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Vlad the Hammer vs Obama the Wimp

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Headlined to H2 8/11/13

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The name of the game here is Russia increasing its export of raw commodities by all means available. At least 250,000 barrels of oil a day -- and counting -- move from Russia to Asia. The upgraded Trans-Siberian will do wonders for Europe-Asia trade. Via the Trans-Siberian, Asian products reach Europe in 10 days; by sea, from South Korea or Japan, it's at least 28 days to Germany. No wonder Japan and South Korea are huge Trans-Siberian fans. And from a European point of view, nothing beats the cheaper, faster Trans-Siberian way to Asia. 

Ain't got a clue

Cold War? That's part of the nostalgia business. With a comatose Europe; multiple frictions between Europe and the US; Beijing looking inward trying to solve the puzzle of tweaking its development model; and a paralyzed Obama administration, Moscow has identified the perfect opening and has embarked in no holds-barred, strategic commercial expansion. 

The cluelessness of the Obama administration -- not to mention US Think Tankland -- cannot be overemphasized. Nobody in the Beltway has articulated a sound Russian policy -- apart from demonizing Putin. That suits Vlad the Hammer fine; he's busy carefully constructing a new strategic reality not only in Europe's periphery but at the core as well. Russia is back -- with a bang. 

In this larger scheme of things, drifting towards a post-Post Cold War environment, the Snowden affair is just a piece of the puzzle. And here's where the personal perfectly mirrors the political. Vlad the Hammer knows exactly what he's doing -- while Obama the wimp looks like a deer caught in a Trans-Siberian locomotive's headlights. 

Notes:
1.  In wishing Bush well, Putin has message for Obama, Reuters, August 8, 2013. 
2.  What's the Point of a Summit?, The New York Times, August 7, 2013. 
3.  Saudi offers Russia deal to scale back Assad support - sources, Reuters, August 7, 2013. 

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Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and (more...)
 
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Pepe's not the only one who's wondering why the Ob... by mhenriday on Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 6:47:00 AM
Our POTUS is making an ass of himself internationa... by goedel on Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 11:02:57 PM
The idiots in Washington are still convinced that ... by seamus on Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 12:54:10 PM
By consistently electing lawyers into public offic... by Toby Seiler on Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 6:23:24 PM
No question but that Pres. Putin is a competent di... by goedel on Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 10:58:41 PM