Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Recipe Swap........

Obama's Recipe for Defense....

Russia’s Recipe for Empire
By Monica Duffy Toft, Foreign
Monica Duffy Toft is associate professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Posted September 2008 
Russia’s recent campaign against Georgia is a textbook example of how powerful states forged empires in centuries gone by. For those who have forgotten, here’s how it’s done.

Imperial throwback: A detail of a replica of the famous Russian painter Ilya Repin’s workThe Federal Assembly Session, created by Sergey Kalinin and Farid Bogdalov, shows Vladimir Putin (R) dressed as the czar.
Empires like the one Moscow has embarked on creating in this century proved an abject failure in the last. In fact, the colonial and imperial project has been recognized as folly for so long by so many that few today even recall how to go about building an empire. So for those who have forgotten, allow me to offer the recipe.
An empire requires three key ingredients.
First, find a neighboring national minority that can be used as a pretext for intervention. The character of the national minority—be it racial, linguistic, or religious—is less important than that it reside within a state which is relatively defenseless as compared with one’s own. The Ossetians and the Abkhaz have always been friends of Moscow, so absorbing them is far less perilous than, say, incorporating nationalistic Georgians or Ukrainians. Empires understand this, which is why they invariably settle their own populations in the region to not only administer the territory, but serve as a ready cadre of loyalists (à la French pied-noirs in Algeria).
Second, it is absolutely essential that the empire builder have regional military dominance. Such dominance will dissuade others who might be tempted to come to the aid of the unhappy host of the aforementioned neighboring national minority. In the past, possessing artillery was enough, but air power dominance became essential in the mid-20th century. In the current era, it’s nuclear weapons. Add a pinch of insecurity: If you can make the case that you need to acquire a bit more territory because you’ve been assaulted or abused in the past, this will help a great deal. Given Russia’s nuclear arsenal and its military punch in the region, the international community can hardly pry it from its new territorial possessions.
Third, the empire builder also needs something others want. Cash is always a good option. If not cash, then something easily convertible, such as gold, diamonds, or, if the states with the highest capacity or will to intervene are energy importers, energy (gas, petroleum) will do. Russia’s strategy of forming only bilateral agreements with energy-dependent European states is a classic divide-and-rule approach. Unless energy prices drop precipitously or Europe finds other suppliers, Europeans have scant leverage.
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, it’s time to start cooking up trouble............MORE.....

A Negotiator Without Preconditions
By James P. Lucier  Published 9/3/2008 12:08:20 AM

Would you trust Sarah Palin to negotiate with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions?

Well, why not?

Palin came into the governor's office and found a mess on her desk. The oil deal struck by defeated Republican governor Frank Murkowski wasn't working. Through creative accounting by big oil and ambiguous reporting standards, the Murkowski plan just wasn't giving the State of Alaska the pay-off that was expected. So the former mayor of Wasilla (population 9,000, as the MSM always points out) demanded that the agreement be renegotiated and the terms be nailed down. They laughed when she sat down to negotiate, but in the end she had a new deal that delivered 50 percent of the oil revenues to the Alaska Permanent Fund, and enabled Palin to send a check for $1,200 to every qualified Alaskan citizen.

So enter the PTA community organizer from Wasilla. Without preconditions she took on a company that has a market cap of $205 billion and annual revenues of $291 billion in worldwide operations. Its budget is larger than that those of most sovereign countries, yet she won on her terms. If she can outsmart BP, the company that started the Middle East conflict, she can easily outsmart Ahmadinejad, if need be.

Then to follow up that act, she got the Alaskan Legislature to approve development of the TransCanada gas pipeline, a $40 billion deal that will go 1,715 miles from the treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the Alberta hub in Canada, from which it will be transferred to the United States. This project had been sitting around for 30 years on hold because the big energy companies didn't think it would be profitable, and their corrupt cronies in the legislature obediently kept it on the shelf. Crusading against corruption and negotiating across the aisle, Palin not only got it passed in record time, but opened up the bidding when the U.S. companies were reluctant to jump in. So she went ahead and awarded the contract to low-bidder TransCanada Alaska, a firm that has already built 36,000 miles of pipelines in North America. As a final fillip, the Governor signed the bill at the Alaska AFL-CIO biennial convention.

While Barack Obama's solution to the energy problem is to urge us to check the air in our tires, Palin's solution is to start building a $40 billion gas pipeline, without Federal government assistance.


Video Of The Week

Blog Subjects

Our Blogger Templates Web Design

  © Blogger template Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP