(…as a way to play hardball diplomacy…)

He may be a new style oligarch and latter-day Czar of all the Russia’s, but Vladimir Putin still operates and retains the mindset and perspectives of a Soviet KGB Commissar, which he once was.

Thus, whatever rapprochement with the USA he had hoped for with his “investment” in President Trump’s election, it now seems to be fading, with the realization that such an investment is turning out to have been a sucker’s bet. Mainly because that mindset and perspective as a former KGB Commissar, led him to overlook the structure of the American system of checks and balances…which largely nullified making such a bet on any particular individual…because an American President, even with the power of Executive Orders, does not have as full control over the government apparatus has he does…in Russia. A handpicked President can try to lead a Congress to legislate, but is rarely able to do so without a fight (viz. the current Health Care struggle).

And as we could have advised him, trying to get any Congress to do anything, for anyone, is a near impossibility, because, no two members of either chamber within it will ever agree on how to boil water. There are just too many political and other agendas and considerations that get in the way. Sorry about that, Czar Vladimir, but that’s how the American system is.

So now that Congress has become more and more pissed off because of that presumed “investment” in President Trump, along with other things that seem to have added to its being ticked off with Russia, Congress has managed to enact a new and harder sanctions bill on Russia, with little likelihood President Trump won’t go along and sign it. Which leaves Czar Vladimir with the only option now of switching to using calculated hissy fits as a way to play hardball diplomacy in response to that.

It really is a sorry state of affairs, particularly in the face of the many conflicts and insecurities going on in other parts of the world. The kind that are a danger to both Russia and the USA. We would think that both would realize and understand that, and so make greater efforts at working out a better way to live and work with each other…as a matter of common interest.

Part of the reason for this resurgence of Cold War behavior with each other is because of Russia’s historical view that it is entitled to be the main hegemonic influence over the region west of its European border. That is, from the Baltic states, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, through Slovenia and the Balkan states. Not so much as a matter of direct dominance and control, but rather, as a matter of indirect influence over proxy or client states in that part of Europe. Thus, the eastward expansion of both the EU and NATO, almost right to its borders, is viewed as not just an obstruction to such an entitlement, but as one of hostile intent towards Russia as well.

Unfortunately, disabusing Russia of such intent is almost impossible because, as we’ve mentioned several times before, as far back as in Peter the Great’s time, Russia has always been viewed by the rest of Europe as being too far on the fringes of it, and too uncouth to be part of its polite society (despite the fact that Russia was a significant contributor to the defeats of both the Napoleonic and Hitlerian tyrannies, not to mention its significant cultural contributions in both the arts and sciences of the Western World).

Which raises some interesting questions here: What if both the EU and NATO (along with America) offered to make Russia a member of both those collective associations? What would happen then? For one thing, both Russia and the Eurozone would experience an economic boom neither has had for a very long time. For another, the NATO alliance would then morph into a new and stronger strategic defense collective against any potential threat from anywhere, rather than being a defensive relic of the Cold War which followed at the end of WWII. In short, from Gibraltar to the Urals, and from the Artic to the shores of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, it would become an even grander assembly of nations than we have today, and, in terms of natural and human resources few other parts of the world could match it.

Alas, the only thing preventing such a thing from happening is that…the Russians would have to learn to drink something else besides vodka, and we’d have to learn to drink vodka instead of beer, wine, scotch, and cognac. Well, perhaps in the next millennium.

C’est la vie!