The Plaid Avenger

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Russia Holds All Aces: Game Over Georgia

Ukraine in NATO? Nope, no, nyet, never, nein, non!

Check this shit out! When you’re good, you’re good…and when you’re me, you’re better!

Related Stories:
Nato summit: George Bush abandoned over Ukraine and Georgia
NATO: Still a Sore Point With Putin

Getting Sar-“kozy” with the British

A few stories to consider:

Related Stories:
Sarkozy Pledges More Troops To Afghanistan
Prospect of French NATO return tilts power balance
Sarkozy and Brown agree on 'partnership of pioneers'

Russia Turns East; the Bear and the Dragon Embrace!

Greetings friends! And damn did I get seriously sidetracked on the way to Siberia! Sorry for the Piss off Team West! I'm hungry for Chinese!!!extended blog departure, but I had an unexpected mission come up which involved 16 vestal virgins, 10 cases of Jägermeister, a cache of AK-47’s, a warm pretzel eating contest, and Angela Merkel.  I know: it sounds complicated, and I cannot divest any of the details at the present time…mostly because I can’t remember many of them. But I’m back in fine form once again, and I woke up woozy in Uzbekistan just in time to tap into a tipple here in Tashkent….and catch the end of the SCO meeting. A meeting which continued to reaffirm my belief that Russia and China are becoming the best-est of buddies, much to the chagrin of ‘the West.’  Dig it:

Russian lovefest to the East…

Russian, Chinese PMs meet Central Asian allies

Premiers of SCO vow to enhance cooperation

Chinese premier: China-Russia relations at most important stage

Russian deputy PM hails Russian-Chinese theme years

Russian dissing to the West…

U.S. pushes to get Russia on its side

US disappointed in China, Russia response on Iran sanctions

Russia-EU Summit: A Nice Gathering with Few Results

Have a glass of vodka with your Moo Goo Gai Pan.  Or a caviar filled egg-roll. ‘Cause that is the Chinese Dragon love Russian Oil! Love it long time!international cuisine paring of the future man!  So what’s this all about?  Well, in a nutshell, Russia and China are grooving to a mutual lovefest which is resulting in an undeclared new axis of power in the world….one that has serious repercussions for ‘Team West.’  All I know is, someone is going to lose their virginity on this one….and it is likely to be the US that gets screwed.  Now before any of you start digging the hole for the underground bunker in your backyard in preparations for World War 3….just relax and hold on a minute.  I’m not talking about open armed conflict, or even a return to a Cold War scenario.  It’s much more subtle and simple than that.  It’s more like this:

Russia and China‘s new and strengthening alignment will be a source of friction and frustration for most US foreign policy in the coming decade.  And beyond.  One needs only look as far as the current story above which references Russia and China‘s open willingness to block any US proposals on sanctions of Iran at the UN Permanent Security Council.  But I am perhaps getting ahead of myself as usual…how did we get to this point?

1991: Russia in no mood for love!Way back in 1991 when the USSR officially collapsed and ceased to exist, Russia was a complete basketcase of a country politically, economically, socially, and psychologically. They were losers with a capital LOSE. Communism had failed, they had lost the Cold War of ideology, they were bankrupt, and completely lost in the sauce on how to go forward.  Throughout the 1990’s, Russia was the scene of a veritable ‘wild west’ of capitalism and democratic transition—meaning that there were no rules, largely unregulated privatization, and no boundaries for how the country underwent this massive transition from commie to capitalist/democratic. 

The US and ‘Team West’ did try to help out as best as they could….while still maintaining their strategic edge (meaning they helped out as long as the relationship still tilted in their direction.) Team West encouraged privatization and opening markets as the ‘tough love’ route that had to be taken for Russia to go forward.  While democracy did get advanced in this era, the market capitalism transition left most in the gutter with a bad taste in their mouth—a situation usually reserved for cheap vodka consumption on Friday nights.  By 2000, the place was still awash in corruption, organized crime, endemic poverty, and a sense of national hopelessness that relegated the state to the history books.

By my how times change. Enter two factors into this Russian equation: Putin and petroleum.  Vlad ‘the Man’ took over in 2000, roughly the exact same that oil prices began to rise…and they have been steadily rising ever since! Putin’s strong-arm tactics to clamp down on crime and chaos in the markets, coupled with his strong sense of nationalism, have given the Russian’s a source of pride that they haven’t known since the Sputnik satellite launch. And since Russia controls shit-tons of oil and natural gas, they have been getting exceptionally rich in the last seven years too.  Sum up these factors and you get this: Russia is back, bee-yatch!

Massive sales of oil and natural gas have allowed the Ruskies to pay off their national debt.  Like all of it. They don’t owe anybody a damn dime.  Putin has also been very savvy about socking away a lot of that oil wealth for a rainy day. And he has been storing it legally in banks for future use of the state, as opposed to storing it in his private bank account, which of course is the type of corruption that happens all the time in lesser developed places with less of a sense of national pride.  I’m telling you, this national pride shit has a lot to do with the current Russian success story…and Putin’s whack-crazy approval ratings too, which hover in the 80 to 90%  range. Damn! G.W. would give his left nut for an 80% approval rating! But I digress…

Back to the stories above: The US and Team West have been assuming since 1991 that Russia would eventually join their team. I mean, their teams have so much in common already in terms of culture, religion, international business, technology and history.  And Team West has been actively courting the Russians to side up with the West in terms of the war on terrorism, UN security council resolutions, perhaps even EU membership…and I even remember a time when NATO membership for Russia was a serious talking point. 

But a funny thing happened on Russia‘s way to joining Team West: they got their Russian groove Back in full force…hell, stronger than ever!back.  They got an economy back. They got a nationalistic pride back. And most importantly, they have their sense of being a world power back.  Oops. Looks like Russia is forming their own team again, as opposed to joining Team West.  And that is exactly what I’m writing about today. Russia has turned east to embrace China. And embrace its former Central Asian possession of the –stan countries, and yes, even embrace Iran. The East is (at least for the time being) Russia‘s focus for the future.

As the US and Western Europe continue to attempt to sweet talk the Russians, they are doing so with increasingly less and less bait to attract their former Cold War adversaries. And Russia is increasingly holding all the aces in this poker match. And Russia knows it.  Thus, they are playing their hands on foreign policy from a position of power.  The Ruskies are now in a position to play off all the other powers at their own whim, seeking out the most advantageous situations for themselves, with extremely limited repercussions from the US, Team West, or really anybody else. Meaning, they simply cannot lose anymore. What do I mean they can’t lose?

Well, let’s summarize on just a few of the points mentioned in the stories above:

Economically, if we go no further than to consider the role of oil and natural gas, then Russia is in the catbird’s seat for at least another decade…or ten. Russia supplies at least 1/3 of Europe‘s energy needs. That’s Western and Eastern Europe. And it’s not just about the money being made either: tremendous political power has now been bestowed on Russia since those European powers get so much of their energy from the Bear. Translation: if you piss off Russia, you may get your heating oil turned off…in January. Think I’m making this shit up? Ask Belarus and Poland how fictional that story is. Then ask them how cold it gets in January.

Hu loves Putin? Hu does! And Hu loves his oil too!But wait! Its not just Europe.  China is energy hungry too, and the Russians are now establishing all kinds of relationships to transport more oil and natural gas then ever to their new Chinese friends. As China continues to explode economically, Russia will continue to get rich exponentially since they will be supplying the energy for this growth. Whoops! I almost forgot Japan! Japan wants as much Russian oil as it can get too, so there will never be any shortage of demand for Ruskies petroleum products in the East. Which means of course that Russia can play both sides of the continent against each other to jack up demand…and prices!

For now, the Chinese are winning this petroleum pissing match, as the Russians continue to forge new ties, build new pipelines, and sign new contracts with their eastern friends…but openly dissed the meeting with EU countries last week as ‘a waste of time.’

Strategically, Russia has also been busy strengthening its hand in the SCO. Big time. Don’t know your SCO? Better dig this then: You Gotsta’ Know the SCO!!! Within the SCO framework, China and Russia have basically been conducting an orgy of trade agreements, energy security agreements, economic and infrastructure projects and even military exercise co-ordination.  They haven’t been doing any of that shit with Team West! And here’s why: as a member of the SCO, Russia is a leader. As a member of the EU or NATO, Russia is a follower. Got it? The Russians do, and they dig it.

Finally, politically the Russians and Chinese are in bed together like never before…mostly in the sense that they are now openly countering US foreign policies on the world stage.  Putin’s position of power affords him the ability to completely piss off the West…‘cause he can always just chill with the Chinese chaps.  This has come into play in current events in several ways:

1)    Putin has been openly critical of the US plan to put a ‘missile shield’ in Eastern Europe. So This is the only missile defense Putin will allow…a hand held unit outside of Krakow.critical in fact, that he is saying that this shield will cause another Cold War, and the Russians have pulled out of treaties which have limited the production of certain types of missiles. Putin has also overseen the resumption of old Cold War bomber patrols across Russian territory, as well as the creation and testing of a ‘super-bomb.’ He is causing such a ruckus over the planned missile defense systems, that he now almost literally has the US kissing his ass and begging him to allow the plan to go through.  It is interesting to note that the two sites which will house this defense system are Poland and the Czech Republic: two countries which are heavily reliant on Russian fuel to get thru the long winter.  Starting to get the picture here of how this shit is working?

2)    Iran. Iran‘s continued foray into developing a nuclear industry (and perhaps a nuclear bomb) has pitted the Russian-Chinese axis against Team West.  Putin has cozied up to Iran if for no other reason than to check-and checkmate with the US on foreign policy issues. Nobody really thinks that Putin has a lovefest with Iran, but he is in a position to counter any moves towards US sanctions or even an US invasion of Iran should it come down to that. Again, start to put the pieces of the puzzle together: if the US continues to make moves towards the missile defense shield…then Russia will strengthen its support for an Iranian nuke industry.  If the US/Team West pisses off Russia about anything, then Russia will use its veto power on the UN Permanent Security Council to stop any international action dead in its tracks.  Both Russia and China are now dropping hints that they are prepared to do just that.

3)    The SCO is continuing to grow in functionality and membership.  It is starting to look a lot like Don't mess with the Shanghai 5!a combo NATO/EU of the east…with Russia as a real leader.  And watch out for this big bombshell to be dropped in the near future: Russia is going to lead the formation of a natural gas cartel of Asia, with themselves in the center. Quote from SCO meeting on Friday: “Russia has also proposed the establishment of an “energy club” to complement the SCO regional security bloc, said Ivan Materov, Russian deputy minister of industry and energy.”  The Plaid Avenger sez: Watch out OPEC, here comes ‘SCO’-PEC!  Man! That will be some serious shit hitting the fan!

But enough speculation and assessment for now. Just know this: Russia is turning east to be a leader, and away from the west where it would be conscripted to be a follower.  It’s not really surprising I suppose. I think its more the speed at which Russia has gone from being a zero to be a hero…or at least to being a major force in the world again. But all this talk of Russia has built my thirst and whetted my appetite.  I think its time for a few dozen Oysters shooters, Moscow-style.  What? Never had it? Dig:

The aphrodisiac that I never lack….Moscow Oyster Shooters, Plaid Avenger recipe:

Oh hell yeah!

World Pissing Match: Russia Pisses Off US; US Pisses Off China & Turkey; Turkey Pisses Off Iraq,

Always better to be pissed off than pissed on!Hello hello hello again plaid party people! Too many good stories to choose from today…so let’s talk about them all! In a first for the Avenger, we will tie together a trifecta of titillating tidbits with the tantalizing tie between then being irritation. Pissed to be exact! It seems today is the day that most major powers on the planet decided to simultaneously piss in each other’s corn flakes! How hilarious! All in a day’s work I suppose, so let’s get to this summary…shall we? 

Russia, Iran harden against West

Bush warns Putin over ‘World War Three’

For starters, one of the planet’s bad asses of all time Vlad ‘the man’ Putin of Russia decided to pay a visit to his homies down in Iran.  Ha! Russia has homies? Not likely! Nonetheless, Putin was visiting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…and he even met with the grand poo-bah of Shia Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei! Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall during that fascinating conversation? Yeah, me neither.  Let’s recreate the dialogue:


Talk about a sweet party! What fun!Putin: Great to meet you, Supreme Leader of Iran…got any vodka to drink?
Ayatollah: Allah be praised, you Russian infidel. We don’t drink alcohol in my country.
Putin: Oh. Well, that’s okay. In my country most Muslims and foreigners in general are discriminated against. Hell, we’ve been blowing up Chechen Muslims for years.
Ayatollah: Hmmm… I see.  Well, we don’t really have anything in common, do we?
Putin: Um…nope. Not really. Oh wait! Would you like me to show you some Judo?
No. That would be gay. And we don’t have any gay people in my country either.
:Oh. Um. Then I guess we don’t have much to talk about…
—Long, uncomfortable silence—
Ayatollah: Well, there is always pissing off the Americans….
Putin: Oh yeah! We are good at that! Let’s work together on that point …what did you have in mind?

Which brings us back to the topic at hand.  Let’s get to the pissed part…After talking with President Ahmadinejad, Putin declared that Russia does not support the American assertion that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. And in fact Russia believes that Iran only wants nuclear technology to produce energy, and Russia is going to help them do it.  In addition, Russia has hinted that they are not going to allow any more stricter UN sanctions on Iran (remember, Russia is a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council—they can stop any further sanctions on the spot), and have outright suggested that the US needs to stop its ‘saber-rattling’ tactics by threatening war. Damn! This is seriously pissing off the US!
On top of that, Russia and Iran just wrapped up a summit of ‘Caspian Sea nations’ in which they all signed a declaration which prohibits any other country on the planet from using their states for This is now the attacks on one another “under any circumstances”.  Caspian summit a triumph for Iran You get that? Read between the lines: In other words, all those countries agree that they will not help the US, the EU, or even the UN launch an attack on Iran. These countries include Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan (see map). Damn! They are outright telling the US and the world to piss off when it comes to any war on Iran! More rage for the US!

So President Bush is so pissed that he is suggesting that this may be a lead up to WW3! Ha! Dude! Chill out! There are a couple of things that someone should suggest to the Americans to calm them down:

1)Under the NPT (the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), developing nuclear technology for power creation is totally acceptable. Iran is a signatory to this treaty, so as long as they are playing by the rules, so should you. I know you don’t like it, but you are going to have to live with it

2)Let’s go ahead and run with the US assumption that Iran really only wants nuke technology to make a bomb. Let’s assume they make a bomb.  Hell, let’s even assume they launch that bomb at Israel, since the Americans are fully convinced that this will happen.  Why would the Iranians do this, since it totally assures that their country will become a smoldering, radioactive wasteland after the US and France and the UK retaliate with overwhelming force? Doesn’t make much sense. Does it?

To be fair to the US, that is an oversimplified analysis, and there other issues to be considered…namely the fear that an Iranian nuke bomb would spark a Middle Eastern arms race.  Fair enough. That is a valid point. If Iran gets a nuke, then Saudi Arabia is going to want a nuke, and Syria will then want a nuke, etc.  So if that is what you US guys truly believe, then why don’t you actually come out and say it? Enough with the ‘Iran is going to kill us all’ bullshit.

Apparently the US is even more pissed because they can’t do much about these Russia-Iranian developments right now.  So the US decided to piss off someone else instead….

U.S. honor for Dalai Lama angers China

Bush dismisses Chinese criticism over Dalai Lama

In honoring the Dalai Lama, the US is seriously pissing off China.  Don’t know why that is? Check out an earlier Plaid Avenger insight into China‘s fear of the Lama at Dalai Lama at Oktoberfest? Let’s Get Enlit!  Now China is pissed at the US because anytime anybody even so much as meets with the Lama (much less give him a damn medal!), the Chinese interpret that as giving the Dalai too much ‘street cred’…and China’s ultimate fear is that if everyone in the world thinks the Dalai Lama is legit, then he will have the power to demand an independent Tibet. All I can say to the Chinese is: bullshit! That is never going to happen dudes, so lighten up on the monk! But China remains pissed for today either way….but they are not alone…

Turkey is also pissed at the US because of that proposed ‘recognition of the Armenian Genocide’ Turkish troops feeling left out of all the fun….and are now ready to invade Iraq with the other kids!bill that made its way through a House committee last week.  See Turkey is Steamed and Ready; but this ain’t no Thanksgiving for US  I reported on that shit a few days back from the Turk-Iraq border, and the shit is heating up even more! While I was there, about 50,000-60,000 Turkish troops with a butt load of tanks and guns were amassing.  They are about ready to get the party started. What party? The invasion of Iraq to track down some Kurdish terrorists. 

Turks’ vote backs right to use force inside Iraq

Turkey votes to send troops into northen Iraq

And Turkey is still so pissed about that US committee vote, that they Turkish parliament went ahead and voted 507 to 19 to allow the armed forces to launch a cross-border assault against Kurdish insurgents based in northern Iraq. The 19 that voted ‘no’ were probably taken out back for a ass-whoopin’ shortly after the proceedings. Ordinarily, the US and Turkey are such strong allies that the US probably would have been able to talk them out of any aggressive actions in Iraq.  But the Turks are simply pissed! Too pissed to listen to the Americans now…

And it goes without saying that the Iraqis are pissed about these Turkish developments…

Angry Iraqi Kurds say Turkish move would destabilise region

Iraq Kurds warn Turkey against ‘illegal’ incursion vote

Kurds ‘will fight Turkish raids’

Although Iraq is pretty much a basket case, and barely a functioning government, they have voiced their serious pissed-off-ness about the idea that Turkey may invade their ‘sovereign’ state.  Sovereign? Ha! How hilarious is that? Isn’t there like troops from 20 different countries in Iraq? And the whole place is on the brink of civil war…if not fully already in one?

Despite the current Iraqi predicament, the idea of yet another country sending in troops is seriously Kurdish areas in multiple states…northern Iraq in particularpissing them off…particularly since the northern part of Iraq (where the Turks plan to invade to route out the PKK terrorists) is one of the only stable parts of the country right now! And northern Iraq is composed mostly of ethnic Kurds, and the Turks are coming in to hunt down a group of radical Kurds.  If the Turks do come in, and accidentally kill a bunch of innocent Kurds while trying to kill the ‘bad’ PKK Kurds….OMG there will be hell to pay! That would spark a shit storm of open warfare in the region! The place may quickly get as nasty as the Bagdad region!

The party is already raging across southern Iraq…why not get it hot up north?And the prospect of that seriously pisses off the US!  The US has its hands full already trying to calm down the rest of the Iraq, where most of the conflict centers on sectarian strife between the Sunni and Shia Muslims…fueled by local Sunni extremist, outside terrorist forces like Al-Qaeda, and even next-door-neighbor Iran which funnels in ammo and aid to the Shias. Damn! The US would be pissed about the Turks getting the northern region as hot as the south already is!

Simply pissed!

And now we have come full circle in our pissing match for the day.  Those world leaders certainly have been busy boys today, infuriating each other like its going out of style!

And they are pissed!

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Well, the battle for the heart and soul of this country is on, but no one outside Burma seems to be able to do a damn thing about it! Why not?

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