The View From 1776
As France’s political and economic power diminishes, German and Russian power is filling the vacuum. This partly explains why we have so little help from other nations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Good article about Russia.
Posted by ryan on 04/25 at 08:22 AM
- Normally I view French politics at the same level of interest I have for the expiration date of nails. This time however I wonder if in light of the Islamists riots in France and the rapidly deteriorating economic and welfare environment whether the French will take a deep breath and vote for hard and painful reform. Hopefully they'll realize that the piper has to be paid and the sooner the better.
That being said, as I read Tom's entry, the fact that there we in America have such a powerful weapon against not only Russia but also Iran and that our jelly spined politicians absolutely refuse to use it: domestic oil reserves and assets. ANWR, the Gulf of Mexico, off shore in California, oil shale. And it's all there just for the taking. We'd have domestic oil, non-interuptable that would drive down the world oil price and put Iran and Russia and China in a very hard place. Had we done this five years ago we'd be online now. Instead, we've wasted time, money and most of all opportunity with corn ethanol and wind power!
And now, we have to pay the piper also for our daliance.Posted by Amendment X on 04/25 at 11:44 AM
- At the beginning Condoleezza Rice was picked By George Bush as a national security adviser because she was a scholar on Russia. Both Rice and Bush still saw Russia as an adversary because they were still in a Cold War war mentality. They were wrong. The world had moved in a different direct.
- David, I agree with you that we have erred in how we viewed other nations. One thing with Russia that I take difference with, is the view that a smaller population is bad.
You don't need a growing population to keep a nation going if you don't use socialism. While it does cause some changes in how you spend and manage government, you can have stability with a stable population. Home prices won't go up do to rising demand from a growing population but there are other ways to grow wealth. Increased productivity will mean fewer jobs in some industries but will also create potential in others. Also, how you regulate immigration, and use education to develop sectors for the population that remains can have a huge impact on the economic stability. You can also use "foreign investment" by your citizens to supplement what isn't available in the nation.
It is under the "Ponzi scheme" socialist programs we have that require a growing population to fund the programs instead of using good "investment" methods to grow the funds through government, private sector and international bonds or other safe means to raise the "trust funds" instead of loaning them out to be spent in the general fund requiring us to pay ourselves interest from higher taxes, that is getting us into trouble.
That doesn't mean Russia won't make the same mistake or even worse mistakes. It only means that you don't have to grow the population to have high per capita wealth, social programs, good infrastructure, etc. Instead of constantly building new roads, schools, hospitals, prisons, etc. they can focus on maintaining what they have with their tax dollars.
When you have "spending" driving the economy and that spending is based on borrowing, private and government borrowing, you have only a formula for disaster. Spending AND saving are needed for a stable economy. When spending is the only side of it, each downturn means people have no savings to draw from and turn to the government to fill the spending gap. If they did that and then repaid the loans it would be one thing, but they don't and can't really, now, because the economy is too highly dependent on government spending instead of private sector spending. Consumers now spend much of what they make on foreign goods and then depend on those foreign nations loaning them the money back to use for more spending.
A growing population that is regulated by controlling immigration, especially illegal immigration, to keep the labor pool from being over-supplied, is OK too.
Look for Russia to continue to grow their oil and gas production but also regulate the production to keep prices high. They learned from the problem they had before with falling prices, as has OPEC and the other nations that have large oil Reserves.
I think Russia will become more of an ally with OPEC and China and less of one with us. If that happens, look for more oil sales in euros which means the dollar will continue to fall. Look for U.S. international companies to do well, however, as the world economy grows and the dollar falls. Their profits overseas will be even larger when valued in weaker dollars for reporting here.
However, remember too, that this President has to work with a dollar tied to OPEC and the sale of oil in dollars. We can't change that without cooperation from Congress and that isn't happening. We can't change the fact that Russia has arms deals with our enemies who support things Russia does. We can't change the fact that the Russian people don't want things we do.
With the U.S. losing power, many nations are trying to assume the role of "replacement" because the world will trade with whoever has the economic and military power of a "super-power." I think China will be that power, but Russia still hopes to be or at least be the power Europe caters to.Posted by JanPBurr on 04/25 at 10:42 PM
The one thing I disagree with is that Bush and Rice saw Russia as an adversary. Initially, they accepted Russia but as Russia used force in the satellite nations, seized company assets, and made threats or helped our enemies, that view changed. The mistake I saw was that they assumed Russia was embracing democracy, U.S. style. Many nations don't what what we have because what we have is failing. We are losing power in the world and they don't want that to happen to them.
We abandoned the type of democracy (Representative Republic of sovereign states and let Courts and minorities direct government in ways never intended by our founders. That has led to socialism, the brink of bankruptcy, a $50 trillion unfunded liability and rapidly growing debt.
Since Russia, using "government force" has paid off almost all their cold war debt, and don't listen to the people whine about "human rights," they aren't going to change immediately and let the majority return to socialism like they had or we have. Like China, they will tell the people what is good for them and the economy and if some have to suffer, they will let them suffer. That doesn't make what they do right, don't get me wrong. I am only bring this up because I think the view Bush had of Russia being a kinder and gentler nation was wrong. Like China, they are growing their military might, the economic well being, and their world power and if that helps the people in their country, so much the better because it will mean less unrest at home. Yet, the nation, not the people will come first in their manner of government.
There is much more to this complex problem. There are a lot more issues, agendas, power struggles, goals, etc. that would take books to cover but bottom line, they don't want to be like what we have become.Posted by JanPBurr on 04/25 at 10:44 PM