The Collapse of Russian Foreign Policy
Russian relations with Georgia sank to a new low last week as a clan of Russian spies were discovered by security forces in Tbilisi. Japan was outraged by Russian refusal to return Japanese islands seized in World War II, and threatened economic reprisals. Iran lashed out at Russia because of the Kremlin’s breach of its written promise to sell missiles to the Islamic dictatorship, and threatened a lawsuit. And, as we reported in our last issue, the worst news of all came when American voters handed brutal, bitter defeat to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, ousting them from control of the House of Representatives in a landslide repudiation of Obama’s policies, which of course have included capitulation to Russian dictatorship and aggression.
The foreign policy of Vladimir Putin, in other words, lies in smoldering ruins. In more than a decade of dictatorial rule, Putin has failed to forge any alliances with with any significant countries, and meanwhile has alienated, offended and repulsed powerful states all across the globe. Even when he has got lucky, as with the election of the patsy idiot Obama, his luck has not held.
Who can Russia now count as friends? Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, himself an international pariah? Russia has even alienated Belarus, the closest thing it has to a brother state, and it is despised throughout former Soviet space. It is now associated only with the loneliest of rogue leaders, unable to maintain mature, effective relations with any civilized country.
The whole world saw Russia exposed during its 2008 war with Georgia. Not a single significant country stepped forward to side with Russia during that conflict while Germany’s Chancellor immediately flew to Georgia to stand at the side of the tiny country’s besieged leader. Germany is one of the countries, particularly since Putin used to work there, that Russians sometimes like to imagine as one of their “friends” in Europe. But when the rubber met the road, the world saw what Germany really thinks of Russia.
And now Russian foreign policy is degenerating into absolute chaos. Totally lacking in basic information, intoxicated on its own propaganda just as in Soviet times, Russian leaders are unable to understand foreign people and unable to carry on successful relations with them. All they know is blunt trauma, yet they are not nearly powerful enough to use trauma as an instrument of policy. This leaves the government of Russia not much different from Al Quaeda, a band of terrorists flinging random acts of violence at a world they cannot even begin to comprehend, a world rapidly leaving them behind coughing dust and bitterness.