Sark Attack

(H/t Alex Massie through h/t Andrew Sullivan) Comes word of some serious wheeling and dealing by Sarkozy against the Russian Bear Putin:

With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia, Mr Levitte said.

“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin replied.

Mr Sarkozy responded: “Hang him?”

“Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein,” said Mr Putin.

Mr Sarkozy replied, using the familiar “tu”: “Yes but do you want to end up like (President) Bush?”

Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah, you have scored a point there.

Looks like Sarkozy has a habit now of talking smooth but tough to the Russians.  More evidence here (h/t T Barnett).  Or when he showed some real guts recognizing that Jerusalem is going to have to be shared.

It’s a rare thing on this blog to hear my praise the French government especially on foreign policy (intelligence is another matter where they are excellent).  So here it is.  Yeah he likes to showboat around quite a bit and has a sorta weird man-crush on Obama, but the guy’s instincts are pretty sound seems to me and his touch is quite deft.  Brown as Barnett says is the more the brains on the global finance regulatory side, but Sarkozy might be the better salesmen.

[Full story of the Sarkozy-Putin encounter here.]

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Russia-Georgia: Bad to Scary Worse in under 3 seconds

WTF is Putin thinking going beyond Ossetia, extending the war to the air and navy and perhaps a push on the capital?  This is even worse than Saakasvili’s ham-handed failed putsch. 

The Georgians are tough people–see how many times Tamerlane had to put down (bloodily) revolts there.

The US should make clear to Russia that this could be their Iraq (or Afghanistan #2).  Namely the Georgians deploy their defenses to irregular warfare, let the Russians in, and bleed them dry. 

Clearly after a day of this Putin had Ossetia and Abkhazia within his orbit/on their own Kosovo-like trip to independence or Kurdish-esque autonomous power.  Recognized in some fashion in the international community.

But this s–t is spiralling out of control and only plays into the worst hardline US elements (i.e. McCain). 

See James P. on the subject.  Key quote:

The real bottom line is a tragic one: Saakashvili drove his country headlong into an unnecessary war, and Putin seems set to press forward with an even less necessary conflict — squandering a golden opportunity to reach final status in the Caucasus without destroying any shred of basic good will, or even begrudging patience, in the West.

Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Russia Re-orthodoxizing

Story from the NyTimes on how Russia is turning the Russian Orthodox Church into the de facto state church as it was prior to the October 1917 Soviet Revolution.

During the Soviet era, the role played by Christian myth was officially played by dogmatic Marxism.  The Orthodox Church stayed underground.

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.  So said Tertullian in the 2nd century.  And so it was in Russia during the era of the Gulags and the shadow of Stalinist terror.

This new policy, a major initiative of Vladimir Putin, has its root in national power:

The relationship is grounded in part in a common nationalistic ideology dedicated to restoring Russia’s might after the disarray that followed the end of the Soviet Union. The church’s hostility toward Protestant groups, many of which are based in the United States or have large followings there, is tinged with the same anti-Western sentiment often voiced by Mr. Putin and other senior officials.

However once the church enters this Constantinian relationship (church-state union) takes over, the fervor of the church is soon to follow.  Caesars eventually realize it is better to co-opt Christians than to murder or persecute them.  They become more docile, more controllable. They fight amongst one another (see Orthodox-Protestant fights in story).

Russia is now re-learning this lesson as it must.

Russia is the textbook case of Spiral Dynamics, as I always say.   A blue feudal monarchical Orthodox system up until 1917, when a pathological modernist soviet command and control economy was imposed and industrialization force feed through the populace.  A persecution of the blue order, eroding the Orthodox Church (with dogmatic Marxism failing as an ideology).

When the Soviet system fell it went from orange to red, through the floor, leaving only the Gangster Mafia and the KGB in control (red tribes).  Meaning that over time to restore order (blue) over anarchy (red tribalism) Putin takes control of the state machinery, works with the Churches for legitimacy, cracks down on the tycoons, free press, democratic opposition, and the mafia.  Also plays hard throughout Eastern Europe as a sign of near-domestic regional power.

Look soon for stories coming out of massive corruption in the Orthodox Church as its lying in bed with Caesar will get it into serious trouble and sin.

Transfer of Power in Russia

Fascinating article on the hand-picked successor to Vladimir Putin, a man named Dmitri Medveded. Both gave speeches within the last few days. At first blush, looks like the two are playing a very shrewd game of good cop (Medveded)/bad cop (Putin).

“Freedom is better than non-freedom,” he said in his opening remarks, according to a transcript provided by his campaign. “These words are the quintessence of human experience.”

Mr. Medvedev, a young protégé of Mr. Putin, then expressed the notion more fully.

“The talk here is about freedom in all of its manifestations: about personal freedom, about economic freedom and at last about freedom of self-expression,” he said. He added, “Freedom is inseparable from the actual recognition of the power of law by citizens.”…

His declarations about the universal values of freedom in an election that is being stage-managed and in a speech before state journalists who are largely under the Kremlin’s sway immediately raised eyebrows in the West.

Another NyTimes article here on Putin’s speech.

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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