America faces a new paradigm and must adjust to a quality of life without growth. Growth is so built in to the American psyche and economy that the adjustment will be difficult and, so far, America has not even identified the need. Cheap energy fueled incredible growth far above the historical baseline. Now, rapidly rising energy prices are reversing that trend line back toward the baseline. How America adapts will tell the tale of America's future. So far, things don't look hopeful. Finite resources will limit options in ways that must now be heeded.
The US and Canada have a lot of natural gas that would take several years and billions of dollars for the infrastructure to ship it anywhere. LNG is a much more expensive product than NG. Nat Gas is plentiful in the Middle East as well and they could build a pipeline if they could overthrow the Syrian government. What do you think the war in Syria is all about, freedom and democracy?
Germany knows all that and Germany is not going to ruffle Russian feathers unnecessarily, count on it. Germany, Russia, and China are countries rising while the rest of the world has bigger problems than they can solve. The US is addicted to empire building and can't give it up even though the US is out of money and nearly out of credit. The US tries to build that empire by adding client states to the fold and by trying to protect the petrodollar and the reserve currency status that only the US enjoys. The US has abused those privileges and will almost certainly lose them sometime over the next decade…probably sooner rather than later.
Economic, not military, is the only real strength. Economic strength made the US a great country and a great power. The military, to excess, simply drains and misdirects resources away from maintaining that strength. The US is now paying the price for the MIC, just as Ike said we would.
Russia has not behaved as an enemy since the break-up of the Soviet Union and yet the US keeps treating her as an enemy. Making problems instead of friends? Pre coup, Putin had said that he thought that the West and Russia should work together to help the Ukraine back on her feet. The US fomented coup was the response.
You sound as though you believe Putin to be the aggressor when clearly the US had a hand in fomenting the coup in Kiev. Asst. Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland has stated publicly that the US has spent $5Billion to turn Ukraine toward Europe. In a taped phone call (now public) she informed the US Ambassador to Ukraine who the next PM of Ukraine was to be shortly before the coup. That was no public uprising for freedom and liberty, that was a raw grab for power intended to hurt Russia and backed by the US government.
The US and Europe have long tried to peel away any and all countries with close ties to Russia and then include them in NATO, moving NATO military ever closer to the Russian border. Eastern Ukraine was part of Mother Russia at her inception. Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are more Russian than European.
Putin and Russia have defended their vital interests by enabling Crimea to self determine her future affiliation. Crimea, was transferred to Ukraine when Ukraine was a Provence within the Soviet Union, but has always remained mostly Russian in make-up.
Before this is all over, Eastern (Orthodox) Ukraine is likely to rise up and insist on being part of Russia, leaving Western (Catholic) Ukraine as a separate country. That will give about 20 million impoverished people and Chernobyl to Europe to try to nurse to health. Good luck with that. Russia will likely end up with 22 million people and the more productive parts of Ukraine, all because of a huge neoconservative geopolitical blunder on the part of the US.
Putin only reacted to protect Russia's interest in the mess the US made in Ukraine. So far Putin is looking better than all the other players in this totally unnecessary provoked fiasco. Also consider that Putin artfully prevented a US/NATO bombing in Syria last year as well as brokering a deal with Iran to calm those waters.
Western media has demonized Putin when, in fact, he has behaved like the best kid in the class. Russia was flat on her back when Putin first took power. Since then Russia has steadily improved in almost every category. The problems are still many, but progress has been made. During that same time period the US has been in a steady decline. Those are the unpleasant facts that we Americans don't like to admit and we don't read or hear on our news.
Ask yourself how the US would react to a similar situation on the US border.
Corker claims free speech when it looks just like a case of abuse of power. Corker used the power of his elected position to create a timely news release that was meant to sway a close election. That is more than free speech, that is interfering in the democratic process…and it was ugly!
Corker can back and fill all he wants, but the deed is done and his true character has been exposed. Remember the tasteless ad he ran against Harold Ford? We now know the true measure of this short man...not tall at all when it comes to low in-fighting. When he takes the gloves off…on go the brass knuckles.
Under the polish, there is a mean dirty streak.
Hart is indeed a humorist and not very talented at that. This unfunny tale about Ukraine is so agenda infected that it will have to suffice to say that if you want to know the deep geopolitical story about Ukraine, you will need to source it elsewhere. This is garbage.
Only two countries on the planet have the logistical capacity to invade the US. Those would be Canada and Mexico. Other countries or groups can launch a single attack, but not invade. Geography alone offers the US a huge security advantage over would-be adversaries.
Instead of using the military as a defense force, the US has garrisoned the whole world as an armed extension for foreign affairs, a bully state that does not hesitate to interfere in affairs of other countries. US foreign policy has descended into armed mercantilism and has damaged Brand USA while creating wide-spread ill will. Traveling with a US Passport is no longer a badge of honor, far from it. The US has traded respect for fear and hatred.
Most Americans now sense that the US military should be based within the confines of the US unless provoked into a declared war or as part of a UN peace-keeping mission. Of the millions who hate and want to harm the US, the vast majority are driven to that hate by US meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. For fifty years the US has demonstrated that the hearts and minds of people cannot be won on the battlefield or with the receiving end of a missile. Seemingly, the US has learned nothing. The geopolitical black-ops continue from Ukraine to Syria, from Iran to Venezuela, and now to 35 African countries.
China knows, Germany knows, Brazil knows, South Korea knows that the real war, the real power, is economic. While the US was building the most powerful military in the history of the world, she could have been spending that same money on an infrastructure that would have been the envy of the world. Instead, the US infrastructure has become second rate, the US has fallen behind in almost every competitive category. US debt threatens credit down-grades. US dollar hegemony hangs in the balance.
The Emperor has no clothes! The US has to get out of the fear business. The US needs to close overseas bases. The US should set out to become an ethical model for the world…and then a different kind of power and leadership could return to the United States of America.
The US military should be sized and equipped for defense of country, not for widely despised world domination. This new proposed military "downsizing" doesn't begin to address the true needs of a country in trouble.
You are right, IM, but that is not how geopolitics is played. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a world of smaller countries, none powerful enough to to want to assemble an empire. Imagine a whole world of Denmarks, Singapores, Irelands, New Zealands, and Switzerlands. When you get over 8-10 million people you break in two…keep them all small.
I'm not singing Russia's praise, but I do try to acknowledge reality. Russia is an energy powerhouse in a world starved for energy. They are leveraging that strength into building a stronger country, to no one's surprise. The Ukraine is the Russian heartland, they will not let the eastern part slip away without WWIII, count on it.
What has happened in the Baltics and the rest of Eastern Europe was the reversal of an uncomfortable arranged marriage, post-WWII. Russia knows that and is very unlikely to challenge that new reality. Putin is a geopolitical chess player and a very good one. The West fomented this dust-up and now will have to scramble to avoid yet another embarrassment, JMO.
PT, you are right that the average Russian outside of Moscow still has life pretty hard. That doesn't change the fact that Russia bottomed in 1989 and has made substantial progress since. Perception often lags reality and we in the West don't want to acknowledge that our old cold war adversary has stepped up her game, but she has. Witness the two recent negotiations with Syria and Iran. Russia showed real leadership skills while the West rattled sabres.
If we were to make a geopolitical guess about future winners, probably China, Germany, and Russia would top the list of countries that are likely to be world leaders in another decade. The US will almost assuredly have lost it's place as world hegemon. That is probably a good thing because the US needs to focus on the US, not solving/creating problems throughout the world.
toejam, you may be past enlightenment.