Russia Stands Alone
At a cost of billions of dollars to the Russian weapons industry, one by one Russia’s malignant allies around the world have begun to topple like dominoes. At horrific cost to its reputation among the civilized nations of the world, Russia has bet its future on a shoddy list of rogue states and dictatorial maniacs who are now being thrust out of power by the people Russia has helped them to mercilessly abuse.
Paddycake, paddycake, psychopathic man, bake me some nukes as fast as you can!!
Russia is a Bandit Nation
We can’t help but wonder how Russians would have reacted to an American president being photographed with, say, Shamil Basayev in the same way Russia’s Dima Medevedev recently was with lunatic Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. And what if, during the meeting, the American president had declared his intention to supply Basayev with nuclear technology?
The New York Times reported: “Russia first offered Venezuela nuclear power in 2008, during an intense spell of anti-Western sentiment in Moscow after the war with Georgia. The agreement on Friday fleshed out that offer.”
Chavez certainly hates America just as much as Basayev hated Russia, and would like to do America just as much harm, or more. And America certainly could have justified such a move as Medvedev does, pointing to the need to counterbalance increasing Russian imperialist ambition.
Attorney and blogger Robert Amsterdam, writing in the Washington Post:
The administrations of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Vladimir Putin in Russia are enjoying a robust, burgeoning friendship. Though they are separated by 6,000 miles, the two leaders’ bond is sealed not only by their similar tastes for repressive authoritarianism, oil expropriations and large arms deals but also by parallel trends of increasing violence and murder on the streets of their cities.
The great Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post:
“Nyet! Nyet!” That’s what a Russian bodyguard told a McClatchy news reporter when the latter asked for comment on an incident aboard the Admiral Chabanenko, a Russian destroyer that carried President Dmitry Medvedev to Venezuela last week. Following the pomp, circumstance and 21-gun salute that are mandatory at such meetings, there was, it seems, a bit of a misunderstanding. As Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez boarded the vessel, his beefy bodyguards tried to follow him up the gangplank. They were stopped by their equally beefy Russian counterparts. The Venezuelans, who presumably spoke no Russian, tried to push their way through. The Russians, who presumably spoke no Spanish, fought back.
It was all over quickly. “Everything is fine,” a Russian official said afterward. And indeed it was: The rest of Medvedev’s visit to Latin America proceeded smoothly. During his trip to Venezuela, Medvedev reportedly added a couple of passenger planes to the $4.4 billion worth of military hardware Russia has sold to Venezuela since 2005. In Cuba, Medvedev met the ailing Fidel Castro and went sightseeing with his brother Raúl. Yesterday, Russian ships began exercising in the Caribbean. But more than weapons and armies were at stake in this visit. As Chávez himself said a few months ago, the whole show was designed to send “a message to the empire”: Russia is back, and it can play the imperial game as well as the United States can.
And yet — the lingering image of those thuggish bodyguards, shouting at one another in mutual incomprehension, remains weirdly appropriate.
A Day of Reckoning for Putin’s Mini-Me
This country’s murder rate is soaring out of control, among the worst on the planet. It has a crude, thuggish dictator who hates America and is trying to crush every aspect of civil society, whose power depends solely upon the international price of crude oil, now in freefall. The national economy is imploding, with inflation out of control and industrual production contracting.
No, it’s not Vladimir Putin’s Russia we’re discussing, though that benighted quagmire satisfies every one of those criteria in spades. It’s the Venezuela of his “mini me” Hugo Chavez, a poor Russian’s Fidel Castro, surrogate of Putin’s cold war in South America, that we refer to.
And he’s in big trouble.
THE Russian Carcinogen, Spreading
Two weeks ago Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez visited Russia and held a joint news conference with “president” Dmitri Medvedev, a transcript of which the Kremlin proudly posted on its website. The pair discussed a deal in which Venezulea would spend billions of dollars buying Russian weapons, and Chavez then promptly took delivery on a shipment of Russian-made warplanes. Soon after that he began issuing statements about using them to sink “gringo” ships from the United States. In Moscow, Chavez had stated that “if Russian military forces ever visited Venezuelan territory, they would be greeted ‘by flying colors, drum beats and songs, as this means the arrival of our allies with whom we share the same view on the world.'”