Buggy Rregrets . . .
that he hasn't posted for over a year on his blog-site. This is now changing. He will start now with this posted commentary at RealClearWorld that is a reply to a very stimulating and informative article by Dr. James Jay Carafano entitled "Putin's Progress." Click here for it and Prof Bug's comments about it --- essentially an extension, with some historical analysis of Russia's struggle for several centures, to overcome its almost non-stop backwardness, technologically and economically, compared to the lead-countries in parts of West Europe and in the USA on these two key scores.
The hard fact is, Russia is not now and never has been a noticeably innovative country --- rather, a later copycat of big scientific and technological breakthroughs made by the West. Without its high levels of oil and gas exports, its economy will continue to falter and decline relative to the USA. Worse, rampant corruption and ongoing authoritarianism will further increase the country's failures to create a modern economy near the technological frontier. Expect Putin's rule to resort ever more frenziedly to the last age-old stratagem of both the Czarist and Communist regimes: endless drumbeats for the Russian masses of fervent nationalism, along with manipulative lies that Russia's massive internal problems derive wholly from the threats and frightening dangers from abroad. And, of course, along with those enemy countries' treasonble operatives at work inside Russia itself . . . such as these days the helter-skelter leaders of democratic opposition to the former KGB officer now in power.
The likely end resort of all this? Well, read first Carafano's informative article and then Buggy's comments (reproduced below).
The Buggy Reply
An outstanding post, Dr. Carafano --- the most enlightening I've read in the past few months about the complex alternatives open to Putin in his self-entangling troubles. It's always worth remembering that he has a strong KGB background, compounded by a massive ego and a belief-system that Russia deserves to be fully respected as a giant super-power . . . this, despite the Soviet Union collapse a quarter of a century ago and Russia's flimsy, backward economy dependent on oil and gas exports (and little else) for its GDP growth annually.
Russia has always been backward, economically and in technology, compared to West Europe and eventually the USA.
Again and again, its Czarist and more recent Communist dictatorships struggled to keep abreast of the lead Western countries, only to find themselves --- after large-scale efforts and wasted resources (as well as tightening tyranny and various degrees of government-sponsored terror) --- to still be behind as major breakthroughs in new technologies materialize in the more advanced parts of the Western world. And again and again, the response in Moscow has been heightened, even crackling nationalism as adjuncts of the new tyranny.
Yes, Russia has also been attacked over its long history of about 1000 years --- both from the East (Tatars and other Mongol-Turkish peoples) and the West (Sweden, France, Germany), and come to that Ottoman Turks from the South -- but its people, at great sacrifice, would fight back and stop or defeat its enemies.
Note though. Sooner or later, after the defeat of its enemies, the Czarist and later Communist regimes would expand once more across 1) Central, Southern, and Eastern Asia (followed by the conquest and occupation for a century or two of Alaska, parts of Canada, and parts of the coastal areas of what are now the states of Washington and Oregon). And 2) once more, northward along the Baltic Sea and westward across much of central Europe.
In the end, Russia has never experienced any long period of restrained and accountable government and effective civic society independent of rigid government-control of its people. It's no different today (minus the horrid terror of the Stalinist era).
If anything, Putin's current autocratic control of the Russian media, full of massive nationalist manipulations (with those Russian groups critical of them quickly silenced one way or another), shows that the new communication and information technologies invented in the lead Western countries can lead to new form of tyranny and ultra-nationalism, and not --- as many journalists, economists, and political scientists claim --- just democratic openings . . . witness too what has happened to the laughable Arab Spring.
Michael Gordon, AKA TheBuggyProfessor (name of my blog)