Foreboding: an omen, prediction, or presentiment especially of coming evil
Very ominous news appear on a daily basis - Russia is clearly happy to have a showdown with the U.S. and the West, if the rest of the West will participate, that is. Russia, authoritarian and newly wealthy, is asserting its hegemony wherever it can.
It doesn't take much effort to stand back a bit and think of all the of the ominous headlines brought to you courtesy of Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Consider some highlights of what is going on around the world:
- Russia is supplying Iran with nuclear technology and defensive missile systems
- Russia has now invaded a sovereign, democratic nation
- Russia is trying to extend its will by buttressing violent, terrorism-supporting regimes
- Russia can and does now use oil as a threat - from taking over the international companies within his borders to threatening all of Europe with cutting off its oil supply to them.
- Russia is supplying dictator-controlled Venezuela with arms
- Putin always feels the need to make outright threats, even nuclear, when former eastern bloc nations inch closer to the West.
Consider this about Russia:
- It was Putin who rained down violence on the breakaway province of Chechnya, yet he invaded Georgia when Georgia tried to quell violence in its own breakaway provinces
- Russia is NOT A DEMOCRACY. Putin controls television and newspapers, jails the opposition, takes over oil companies and jails their CEO's, and has hand-picked his own successor, validated with a sham election. Russia is an authoritarian state.
- Russia and China are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, which means they have veto-power. Think of two authoritarian states that can veto any action the U.N. would take to resolve or head-off conflicts. This includes humanitarian efforts in Darfur/Sudan and Zimbabwe.
- Putin is the former head of the KGB, and thinks that the dissolution of the Soviet empire was, "the greatest geo-political disaster of the twentieth century."
- Although we don't see it here, Russian indoctrinates its children and saturates its press with the the idea that America is threatening Russia whenever NATO expansion is even considered, and when America forms stronger ties with newly independent, former Soviet-controlled states. Even more pernicious, high school history books now teach that Joseph Stalin, who arguably murdered more people than Hitler, is "the country's most successful Soviet leader ever."
- A look at Pravda is very telling
- From the BBC: "According to research by the Russian Academy of Sciences, three quarters of senior politicians have a background in the security forces and Russia's largest companies are now headed by former KGB men with personal ties to Vladimir Putin."
It seems unlikely that Putin's goals are one and the same as the former Soviet Union's - if one assumes that is the spread of communist ideology through all means. If Putin's goals are only to establish his own close-knit oligarchy as a means to personal wealth and power, and to do that he must restore Russian pride as a world power through threats, violence, and subjugation, in terms of practice and results, what is the difference between that and the former Soviet empire?