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Russia’s terrible miscalculation…

The extent of the Russian miscalculation in Georgia is completely revealed by the following excerpt:

[T]he Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn’t all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow.As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it. The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status.

This is not something that just happened – it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity.

The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

George Friedman: Russia stamps its authority

The writer believes the Americans to be outmaneuvered by the Russians, owing to the American problem wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The role of the dollar is key here, as we will show this when we return to the piece. With the dollar, Washington command not only the economic strength of the US, but of all countries which use the dollar to complete trade transactions.

Obama has promised to increased the military by 90,000 troops, McCain has promised an equal measure of increase. Added to this is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates plan to “counterbalance what the secretary sees as the U.S. Defense Department’s natural tendency to focus excessively on winning conventional conflicts rather than ‘irregular wars’ such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The actual increase will likely be much more than this. Why?

As you know from this little series we have been writing, business is good for war.

The present cascade of economic difficulties the US is now experiencing would have been diagnosed by Keyserling, the economic architect of NSC-68, as resulting not from too much military spending, but too little.

Keyserling estimated the US timidity to go all out with a really aggressive military build-out resulted in the loss of “…8 trillion dollars worth of GNP and about 85 million hours of civilian unemployment…” between 1953 and 1981.

The American economy is hollow, consisting of nail salons, restaurants, real estate and financial speculators, and millions of employees who spend all day moving emails from their inbox to folders under their inbox.

Increasingly, China and the rest of the world provide an ever larger percentage of what Americans consume; and, the dollars exported through trade return to the American economy as loans for ever more consumption.

The Americans can, in other words, provision themselves with very little effort, while amassing astonishing military power. There are sufficient manpower resources to undertake a massive military buildup without causing the slightest impact on American consumption.

The self-deluding Russia leadership believe it is confronting the United States at the limits of the latter’s power – that the US will back down owing to its draining wars of occupation. They have, in fact, merely positioned themselves to be an object lesson for China and any other challengers.

Russia has tragically misread global power relations; it has engaged in a hopeless battle against the economic power of an entire planet which effectively sit in hands of Washington.

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