A few years back, in one of his finest moments, Senator John McCain said on a Sunday talk show that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” It was right when he said it, and it’s even more right today. Vladimir Putin’s circle of corrupt oligarchs gouge whatever money they can from the impoverished Russian economy and move it to bank accounts overseas. And they do this after giving Putin his cut, after which he apparently also sends the money overseas.
Many say Putin is the richest man in Russia, worth billions and billions. So the old Soviet model of thenomenklatura communist bureaucrats getting rich while the rest of the country declines is still in place. But with energy prices falling, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has essentially been in a recession over the past four years. With oil at $50 a barrel or less, Russian budgets plunge deeper into debt. It’s even doubtful the Russians have enough money to upgrade their military-energy industrial complex.....To Read More...
My Take - During the beginning of the last century Andrew Carnegie became the richest man in the world by producing steel. When he decided to go after a company he was unscrupulous, but most importantly he was well informed. He knew how much to the penny it cost his competitor to produce a ton of steel and he cut his prices to put them out of business or force them to sell to him. The key was knowledge. He "knew" his opponents and their weaknesses.
Russia is in serious trouble economically and demographically and I don't care how many new planes or tanks they come up with - I'm not impressed - because foundationally at both of those levels - Russia is doomed.
First off - time has shown their wonder weapons fall far short of wonderful, and the first Iraq war was a perfect example. It was Russian technology, Russian arms and Russia strategy Saddam Hussein used and the American military cut through it like a hot knife through butter.
Russia should be a wealthy nation but because of it's communist system it's incapable of being a natural capital generator. They can't afford to build many of these "fabulous" weapons, and they clearly can't afford to maintain them. The maintenance cost of advanced weaponry is staggering, and Russia doesn't have the capital to do it, furthermore they don't have the manpower to run them and quite frankly - I doubt they have the technology to build anything as good as the news stories claim.
And unlike Obama - Trump knows it. He also recognizes the world is on the verge of an economic meltdown, an ethnic religious war and there's only one country in the world that can feed itself, fuel itself, arm itself and defend itself by itself - the United States. That's a strong foundation from which to negotiate - a foundation no one else in the world can duplicate - and the rest of the world's leaders know it. That's why we see them starting to cater to Trump when they just took advantage of Obama - the dumbest man to ever occupy the White House and Jimmy Carter is grateful - because he's now only number two.