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author biography
Obadiah Shoher is the author of “Samson Blinded,a Machiavellian view of the Middle East conflict,” and the accompanying blog.Samson Blinded, which advocates a ultra-hard-line Israeli approach to Arab nations. Shoher denies ethnic-blind democracy and argues for expulsion of Arabs from Israel.
He rejects democratic process , and calls for violent opposition to police efforts at removing the illegal settlements, dismantling the Israeli army and fully relying on nuclear response to counter possible Arab aggression
Shoher’s real identity is unknown but he is believed to be an Israeli politician, writing under the pen name, “Obadiah Shoher”.

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The Russians Are Coming
Filed under Opinion Editorials, Iran’s nukes, USA foreign policy, Oil, Iran, Sanctions, Russia – on Thursday, September 25, 2008 – By: Shoher, Obadiah

When the Russian FM asked his British counterpart rhetorically, “Who the f*ck are you to lecture me?” he knew what he is doing. Lavrov’s response cuts down to the core of Russian diplomatic mentality exemplified in the Soviet-era joke about Diplomatic Corps students drafting a response to the hypothetical protest from an African country about the Soviet nuclear submarine violating its territorial waters: the student who prepared an otherwise good note was denied the highest grade because “asshole” should be written as one word.
 
And in one respect, Lavrov is right: who is that young Jewish British fellow to lecture him? Like France’s, Britain’s superpower status only exists in its hallucinations, and now that it outlawed opium, the hallucinations became rather weak. Western Europe is swarmed with Muslim migrants, drowned in liberalism and laborism, lacks meaningful armies, and depends on Russian oil and gas – who is it indeed to lecture Russia?
 
It doesn’t matter that Russian economy is on par with the Saudi one, based entirely on natural resources. Poor barbarians conquered the advanced Rome.
 
It matters little that Russian military expenditure is 2% of the US one in the nominal dollar terms, and new equipment purchases are hardly noticeable. Credibility of Russian military threat is based on its nuclear weapons, which Russia is presumably ready to use.
 
It is not critical that Russia’s allies are poor. They compensate for poverty with roughness, for the shortage of weapons with the high likelihood of using them.
 
For the effeminate Western world, Russia’s unwavering determination is a deadly approach. The NATO may expand whatever it likes, but Venezuela makes a better ally for Russia than all the Eastern Europe’s countries combined – for America. Poland, Czech, or Ukraine would think a million times before antagonizing Russia, but Venezuela admitted Russian nuclear-capable bombers and fleet and expelled the US ambassador on a whim. With such allies as Venezuela, Syria, and Iran Russia prevails in any diplomatic confrontation with the West simply because unlike them the West is afraid of confrontations.
 
Still more importantly, Russia can succeed in courting China. With a country ruled by a handful of communist bureaucracy, you never know whether China would opt pragmatically for open markets with the West, or for the international supremacy in conjunction with Russia.
 
The Russian KGB/FSB elite learned the arms race lesson, and now uses the tool against America. Russia’s minor moves prompt massive American expenses such as billions of dollars in aid to Georgia and Ukraine. Russia acquires allies cheaply, merely with diplomatic support to rogue regimes and profitable arms sales to them. America buys allies for aid, but paid vassals are contempt of the master who is weak enough to offer them money. America often antagonizes friendly countries by moralizing; Russia supports its allies with no moral qualms. In one example, America subverted its close friend South Africa because of the perfectly legal apartheid (the Blacks were allocated their own country, Bantustans); it is unthinkable that Russia subverts a friendly regime over racial issues.
 
Russia spends on its military frugally. It mostly relies on the PR effect from very small events: patrolling Europe with nuclear-armed bombers, selling weapons to rogue regimes, and developing wonder-arms which would never come to mass production. America’s shows are hyper-expensive, such as the Iraqi and Afghanistan affairs. Russia, even though on diplomatic offensive, maintains budget surplus while America runs deficit.
 
(The lack of clear political objectives costs America dearly. Why impose sanctions on Iran instead of cooperating profitably with the oil-rich nation? Iranian nukes are Israel’s problem, not America’s. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost America hundreds of billions of dollars and led to budget deficit – for no good. Billions of dollars of US aid to Egypt and Palestine are a complete waste. Morality in foreign politics is a breach of trust toward one’s own population: the government is elected to maximize the interests of its voters rather than pursue moral objectives of faraway peoples.)
 
The most important thing to understand about the KGB/FSB establishment is its conservatism. New doctrines are foreign to Russian security elite. They re-assembled the country from economic shambles of the Yeltsin era, nationalized much of the oil revenues, control the balance, but have no positive economic program. Likewise, they ended the post-Soviet era feudalism, centralized political power, but have no idea what to do next. Like any nation, Russians are most interested in affluence, then freedom. Both of those objectives align them with the West, but ruin Russia’s traditional political and economic framework. The establishment is not only concerned about its own vanishing role, but also the apparent inability of Russian economy to rebuild itself quickly into a market system with reasonably fair income distribution.
 
It took America two hundred years to achieve that end. The Russian situation is worse. America had a huge advantage of relative lawlessness. Extreme corruption was common in the nineteenth-century America almost as much as in today’s Russia, but vigilantes from slandering reporters to citizens’ committees to lynch mobs succeeded in making corruption both unpopular and outright dangerous. Russia, a strong police state even under Yeltsin, curbs citizen activism, and in doing so opens the way to corruption. Russian economy is thus more likely to follow in the way of Nigeria than the United States.
 
Russia’s security establishment has no firm policy yet, but tests Western response to hardline measures. So far, the response was pretty encouraging: the West is unwilling to fight the next Cold War. As mammoth oil and gas revenues trickle down the Russian society, the population is economically satisfied and longs for political goals. The only such goal on the agenda is strong Russian semi-empire. An empire needs a good enemy, preferably a non-dangerous one, and Russia engages the West. The KGB/FSB establishment won’t attack the United States; peripheral conflicts suffice. So Russia returns to the old Soviet policy of kindling as many fires on the globe as possible on the cheap. The opposition to sanctions on Iran, weapons supplies to Syria, diplomatic contacts with Hamas and Hezbollah, encouraging Venezuela, wooing China into separate agreements with Russia serve the goal of troubling the West. A troublemaker automatically becomes a VIP.
 
Theoretically, it is easy to stop Russia. Its clients must be made to understand that the collaboration doesn’t pay. Syria welcomes Russian fleet? freeze its dollar accounts. Venezuela hosts Russian strategic bombers? stop buying oil from there. Russian troops enter Georgia? supply Georgians with TOW anti-tank missiles. Russians mess in Ukrainian politics (and so do the Americans)? support independence movements in Russia. Russia strikes an alliance with Germany? stir anti-Russian sentiments in Germany, recollections of the wholesale rape of its women in WWII and the annexation of Konigsberg. Zero tolerance to Russian expansion in any sphere, any issue would not be only efficient on its own, but will also signal the KGB establishment the impossibility of launching the Cold War-lite. It is critical to check any Russian advances on the spot, not allowing its government any PR benefits whatsoever. Such politics requires a genius and strong leader, and is entirely unrealistic.
 
Other than that, there is really nothing to be done to curtail the Russian diplomatic expansion. Western Europe cannot refuse Russian and Iranian oil and gas. America cannot defend obscure Georgia with its own troops. Germany and France, spiteful of the United States for helping them out during the Cold War, cheerfully align with Russia. This trend is less prominent under Sarkozy but would resurface under a less pro-American president. The world returns to its normal bipolarity of Russia-Germany-France versus Britain-America. Given the huge number of Muslim immigrants in Britain, even it can defect to the Russian camp.
 
Russian expansion is its own worst enemy. One cannot keep pedaling expectations forever. Russian people will get used to anti-American, anti-Georgian, anti-Ukrainian, anti-everyone hysteria. Russian government-controlled media resorted to an easy way of rallying public opinion: they heavily employ the familiar Soviet propaganda moulds down to outright curses and expletives toward hostile foreign leaders. There is a problem with that mould: Russians know about the eventual bankruptcy of Soviet propaganda. In some time, they will become cynical toward the imperial propaganda. At that point, Russian government would need a victorious war; depending on its availability and outcome, Russian society can turn further inwards or break out of its KGB-imposed policies.
 
A downturn in oil prices can provide major impetus for political changes in Russia. Short of the oil and gas revenues, Russian military, government, and welfare expenditures are insupportable. Russia, thus, has a tremendous interest in fanning the Iranian conflict and instability in the Middle East generally – that’s besides a sheer pleasure of subverting American policies there. Faced with economic hardships, Russians would behave unpredictably: follow the reformers who promise them the Western-style affluence, brace for US aid, or – if lost all hopes – support the hardliners who promise them at least the equality in the poverty.
 
But so far, welcome back to the Cold War.
 
The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News.

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