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Vlad the Hammer vs Obama the Wimp

By       Message Pepe Escobar     Permalink
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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. 

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 an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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