Wednesday, July 05, 2017

If You Can't Be With the One You Love, Love the One You're With

Russia continues to suck their incredibly valuable Far East dry to fund efforts to retake relatively unimportant pieces of their western borderlands. Yes:

Unfortunately, Russia now spends its energies on tussling with Ukraine and coveting its former dependencies, not safeguarding its most precious asset. Instead, it should abandon all post-imperial designs, stop nursing old wounds, and refocus on creating a more balanced and better-managed internal structure that allows its [Far East] colony the influence it deserves. If this task is regarded as secondary and unimportant for much longer, Russia’s future might well become extremely uncertain.

Russia is an empire, as was the USSR. I recall stating this in the early 1980s in a poli sci class, nearly causing the teaching assistant's head to explode.

The Russian empire fragmented in 1989 and 1991. Unless Russia pays attention to developing and defending its Far East, Russia could fragment more, I think.

How appeasing China to protect the invaluable Far East is smart remains beyond my comprehension.

Stratfor writes that Russia's leaders know that the West isn't trying to destabilize them, given the size of the economy and nuclear arsenal. But the true reform or crack down hard choices are not being followed:

Along with his knack for history, Putin has demonstrated his ability to evolve with Russia. Rather than overhauling his government, he will probably opt to keep cherry-picking reforms and introducing them alternately with repressive measures to keep instability at bay. He has picked up enough momentum by consolidating the Kremlin, the military and a large support base to keep the system moving for a while longer, perhaps even in his wake. Still, he knows as well as any Russian leader that nothing lasts forever.

The Russians, as the first article notes, were actually eager to expel the Central Asian "Stans" of the USSR. So that helped navigate the loss of empire without nuclear collateral damage.

If Putin muddles along, making another collapse possible, will the world safely navigate the loss of large portions of the Russian Far East if they decide they don't want to be yoked to the disastrous path Putin has Russia on?

The sick angry man of Europe risks becoming the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Why are the Russians focused on reclaiming bits of former empire in the west while the most important part of their empire languishes in the Far East, dangled temptingly before the increasingly powerful Chinese? 

I'm not sure what the Russians are thinking. I'm just hoping it isn't a murder-suicide plan.