2008 August 15 Friday
Russian General Threatens To Nuke Poland
Poland and America just signed a deal to place anti-missile defenses in Poland. Russia's response? The Russian military's deputy chief of staff threatened to nuke Poland.
Only 24 hours after the weapons agreement was signed Russia's deputy chief of staff warned Poland "is exposing itself to a strike 100 per cent".
General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said that any new US assets in Europe could come under Russian nuclear attack with his forces targeting "the allies of countries having nuclear weapons".
He told Russia's Interfax news agency: "By hosting these, Poland is making itself a target. This is 100 per cent certain. It becomes a target for attack. Such targets are destroyed as a first priority."
The Russian leaders haven't let feminism dampen their masculine ardor.
Russian homies feel disrespected.
Russia’s military offensive into Georgia has shattered, perhaps irrevocably, the strategy of three successive presidential administrations to coax Russia into alliance with the West and integration into its institutions.
From Russia’s point of view, those efforts were never truly sincere or respectful of its own legitimate political and security interests. Those interests, it is now clear, are at odds with those of Europe and the United States.
Been having retro feelings? Want to drive an old car? Maybe see Dr. Strangelove on DVD? These UN Security Council scenes seem like the good old days of the Cold War.
The United Nations Security Council has reverted to a cold-war-like stalemate, with American and Russian vetoes blocking meaningful action over Georgia and other issues.
I like a stalemated UN Security Council. World government is a bad idea. Russia's votes on the Security Council remind us that world government amounts to government by less free nations.
The Russian military moves in Georgia serve as a useful reminder: The world is not a nice place. Progress isn't inevitable. Democracy with limited government and freedom is not on the march.
But the Russian moves also make a lot of sense: Non-Georgians didn't want to be ruled by Georgians. Ethnic groups didn't want to be ruled by other ethnic groups. The US government backed this desire in the case of Kosovo. But in the case of the South Ossetians the US government backs the right of the government of Georgia to rule Ossetians (and also backs the right of Israeli Jews to rule Palestinians).
What else is interesting in all this? President Mikhail Saakashvili was dumb enough to invade South Ossetia and give the Russians the excuse they were looking for to invade Georgia. You might wonder: how did such a fool become President of Georgia? Well, billionaire George Soros put up the money that funded Saakashvili's path to power.
A year after he was made justice minister, he resigned, declaring that Mr. Shevardnadze was complicit in the criminality bedevilling Georgia.
In opposition, he caught the eye of George Soros, the American billionaire and philanthropist who had initially become involved in Georgia at Mr. Shevardnadze's request. Mr. Soros also had become irritated by the Silver Fox's go-slow approach, and he decided that Mr. Saakashvili was the embodiment of Georgia's future.
The Soros foundations began pouring millions of dollars into organizations that were nominally interested in free media and democracy building but mainly served to undermine Mr. Shevardnadze's rule and push for Mr. Saakashvili to succeed him (including the youth movement Kmara, which would provide the backbone of the protests during the Rose Revolution).
Soros bears part of the responsibility for this disaster.
By Randall Parker at 2008 August 15 11:09 PM
Seems to me that Poland is indeed making itself a target. Its only logical that if ICBMs start firing, then target number one will need to be the relevant base in Poland.
The Poles have always been short term thinkers when it comes to their national security. They just proved it by pissing off Russia in order to align themselves with a failing superpower based on another continent.
But of course Saakasvili is a 'smart Harvard educated lawyer' (to quote a beloved stock phrase).
Just like all of those other 'smart Harvard men' who wrecked other nations eg Jeffrey Sachs ('a smart Harvard educated economist') who wrecked Russia in the early 90s, and the assorted neo-cons who hacve drive US foreign policy, and not forgetting the 'smart Harvard men' responsible for the USA's disaterous trade and economic policies in the past decades.
Must be something in the water in the Cambridge river.
Very interesting thought Kenelm.
I believe that Saakashvili studied law at Columbia University, not Harvard.
"He received an LLM from Columbia Law School in 1994 and took classes at The George Washington University Law School the following year. In 1995, he also received a diploma from the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France."
For the record, it seems that the LLM (also known as Master of Laws)is an advanced degree that follows the regular JD degree, and it involves advanced original research that demonstrates depth in addition to breadth. Apparently, this did not help Saakashvili become adept at strategic thinking, for misunderstood something and fell into a trap, because the Russians outfoxed him by letting him give them an excuse to invade.
How dare the Poles want to cease to live under the Russian yoke.
Failing superpower: The US is declining relative to China. But Russian's demographic problems are bigger than America's and its oil production is near peak and problem in permanent decline. We are witnessing the peak of Russian power and it is based on natural resource extraction. This is not sustainable as a source of wealth for them in the long term.
NATO membership means the Eastern European countries no longer can be invaded by Russia. In spite of the huffing and puffing of this Russian general I do not see Russia carrying out its threats against Eastern Europe. In fact, the Russian invasion of Georgia has accelerated the integration of Eastern Europe with NATO and the EU. Ukraine is probably going to manage to move safely into the Western orbit as well.
My guess is that the net effects of the Russian invasion of Georgia will be beneficial to the West and only help the Russians in the Caucasus. The Caucasus is less important than Eastern Europe in terms of wealth creation potential.
I also think the Russian adventure will spur greater efforts to develop alternatives to oil and natural gas.
Could you educate me on Russia's demographic problems? Do you mean their aging population?
Russia has an assortment of demographic problems. The low fertility rate of Russians and the higher fertility rate of Muslims will make Muslims a much larger percentage of the total. It is not clear to me whether they can become the majority. Currently the Russian population is shrinking by about 400,000 per year. By 2050 one project shows Russia losing 31 million people or 22% (which isn't as bad as Ukraine's projected loss of 43%).
Vladimir Putin wants to reverse this trend:
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently directed his nation's parliament to develop a plan to reduce the country's falling birthrate. In a speech to parliament on May 10, 2006, Putin called the problem of Russia's dramatically declining population, "The most acute problem of contemporary Russia."
Russia also has a huge problem with male self-destructiveness and irresponsibility. The male life expectancy is pretty low.
Russia and the West in general have big demographic problems:
* The decline of the West. The current total fertility rate for Western countries is 1.57; over the next 50 years population decline is a certainty in these more developed nations. The ratio of population in less developed countries to that in more developed countries will have moved from 2:1 in 1950 to 6:1 in 2050.
* The eclipse of Russia. One of the world's lowest fertility rates (1.14), combined with appalling mortality levels, spell a plummeting population for the Russian Federation over the next 50 years. From sixth most populous today (at 146 million), Russia would be only number 17 in 2050 (at 104 million), with only half as many working-age adults.
I was aware of Russia's below replacement birth rate, and I thank you for providing me with detailed statistics. However, I am more interested in the differential fertility of the Muslim population and the proportion of the Muslim population in Russia. Lynn gives them (from the IQ in Middle Eastern countries) an average IQ in the 80s if I am not mistaken.
Russia simply calling our bluff? Remember Kennedy ordering Khruschev to remove his Cuban missles from our neighbor in 1962? Now it is ultimatum time again. Putin ordering the west to remove missles from their neighbor to the west. Will we comply? Or face possible anihilation?
The big mistake demographers make is that they base their projectins and extrapolate based on current trends. But trends can change significantly. For example fertility rates for 2nd generation Muslims in advanced western countries are falling dramatically, while the rates for white scandinavians are rising. Equally, fertility rates for Arabs in the wealthyu oil countries are rising very dramatically at the moment. if you had projected based on contemporaneous trends say, 30 years ago, you'd have got a dramatically different picture.