Contrary to the opinions of "experts", the intentions of Vladimir Putin can easily be discerned by looking at a world map in the light of recent events. He advocates a free-trade zone from "Lisbon to Vladivostok" - something that requires years of negotiation, not blitzkrieg. As Russia stretches from Europe to Asia, it is well positioned for this and is also supplied with enormous undeveloped resources. Putin is described as the greatest bridge builder in Russian history. Together with new roads, high-speed rail, nuclear-powered icebreakers, ports such as Crimea and vast pipelines, Russia's prosperous future is easy to imagine, as a "transit" nation with goods moving in all directions. By contrast, countless "experts" proved themselves to be false prophets by predicting collapse from sanctions - instead of triumph over their effects.
Vladimir Putin gets accused of many things ("thug" seems popular) but I never see anyone accuse him of being stupid. His destiny for his nation is impeded by the ceaseless opposition of a jealous empire that often seems to suffer from a sort of national Attention-Deficit Disorder. It often looks like Russia and China plan while the US reacts - and all the more so in the Trump administration. It is this short-sightedness that caused Obama/Hillary to wreck Libya and thereby teach the world that nuclear weapons are the only guarantee against US attacks. North Korea got the message, loud and clear.
I have no illusions that Putin or Xi Jinping are kindly disposed towards the US. A clever US President once sought the friendship of China to create a geopolitical balance and detente. Contrast this with the foolishness of pushing Iran into alliance with Russia/China - right after the US bullied Russia itself towards China in a similar manner. The US keeps pretending it can afford global dominance. If it can't stop this obsession voluntarily, it will be forced to do so. The one useful idea that likely gained Trump the presidency will return, one way or another, namely that the US military is overextended and that can't be afforded any longer. This will end because of better diplomacy by Russia/China or better economic opportunities they create or perhaps because lesser nations become too expensive to attack - especially if they are supplied with improved weapons (made affordable by these two nations).
In as little as seven years, it is possible that no federal money will be left for anything beyond entitlements and paying interest on the national debt (CBO). Will we then borrow money from China so that we can threaten them?
In summary, I suggest that progressives refuse to be distracted by a corrupt mass media and instead cheer Putin on. The people of Europe are far better off today than they ever were as subjects of colonial empires. In addition, the people of Germany, Italy and Japan are far better off after they left aggressive militarism behind. Our collective experience could be similar if US "full-spectrum dominance" ends and we still have the resources to fix our broken nation. We can't afford "guns" to the exclusion of "butter".
I was compelled to write this article because there seems to be a lack of clarity and prioritized thinking about America's needs. Fighting for affordable healthcare, renewed infrastructure or better incomes is futile if the response by both political parties is to pursue perpetual and costly war instead of fixing our nation domestically. If Putin and his allies can frustrate the US in its infatuation with war, so be it. Funding peace is long overdue.
(Article changed on November 17, 2017 at 02:17)