Saturday, August 23, 2014

Putin declares war on the Ukraine and McDonalds

Putin declares war on the Ukraine and McDonalds.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making the same grave mistake his Soviet predecessors did. He is using the country’s oil exports to finance his bid to restore his country to greatness it never had.

He is old enough to know better. There are two things as certain as death and taxes, you cannot defeat American culture and depending on oil sales will put you on a roller coaster that eventually grinds to a halt.

Meanwhile, in the old Soviet tradition, Putin tried a Crimean-style masquerade ballet to pickup weapons as a humanitarian mission. Half-empty trucks took back weapons from Ukrainian factories, weapons Moscow had sent across the border to help its proxy rebels, and return some of their bodies, the Kiev Post reported.

The oil shale boom, mostly concentrated in the United States but spreading elsewhere, is creating the same kind of gut that helped bring the Berlin Wall down in 1989. The U.S., the biggest energy consumer, and others, were forced to find new sources for fossil fuels and spend some money on alternative fuels after the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. They succeeded and suddenly the price for the oil Russia had developed in the past decade dropped dramatically.

Now, the development of tje little used but long known method of production call fracking, has made the U.S. the world’s leading producer.

In his book, "The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Change the World," Russell Gold writes that "fracking arrives at an auspicious time (and) ... is even untangling some of the thorniest foreign polcy changes the nation has faced for the past 40 years. " That includes not only OPEC but Moscow.

Putin’s response to sanctions for his adventures in the Ukraine has been to adopt sanctions against the U.S. and the West.

He chose food. Not a good idea for a nation where ideas of lines for bread are still a memory for those over the age of 60. Shortages have already appeared, though as usual Putin’s friends not only will be able to get anything they want but can profit from the majority paying more to feed themselves.

It is the latest joke the wildly popular president has played on his people. They are told sanctions will not only hurt the West, but will cause Russia to suddenly become an efficient food producer after centuries of shortages.

Targeting McDonalds, many have been closed, recalls the Cold War when Russians had to hide their radios to listen to Radio Free Europe. No wi-fi is being allowed in bistros, including in the handful of Starbucks that began opening in the past year.

Recalling what sanctions did to Rhodesia it is hard to imagine why anyone would cheer being a pariah. The purple sausages and Algerian wine available in Rhodesia during the Civil War they eventually lost were anything but appetizing.

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