Putin is our Hitler and Obama is our Chamberlain
“Nothing matters more to Mr. Putin and his oligarchs than the price of oil. Even with oil at $70 a barrel, Russia’s economy is in bad straits. Tension in the Middle East, even an outbreak of war, would push energy prices higher. A nuclear-armed Iran would, of course, be harmful to Russian national security, but prolonging the crisis is beneficial to the interests of the ruling elite: making money and staying in power.”
Garry Kasparov, The Wall Street Journal, 10/18/09
Quite possibly, the single most important point that we in the West need to understand about neo-Soviet Russia under proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin is that the country benefits tremendously from instability, terror and war in the Middle East. Those who would suggest that Russia fears a nuclear-armed Islamic dictatorship in Iran simply do not appreciate how utterly dependent the neo-Soviet state always has been on the price of crude oil, or how much tension in the Middle East works to Russia’s advantage in making oil markets nervous and driving up the price.
When Kasparov writes that “nothing matters more” to Putin than the price of oil, he is in deadly earnest. Certainly, the lives of the people of Russia do not matter more. Just like his Soviet ancestors, Putin has shamelessly shifted most Russian assets towards cold war and the weaponization of energy, ignoring the basic social needs of the population. As Kasparov writes: “From the shameless expect no shame. And from a corrupt and criminal regime, expect no changes unless real consequences are put on the table.”
Where are those consequences? We see none. What we see is a cowardly, stupid, naive American president ignoring basic facts of life about Russia and Iran and proceeding with rose-colored glasses to deal with the pair in exactly the same way Neville Chamberlain did.