Russia isn’t as strong as we think, but they do have nukes – which is why beating the war drum is a mistake.
..Americans surely helped usher in the oligarch era by guiding Russia through its warped privatization process. In some expat circles back then, you found Americans who believed that by creating a cadre of super-wealthy Russians, we would create a social class that would be pre-motivated to beat back a communist revival.
This may have prevented a backslide into communism, but a by-product was accelerating a descent into gangsterism and oligarchy.
…What most Americans don’t understand is that the Putin regime at least in part was a reaction to exactly this kind of Western meddling.
….The Yeltsin regime, which incidentally also saw wide-scale assassinations of journalists and other human rights abuses, was widely understood to be a pseudo-puppet state, beholden to the West.
The conceit of the Putin regime, on the other hand, was that while Putin was a gangster, he was at least the Russians’ own gangster.
…Russia believes the U.S. reneged on the “leapfrog” deal by seeking to add the Baltics, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Georgia and even Ukraine to the NATO alliance.
To Russia, American denunciations of Russian adventurism in Crimea and eastern Ukraine seem absurd, when all they see is NATO leapfrogging its way ever-closer to their borders.
…For all the fears about Trump being a Manchurian Candidate bent on destroying America from within, the far more likely nightmare endgame involves our political establishment egging the moron Trump into a shooting war as a means of proving his not-puppetness.