total misunderstanding of reality.


The USA is only a hypocrite, because they're being led by the worlds hypocritical experts.


Russia stand's alone to Tel-Aviv's HARD-FUCK on the world,

Show me a man proudly asserting respect for PUTIN, and I will show you a real man.


Of course PUTIN is on a decline, he's been in power for so many years that no doubt his best years have passed,

But CS should have turned off the computer, and closed the bullshit long ago, CS has clearly gone full retard, or I should say


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:02 | 4608573 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Russia was a great land power because they had a crapload of wasteland that nobody else wanted in their backyard.  It's like saying Canadians are great conquerors because they control Nunavut and Ellesmere Island.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:37 | 4608670 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

Hey! We almost had to fight some Danes over that shit!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:27 | 4608961 The Capitalist ...
The Capitalist Review's picture

That's quite a comparison, the Canadian's have had to fight off a lot of totalitarians in their day.  Those Eskimos had it coming.  


Napolean and Hitler would agree.  

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 22:41 | 4609346 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Napoleon and Hitler were defeated by winter, after they gobbled up massive amounts of that land the Russians claimed to have power over.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 23:38 | 4609476 The Capitalist ...
The Capitalist Review's picture

Since you seem to want to be so literal, they were WEAKENED by Mother Russia, ie the terrain and DEFEATED by farmers in the country side playing whack a mole with frozen military personnel.

Regardless, while the terrain should be given credit, they weren't outflanked until they decided to invade territory to which they didn't understand with terrain even more treacherous than Russia - Afghanistan.

This doesn't change the point that they were a great land power but have always been relegated to the basement amongst superpower naval forces.

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 00:52 | 4609617 Volkodav
Volkodav's picture

Da...whack a mole.... even Babuska pursued retreat showing no mercy on stragglers....

Afghan is complicated..

Soviet was already there when trouble was stirred and arms flowed...

Tried to stabilize and built infrastructure and schools..First time women have rights..girls attended school...

Later their own Fathers murdered many of them for want to learn..

The Afghan commanders more respect and tell the Russians were better soldiers than US.

Soviet controlled far more Afghan countryside than US ever did.

Think about if Russia had supplied modern weapons against latest invaders ...Instead Russia has helped some...



Mon, 03/31/2014 - 00:31 | 4609591 Volkodav
Volkodav's picture

There is Russian saying: "What is good for a Russian...will kill a German"

French much more....

neither even got close to the Urals..and even tougher people there...


Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:50 | 4608539 pcrs
pcrs's picture

Both despots benefit from cold war fear among their shitizens, it gives them more power.

stock market/smart money says Putin will lose though.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 17:50 | 4608541 Infinite QE
Infinite QE's picture

Peak Bolshevisim.

Ask the average Greek how they feel about this New Bolshevik regime.

Time for a purge and hopefully Putin is da man to do it.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:21 | 4608631 Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck Knoblauch's picture

Putin will not allow Ukraine to arm itself.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:38 | 4608673 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

That is why he is sending them their weapons back?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:22 | 4608633 AvoidingTaxation
AvoidingTaxation's picture

Goodluck Johnson pipeline from Nigeria to Europe thru Niger and Algeria. No sabotages here. And who will pay for it?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:26 | 4608643 Perimetr
Perimetr's picture

Have we reached Peak Putin?


Only if the neocons stop messing with Russia.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:29 | 4608651 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

If heartily disagree with the Author's first statement: "All nations act in their own self-interest." 

The truth is:

"All nations act in the interest of their ruling elite. Period"

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 18:55 | 4608713 David Wooten
David Wooten's picture

"Have We Reached Peak Putin?"

That is not the question.  The more appropriate question is, have we passed 'Trough Putin'?  Russia has been in decline for two decades and never has been a threat to the west since.  With only 140m people vs NATO's 800m, Russia is not, and has not been, a threat to US.  Will this decline continue?  Don't know - but that is the real question because Russia is very unlikely to ever equal the west again.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:14 | 4608751 yt75
yt75's picture

What a joke this article

(especially regarding the map)

The authour obvioulsy doesn't know shit regarding the gas current situation and major future sources.

Besides, seeing Putin in a "land expansionist monster" mindset is grotesque, Russia doesn't miss Lebensraum if anything.(and doesn't wish to subsidized countriess with cheap oil and gas as during USSR era, why not Cuba and North Korea then ?)

(strategic land is a different thing)

By the way ever seen the t shirt of previous neocons tour, the 'orange" one :

Picture taken in McCain's IRI foundation Tbilissi office, (after 40:40 in the below documentary) :

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:22 | 4608777 MountainMan
MountainMan's picture

A lot of that African gas (now and future production) is destined for China and will never make it to Euro market.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:34 | 4608815 MollyHacker
MollyHacker's picture

Lets get back to the primary problem "the stooge government" and oh I guess china is not alone.

In his weekly address to the Ecuadorian people, Correa explained why Ecuador had abstained from the UN General Assembly vote Thursday that passed a resolution condemning Crimea’s union with Russia.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:36 | 4608816 Joe Tierney
Joe Tierney's picture

Oh Boy - what a load of pseudo-intellectualism and wishful thinking! We cerainly haven't reached "Peak Putin", but we did reach Peak Capitalism at least a decade ago, and we're slip-sliding away!

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:41 | 4608832 shutdown
shutdown's picture

Any first year econ student knows capitalism requires an expanding economy to remain in business. The world is finite, a smack in the face we received, yup, like you (almost) said, about nine years ago back when conventional oil peaked.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:37 | 4608818 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

This is Putin on the Ritz!


I don't even know what that means, but it had to be said.

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:30 | 4608982 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

I feel your pain; tough to have these urges, but there is hope.  Won't you please give generously to cure "Pardon the Pun" disease?

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 19:39 | 4608825 shutdown
shutdown's picture

Let's hope Putin figures out a way to stay in power for a long, long time. 

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