Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wrestling Another Bear; Putin Stares Down the World

Putin Defiant In Speech In Face Of Sanctions, Economic Woes

          Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual State of the Union address on Dec. 3, and stood firm against the waves of criticism and economic sanctions which have been leveled against him in recent months. A pertinent intro would be his statement that he wasn't interested in a long term arms race with the West, but that his country would do what it needs to defend itself ... A very scary, very subjective proposition. 

Putin stands atop a glass castle at the moment, balancing the cease fire in Ukraine, the age old tension of dissemination from the west, and, importantly, the fire storm of Crimea.  

Putin speaks with the Patriarch of Russia
A major portion of the head of state's speech was about Crimea. Putin insisted today that the invasion of Crimea was a "historic reunification." "Crimea is of huge and sacred importance to Russia, just like the Temple Mountain is to those who follow Judaism," he said.

Not just is Putin speaking to a multi-confessional room full of his top officials, but he is trending towards a theocracy, one of the most clear bastardizations of religion possible - and one the most dangerous. When a political leader is granted by the people the authority that comes with divine appointment, the tendency is for that country to count that administration as infallible - and then the real horrors begin. Unchecked information monopolies, mass genocide, societal repression - the usual suspects that make the skins of most people crawl. 

So, Putin's address raises more than a few concerns. 

Putin seems to believe in a role reversal
from Cold War times.
Putin also addressed what he believes has been a move by the West to divide Russia up like Yugoslovia, and alluded to a belief that isolation has always been the Western goal - the creation of proverbial Western "Iron Curtain." The leader briefly discussed the problem of oil prices globally and the impact on the Russian economy, providing the foundations of a plan to fix the problem. Finally, Putin spoke about the attacks in Чечня coming only hours before and the impact they would have on the country, as well as his hard line response.

All in all, Russia has a plate full of not very appealing food. It will be interesting to see where the current adminstration begins, and how it all ends.  

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