Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bolton Speaks.

OK, John Bolton gave Russia, namely her National Security Council head, Nikolai Patrushev, the last Chinese warning against meddling in US elections--we now know that Russia already has evil plans to "meddle" in these elections by means of investing another 97 cents or, maybe whole 97 dollars, in trying to subvert American democracy and promote communism. We know that because US media, known for their integrity and honesty, talk about this all the time. So Bolton was very stern while warning evil Russkies against that.   

Then Bolton added that:
I can hear a surprising, and desperate in some quarters, "Wha-a-a-a-t?" from most (not all) American Russia "scholars" and "journalists" who still reside in their make-believe universe and are still waiting for Russia to crawl back to their feet begging for mercy. Yes, any minute now. But jokes aside, Bolton was not meeting Patrushev for this BS. Bolton might be an aggressive neocon of sorts but he is not completely stupid and is at least aware of the real score. Here what is at stake:
Bolton, a critic of the New START treaty agreed during Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration, said the two sides did not set a date for deciding what to do about the treaty due to expire in 2021.“We are very very early in the process of considering what we are going to do with New START or the INF treaty,” he said, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces pact. 
That is warmer, much warmer. The United States wants to discuss START only, what a surprise, on American conditions. US thinks it can negotiate from this position, but, of course it cannot since it is not in such position anymore. Not for quite some time. These conditions could be expressed (it is not mine) in this simple phrase: You, Russia, reduce weapons which you have in exchange for us, America, reducing weapons which we don't have. This is not going to fly, obviously. So, because the United States realistically cannot close the gap in, at least openly disclosed, weaponry any time soon, it will try the last, it thinks trump (sorry), card it has--economic warfare on a big scale. That, plus deploying whatever it has all around Russia waiting for the next Gorby or drunkard like Boris emerge from the deep recesses of Russia's political cellar. Russians do not really give a damn as long as somebody doesn't do a really stupid thing and tries going "hot". After watching performance by Mr. Mudd and, considering his very high post in national security hierarchy, I have to allow for a non-zero probability of some spoiled brats on the top pushing, out of noble indignation with those nasty evil Russkies, for a military solution. 

So, what's left? Well, Patrushev is an immensely powerful figure in Russia and is more than authorized to explain to Bolton how real situation looks like. Of course, as always there will be a lot of PR on the US side and Russia will continue to seek compromises when necessary but, I am sure, Bolton was presented with the case in this first meeting that either it is quid-pro-quo or nothing at all. Choice is America's. I think the bargaining started but it is not about Grand Deal--time for that is long gone. How to call this process? Feel free to try your imagination. 

UPDATE: Ah, speak of the devil, or as Russians say--the grand piano in the bushes (Royal' V Kustakh). I don't hold Leonid Bershidsky in any serious regard in terms of serious global and economic policies--one can not expect any competence from liberal Russian bankster and journo by (Western) education, but even he has to admit:
As the U.S. begins to consider an all-out economic war, the two strategic questions it needs to answer are: what it is willing to pay to extract any concessions from the Putin government at all, and how long it is prepared to wait. Macroeconomically, Russia, with unemployment at a record low, modest inflation and $400 billion of international reserves, is unlikely to collapse before the U.S. unleashes a global energy or debt crisis that could prompt its allies to desert it. If less than maximum pain is applied, Russia could manage for years with relatively low growth. That is the basis for Putin’s calculations. It bodes badly for the current direction of U.S. policy. If Washington inflicts as much pain as it can — and nothing changes — it will be a painful failure for the superpower.
The point I am trying to make for years now is not just that US and its political and so called "intellectual" classes are absolutely unaware of real Russia--that is not really the news--US Russian "studies" field is pathetic. The point is that they are unaware about American real standing, military and economic, globally. That's the problem. The problem also with the Western geopolitical calculus--it simply doesn't work. As per "macroeconomic"--each time when I hear (read) this economic psychobabble, I cringe. 

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