Sunday, February 15, 2015

Now We Lose to France, Too

While the Russians are pushing to make gains in the eastern Mediterranean region, at least the French are carving out some of our losses that otherwise might go to Russia.

Russia has sympathizers in Hungary; Greece (in NATO) and Cyprus who'd like money from Russia with easier terms than the EU will grant; conquered Crimea; ratified their influence in Donbas, Ukraine; a tighter grip on their territory stolen from Georgia; an Assad who might cling to his corner of Syria; a NATO Turkey that could deal with Russia more on nuclear technology; and an Egypt looking for alternatives to American support that doesn't seem quite as solid or useful any more.

But at least we lost one round to the French instead of to Putin:

France and Egypt have agreed a deal worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) for the sale of Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets, a naval frigate and missiles, a French source close to the matter said on Thursday.

The deal would make Egypt, which has been looking to upgrade its military hardware over fears the crisis in neighboring Libya could spill over, the first export customer for the French warplane.

It's come to this. "Smart" diplomacy is now defined as losing influence to one of our (more-or-less) allies rather than losing influence to Russia.

And to remind you, Russia is actually fairly weak and weakening--and is certainly much weaker than we are (as I've long written, their military outside of nukes and special forces is actually limited).

Although I'll quibble that using force is a sign of weakness. It may be in the context of Russia  trying to make a gains before their economic power and population decline to levels that deny them the ability to support significant military power; but I reject it as a general rule.

We're losing to a Russia that is "resurgent" only because they are pushing into a relative vacuum caused by our  reputation for weakness.

Strategic impotence joined to strategic patience will work our just swell.