The Race to Ruination.

Photograph: Isopix/REX.

Photograph: Isopix/REX.

George Soros has an interesting article up at The Guardian, about Russia and the EU. There are some very good points made, and it’s difficult to pay attention to everything happening on the world stage right now, which is a gift to unscrupulous leaders.

…Putin is a gifted tactician, but not a strategic thinker. There is no reason to believe he intervened in Syria in order to aggravate the European refugee crisis. Indeed, his intervention was a strategic blunder because it embroiled him in a conflict with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which has hurt the interests of both.

But once Putin saw the opportunity to hasten the EU’s disintegration, he seized it. He has obfuscated his actions by talking of cooperating against a common enemy, Isis. He has followed a similar approach in Ukraine, signing the Minsk agreement but failing to carry out its provisions.

It is hard to understand why US and EU leaders take Putin at his word rather than judging him by his behaviour. The only explanation I can find is that democratic politicians seek to reassure their publics by painting a more favourable picture than reality justifies. The fact is that Putin’s Russia and the EU are engaged in a race against time: the question is which one will collapse first.

The Putin regime faces bankruptcy in 2017, when a large part of its foreign debt matures, and political turmoil may erupt sooner than that. The president’s popularity, which remains high, rests on a social compact requiring the government to deliver financial stability and a slowly but steadily rising standard of living. Western sanctions, coupled with the sharp decline in the price of oil, will force the regime to fail on both counts.

Unless something happens to prevent it, the current regime in the U.S. will help Russia out financially, by most likely lifting sanctions and going through with that 500 billion dollar oil deal in the Antarctic. If that does take place, it won’t be good, certainly no better than where things stand right now.

The full article is at The Guardian.


  1. blf says

    500| billion dollar oil deal in the Antarctic

    Antarctic? That would be impressive, as the area is under international control, there is no formal US claim to any part of the area, and all other national claims are in abeyance as per the treaty establishing international status.

    I suspect Arctic is meant, i.e., Rex Tillerson’s Company, Exxon, Has Billions at Stake Over Sanctions on Russia: “Exxon Mobil has various projects afoot in Russia that are allowed under American sanctions. But others have been ground to a halt by the sanctions, including a deal with the Russian state oil company to explore and pump in Siberia that could be worth tens of billions of dollars. Russian officials have optimistically called the agreement a $500 billion deal.”

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