Sunday, February 12, 2012

Of Arabs, Persians, and Russians

During the Cold War, it was easy to think of the massive build-up of weapons by the Soviet Union as a means of destroying the United States. Simplistic and efficient if you were part of the military-industrial complex of the late 20th Century. However, it does not explain why the Soviets built such a sheer number that could have destroyed the United States and Western Europe many times over.

The map above will help explain why the Russians (and formerly the Soviets) KNEW everyone was out to get them. First, why is it the many of the "white" Russians look European? Russia is a word derived from the Slavak "Rus" to describe the people that were most likely Vikings (who had red hair or "rus"). Peter the Great would lead Russia from a primarily agrarian economy to a modern European economy following his favorite culture, the Dutch (the current Russian flag uses the same colors in a different order). Peter the Great specifically wanted to learn about Dutch ship building to fend off the Swedes.

The Russians have been invaded by pretty much everyone on the Easter hemisphere to include the Swedes, French, Prussians, Germans, Ottomans, the Arab empire, the Persian empires, and the Mongols. Czar Nicholas tried to pick a fight with the Japanese navy, lost and subsequently he and his entire family were assassinated. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan and after a first class ass-whooping, they were sent packing by a mountain people armed with a combination of 19th Century rifles and Stinger missiles.

While China and India have never invaded Russia, they have always posed a threat in the minds of Moscow. China for having a different view of Communism and the Indians for never appreciating the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan.

Of course if you imagine a larger view of the map you will notice the United States with all of it intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) pointed at Russia. With so many friends, you begin to understand why the Russians felt the need for such a huge arms build-up.

Understanding Russia from this point of views enables a different interpretation of the events in Syria and Iran. Syria provides the only naval base for Russia in the Mediterranean Russia has no interest in losing its only naval port to a pro-Western puppet to replace Assad. Russia has been providing Iran with the centrifuges and other technology needed to develop its nuclear power plants. It is most likely that Russian nuclear physicists are working with the Iranians. Russia needs Iran (for now) and the cash that selling nuclear technology produces. It will also make conflicts with the Chechnyans look less theologically motivated.

Iran also suffers from a similar worldview as does Russia. The Persians have battled pretty much every empire that surrounded them and now modern day Iran sees danger in every corner. The Tehran Embassy crisis was certainly an attack on the United States but one must not forget that the Shah was put into power with the help of the CIA.

Now the Arab League wants to lead a peacekeeping mission into Syria. Peacekeeping missions are hardly that, they are conducted by well armed soldiers. In Syria, this would mean more deaths and a possible escalation of conflicts with bordering countries. It could also lead to peacekeeping forces in confrontations with Russian forces.

Another ugly potential is the 2012 Summer Olympics. Athletes could be attacked, kidnapped or killed in the name of Syrian liberation. The Obama Administration may take in retaliation take a hard-line stance so as to not appear weak on national security in light of the elections. Republicans will be clamoring for more action and defense contractors will be eager to trot out new systems in light of impending defense budget cuts.

In short, we are looking at the perfect storm.

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