Henry ... this tale from today's London Telegraph tells us much about our future. The facts and figures contained within the article point me in the direction of accepting that we may all have to accept a return of a (non communist) Soviet Union. Energy security is the arbiter of one's real independence.
Europe needs Russian oil and gas. Figures for European consumption of Russian oil and gas in the 20 percentile range mean that Europe's foreign ministers are full of hot air when they talk about sanctions against Russia over the Georgia war. Winter in Europe is gathering pace now as the summer comes to an end this weekend. This will concentrate European minds.
All this is very unsavoury to gentle Western ears. We can all remember the throwing of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938 as a sop to him. This image will get a big re-run in coming months. We should not fall for it. My advice is for the West to accept the return of the Soviet Union, minus communism.
What we are really faced with is the return of Russia as a great power. The Soviet system made Russia a truly powerful military state. The same system kept Russia economically weak ... communism doesn't work, for the benefit of latecomers.
The Russian economy is still grossly over-dependent on oil and gas and is not noticeable for its cutting edge economic advances. Nevertheless, as far as military oomph is concerned, Russia is well on the way to getting back into stride.
A new 'Soviet Union' will put great pressure on the West. Good. It will certainly mean that the Western countries will need to return to electing proper leaders who can do proper leadership work. Jokes like Bush, Clinton, Brown and Merkel will not be wanted if their countries have to face serious Russian men like Putin sitting in Moscow and modeling themselves on Stalin without the bloodshed (at least domestically).
Of course, much media twaddle will be expended on telling us how awful Putin is. Who cares!?!? What matters is the operations of serious policies by big state actors. The world is not a local community centre where your personal qualities are vital and of overriding concern.
I fully expect that Australia under 'Slowly Slowly' Smith will follow in the wake of the American opposition to the new 'Soviet Union'. (I am informed that Smith has 140 decisions on his desk where his signature is needed for action to proceed. DFAT thinks lowly of Stephen Smith.)
Australia should really try and see the newly emerging situation through hard and serious glasses. Just following behind the mistake which Washington is currently unfolding and calling it a policy will not do us any good in the end.
All this is bad luck for Georgia and a dozen other places. What can I say, Henry?
'Geography is Destiny'.
Sir Wellington Boote.