Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hitler outpolled Putin

Much has been reported recently about Russian President Vladimir Putin doing better in polls than President Barack Obama. But Hitler did far better than either.

Both dictators had much to offer their populaces in terms of taking land that belonged to others, there their popularity was not surprising.

Hitler got 90 percent in a plebiscite on his rule in 1934 that drew 95 percent to the polls.

In early August, Putin had 87 percent support, though a poll is not a vote like the 1934 plebiscite which made Hitler both president and chancellor. And Putin’s toll came from adding up several favorable categories.

Eleven years later Hitler shot himself in his bunker. Putin has already been effective rule for 15 years, will he have another 15.

Not if the economy keeps heading south, west, or east if you are talking about Europe.

It needs to be understood that China was way ahead of Russia in introducing market reforms, ordered by Deng Xiaoping following the “Beijing Spring” in 1977.

Add to that the fact that China had had a strong market economy in the previous century.

Putin appears to think the market economy he can use as a toy, rewarding his fellow kleptocrats and following the rules only when it suits him.

He can bar food imports from the most efficient food-producing companies, and even bar Wi-Fi in cabarets. Recalls Moscow trying to top the Beach Boys and Beatles from reaching across the wall.
American businessman are being advised by their government not to do business with Moscow. Two American businessmen died under mysterious circumstances this weekend in the Russian capital.
These are brutal people. Nikita Krushchev had Imre Nagy, a Hungarian who became a hero in the Russian army,  hung secretly in 1956 for supporting the failed revolution. Hungarians only were able to retrieve his body years later.

No example is clearer than his trying to ride the current oil boom to a glory that escaped Soviet rulers.

He forgots, or didn’t bother to read history, that Russia had a huge oil boom in the 1980s. Moscow’s response was to raise prices to its vassals, guaranteeing countries from Poland to Romania would revolt.

The Berlin Wall fell, not because of a U.S. or NATO invasion, but because Moscow was broke using its oil revenues trying to keep up with US President Ronald Reagan’s mythical “star wars” missile defense.

At the same time, the Arab Oil Embargo resulted in so much drilling and exploration an oil glut developed.

The same thing has happened now, and Putin can drill all he wants in the Arctic. It will only add to the supply.

Fracking has created the new glut. Unpopular with environmentalists because of problems it causes, there is no stopping it now.

“Fracking arrived at an auspicious time. Just when it seemed like we had used all the easy-to-tap fossil fuels, forcing the world to get serious about renewable technologies, an enormous new supply of oil and gas emerged. … America’s energy revolution is even untangling some of the thorniest foreign policy challenges the nation has faced for the past 40 years,” writes Russell Gold in “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World.”

Your move Vladimir.

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