The Real Putin Menace
A reader writes:
I just read Hitch's piece talking about that "cabal of cockroach capitalists and ex-KGB men who now hold power in Moscow" (what formulations - love it!) and had a chuckle. Fact is that Putin is up to far more mischief that either Hitch or Applebaum suspect. They're focused on the domestic scene in Russia. True, it's pretty grim, but most Russians aren't complaining because the place is awash with petrodollars. But Putin's dealings with the Iranians are far more menacing to the West than has been explored in the media up to this point.
Putin did his dissertation for his kandidat nauk at the St Petersburg Mining Academy (Gornii Institut) on a curious topic - use of Russia's natural resources strength as a tool of foreign policy… His grand design involves using European dependency on Russian oil and gas as the basis for a new Russian economic hegemony in Europe. And he aims to form a new non-Arab oil cartel which would have at its core Russia, Iran and Venezuela. (Do the numbers - it's a very impressive per centage of the global total). This stuff is all over the trade press, and gets an occasional piece in FT, but for whatever reason there's very little about it in the mainstream press, which is, as usual, too obsessed with Rovian kickball to cover things that really matter.
For more information on Putin's malign intentions at home, check this site out.