At this moment we are in confrontation with a country that for a short time had become an ally of the United States and the free West. A country that a mere thirty-years was a sworn enemy of the free world and exported their political ideals while making every effort to undermine the ideals of freedom, liberty and a free market. The country that was leading this anti-western attack was Russia and was backed by a confederation of states, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic; the USSR. At the time they were the second strongest country in the world.
It was guns and bombs that brought down the Soviet Union. It was economics that led to the decline and ultimate breakup of the Communist Blok. China recognized that they could not follow the Russian model and moved to a more market based economy with amazing results. China has the fastest growing economy in the world and when they speak the world listens. Russia, on the other hand, has taken a back seat to a modern fast-growing world and they are humiliated and many Russians dream of times past.
While Russia is in a modern world and we look at them as needing the economics provided to a world player, its’ roots come from a durable people that rose from hardship, purges, death and little creature comforts that the West has grown accompanied to over the last one hundred years. While we place minimal sanctions on Russia for the Ukrainian crisis, the hardships are less likely to affect a population desiring respect and dignity that they received as a Communist leader
Russia came from a feudal governmental system. Czar Nicolas ruled a country with a strong hand until the country finally revolted in 1917. The Communist were not the first to control the country; however, it was quick to take control in a second revolt when first revolution government was unable to provide the change demanded by the Communist.
The First World War accelerated the demise of Czar Nicolas. The Army was fighting the Germans and the Russian army was in tatters. Supply shortages coupled with conscription of soldiers which led to a reduction in trained labor in the factories followed by mass inflation to pay for the war effort led to great hardships. Germany took advantage of this and arranged to have an exile return to Russia with ten million dollars. This man, Vladimir Lenin would use the money to undermine the Russian government and pull the Russian troops from the fight with Germany. He succeeded with the aid of a colleague, Joseph Stalin. Stalin was tough, very tough. He had been sent to work camps in Siberia; a harsh desolate frozen part of the world where dissidents were sent never to return. Six times Stalin was sent and six times he escaped.
After WWI Russia moved into a Communistic society. Everyone worked for the motherland. As Germany again rebuilt its’ rmy Russia would eventually be invaded by its’ neighbor. This showed the resiliency of Russia. While millions were being killed in the west by the invading German Army, entire factories were dismantled and sent by rail to the eastern part of the country to be rebuilt and retooled to manufacture war material. The Russians suffered horribly as the harsh winters plagued the country but still Russia survived. The siege of Lenigrad lasted 872 days and led in some instances to eating rats, domestic animals and even cannibalism. Still the besieged city held out and finally Germany withdrew.
Stalin was ruthless and in the 1930 through to his leaving office in 1953 it is conservatively estimated that over seven hundred thousand Russians were executed and up to fifteen million had gone to work camps.
This highlights what a tough, resilient people the Russians are. They have been brought up hard and they have now been humiliated with their new place in the world power system. Vladimir Putin has brought this pride back to the country while making the United States look weak. We are in fact still the most powerful country in the world but what many question is our ability to use this military and economic might.
If we think that a few weak to medium sanctions will affect this hardened Russian country then that strategy needs to be revisited. It will take hard hitting sanctions that will have immediate affects coupled with an ultimatum that force will be brought to bear to protect the rights of a sovereign nation. Then, and only then, will the leadership of Russia understand that America is no a Paper Tiger.
Are we looking at a world war. Absolutely not, even the most diabolical dictator would want that. What the question is, how much will Russia gobble up around the world, how much power will Russia gain and how much will the United States lose before some sort of balance of power is realized.


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