Monday, 10 March 2014

EU, US and what drives Putin

Some years ago at the bar of the now defunct Colony Room Club a fellow member with a genuine record of HMG skulduggery made a point. In Beirut in the 1980s US government employees were protected like FabergĂ© eggs from kidnappers, with up to a hundred armed protectors attending the move of a single Consular official. The Russians didn't bother. It wasn't that Soviet diplomats weren't targets of the hostage takers - they were. But when one had been actually been kidnapped, within 48 hours the naked bodies of the kidnappers were found with their testicles and penises stuffed in their dead mouths. Putin of course was stationed in East Germany in the 1980s, seducing frumpy Rhodes scholars, and like bar anecdotes anyway it may not be exactly true, but the story does I think reflect what we would call the 'institutional brutality' of the KGB in those days.

As Mary Anne Sieghart describes in a brief 13 minute Profile on R4 yesterday, Putin became Russian leader almost by accident, by being in the right place at the right time. He was not groomed for leadership as part of a gilded Politburo inner circle, and raced past the privileged scions of the nomenklatura with their western after-shave and New York postings at the UN to arrive from nowhere. Nor was he initially anti-Western - even considering Russian membership of NATO. However, Sieghart suggests, he feels insults, real and imagined, to both himself and more importantly to Russia, very deeply and reacts appropriately. The boycott of Sochi whilst not boycotting Beijing in 2008 was insulting. 

Despite Putin's close relationship to an oligarchy that has plundered the Soviet inheritance (and which now helps maintain London's house prices and City salaries) and a number of extra-judicial killings that it is suspected he sanctioned, I can't help but feel a certain respect for him, even a liking. You will all have heard the NASA anecdote - that NASA spent ten years, five million dollars and the research departments of two universities to develop a pen that wrote in space; the Russians used pencils - and that's part of it; Putin's a pragmatist, making the best out of what he has, uniting a Russia still recovering from not seventy but four hundred years of misrule. And for my own peace and security, I prefer a stable and predictable Russia with a stable and predictable leader, even if the human rights of Russians aren't up to Tunbridge Wells standards.   

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Putin, he's got more nuts than Merkel, he puts Cameron, the Hollande French doughnut and Obummer all to shame, he has helped keep the agenda 21 UN climate change scam at bay - without Russian (and Chinese) scepticism - a world deal carbon [CO2 emissions] scam would probably been signed up to by now. I do hope that, Putin cuts the gas off to the Ukraine and all points west.
Consequently, then it would allow our fuqwit western leaders to muse, while blackouts forment public outcry and finally to realize the folly of [THEIR] green agenda bollocks.

All thanks to Vlad.

Like him or loathe him, he gets things done and has given a certain amount of pride back to Russians - the kicker will be the price the Russian economy will pay and already is paying - which is Vlad's achilles heel - strong men don't do economics.

Edward Spalton said...

I rather agree. Mr Putin may not know the Queensberry rules and he doesn't play cricket but he is playing for his own country, something which no British Minister has done since the Maastricht treaty .

Listening to William Hague telling parliament what fine, upstanding citizens compose the new Ukrainian government was stomach churning. Eight ministers are in the neo Nazi category, controlling important departments like defence, police and justice. On March 2 Ukrainian rabbis advised all Jews to flee Kiev. Neither was there a word about the Estonian foreign minister's disclosure to Catherine Ashton in an intercepted phone call that the snipers who shot people on both sides in the Maidan were employed by the insurgents,

One sometimes forgets that in a matter where the EU has a "common position" Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is merely Catherine Ashton's errand boy.

Anonymous said...

Anon:" he has helped keep the agenda 21 UN climate change scam at bay - without Russian (and Chinese) scepticism "

Which all feeds into the mix to explain why the Western nomenklatura despise the man.

Which makes him a good guy in my book.

DeeDee99 said...

Putin stands up for the interests of his own country - as the Russian Elite perceive them.

He's doing his job.

It's a shame our own Political Elite in the UK don't do the same thing.

The EU deliberately provoked him into the Ukraine/Crimea reaction. You don't prod a bear and not expect it to turn....

Prawn said...

Do the Russian trains run on time?

meltemian said...

http://i59.tinypic.com/28sq0cx.jpg

Ed P said...

If a Kenyan/Hawaiian with a forged birth certificate can become Pres., perhaps "Ras" should stand in 'Merica?
He's the only leader today with clear vision and balls - Obama (who's no Kennedy) had better not push him too hard.

James Higham said...

Watching the toothless tigers threatening Putin is interesting. Crimea will go Russian on the 16th. Kiev puts support at 40%, Russia puts it at 70%.

Seems not unlike the EU referendum odds.

Jublet said...

And I thought I was the only one with a certain amount of respect for Putin. Perhaps if our government and the EU in general had shown him some respect he would be better disposed towards us now. But we've missed the chance.

Rossa said...

I don't think Russia will pay as much economically as some people may think. China has already publicly supported Putin. Both Russia and China hold a large amounts of US Treasury Bonds. If either or both decided to dump their holdings, then it's goodbye the dollar as the reserve currency. But then maybe this is deliberate so that SDRs can be introduced.

This all follows on from both Iraq and Iran wanting to sell oil in other currencies. Because this is geo-political rather than just financial. From the pipelines out of Africa, an increase in the number of LPG terminals and the finds in the Eastern Med, it is a case of follow the money and the energy. The balance of power is no longer military but control of the world's resources.

Smoking Scot said...

Excellent post. Agree with the lot.

I'd also point out that we're (EU, UK) bust, as are the US. Russia is not.

We couldn't fight on behalf of Ukraine even if we had the will to do so. And they'll never get public opinion behind them.

Also note the number of link and comment spammers out of Ukraine has increased since their little revolution. Irritating twits.

Bill Quango MP said...

The Space pen was a private venture. NASA spent $ zero to develop it.

Fisher corporation {the space pen company} sold them for about $2.50 each to NASA.

It was a pencil that NASA spent the development money on in 1960. Had to be a pencil that wouldn't break, crack, flake or need sharpening and operate without gravity.
Not so easy. NASA made a mechanical pencil. Cost about $150 each and THAT was the fuss in 1965, but it did work and didn't break.

Russians used a sort of wax crayon, but they were too smudgy for precise work. So they bought the Fisher Space too.



Anonymous said...

Whilst the story vis-a-vis Beirut might well be apocryphal it does bear out with similar incidents, namely the Russian reaction to Somalian pirates around the Horn of Africa. The Russians don't sod about and don't care what anybody else thinks. Something that we in Britain used to be like, but I digress. The EU (yet again), has also been pushing "Association Agreements" with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. These agreements are much, much more that 'trade' agreements that the Western media make them out to be. It is an attempt by the EU to prise these states away from Russia. See Autonomous Mind for more details. Essentially the EU is playing a very dangerous game, and the very best outcome we can hope for is that Ukraine remains neutral. If Ukraine decides to go into the EU camp then I would expect the Russians to react violently. If EU leaders (and I'm not talking about political pygmies like Cameron and Hollande) think Putin will not stand up for what he thinks is right, then they're in for a f**king nasty shock.

rapscallion

G. Tingey said...

Utter bleeding tosh from the lot of you.
I might be back in the 1950's listening to prats saying that democracy wasn't suitable for the Spanish or the Poles, they'd be happier under their dictatorships.

He's a bully & a thug & ex-KGB.
What will you do when he manufactures a border incident over "Kaliningrad" eh?

Oh & as for EdP - get yourself a new tinfoil hat, the one you've got has worn out.

Edward Spalton said...

Greg,
Assuming it's me you think needs a tinfoil hat - if you Google Edward Spalton and go to the video headed
"Germany, the EU, the Disunited Kingdom and the Democratic Deficit" , you will see that (10 minutes in ) I
Predicted to the young American journalist that Russia would repossess the Crimea in response to Western meddling. That was nearly five years ago. I also said that I thought things would settle down in the medium term because Germany needed the gas and the Russians the money. I hope that proves correct.
Incidentally the Estonian government has now confirmed that the intercepted phone conversation is genuine but you will wait a long time to hear that from the Beeb .

Anonymous said...

"If either or both decided to dump their holdings, then it's goodbye the dollar as the reserve currency."

Here is what the US does in that circumstance.

Repudiate all internationally held US treasuary holdings.

Poof, Russia and China are sitting on a huge loss, the US meanwhile, has spent all the money borrowed but no longer has to pay 2/3 of it back.

US dollar increases on the news, rockets on the action, meanwhile the rouble and renimbi crater, along with their economies.

Nobody comes out of that scenario very well, but the US comes out better than either Russian or China.

Cuffleyburgers said...

For once I find myself in full agreement with G Tingey.

Putin is an evil bastard and I don't any good endings to this.

G. Tingey said...

Mr Spalton - I wasn't referring to Putin when I mocked EdP.
It was his snide racist remarks about Obama.
Neither funny, clever or true.
Obama has been a grave disappointment, but that's not the point.