The Leopard Quietly Grows His Spots Back
Strange as it might seem for my first ATW post, it is a Guardian article I wish to highlight for all to peruse. It concerns the plight of the opposition parties in Russia, deepened further by Putin's lackeys in the Supreme Court outlawing the small Republican Party in a move which reduces the official opposition to just three parties, former Chess champion Gary Kasparov's United Civil Front, the National Bolsheviks, and the Popular Democratic Union.
Those of us with long memories remember all the Russian technology found within Iraq during the first Gulf War, and the Russian listening posts which were picked up by radio but never positively identified. Russia of course has a long history of providing weapons and aid to Arab States, even to the point of threatening military intervention during Arab-Israeli conflicts should Israel actually launch full-scale retalitaory invasions having defeated the Arab armies. Even today it was one of the first nations to recognise the Hamas terror government, indicating its continued willingness to maintain ties with the West's enemies in the Middle East. As the USSR it used proxies throughout the world to attempt to destabilise and stretch the West militarily, but was always to some extent hampered in this goal by having its own military capability hamstrung by the need to internally administer such vast tracts of territory, many of them containing ethnically homogenous population groups which were at best uncooperative and even at times downright rebellious.
Now of course the new Russia is unburdened by many of those unruly population groups, and is quietly but carefully rebuilding the previously rotting infrastructure of its military. It has become aware that it can wield huge political power against Europe by use of energy supplies and of course by the EU's eternal willingness to barter massive bargaining chips away for the sake of 'goodwill' when it comes to the democratic aspirations of its nominal client governments such as that of Belarus.It was just a few days ago that somebody chastised Tom Tyler on an ATW thread for 'missing the fall of Communism'. Well, Communism may have fallen, but its traditions and (for the 'ethnic Russians') legacy of powerseeking definitely lives on. Welded into one leaner state, with a resurgent military and iron-hard dictatorial power, the 'new Russia' is it seems beginning to turn back into an entity the West should once again learn to regard with the utmost caution.
(Cross-posted at A Tangled Web)