Patrick Armstrong was an analyst in the Canadian Department of National Defence specialising in the USSR/Russia from 1984 and a Counsellor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow in 1993-1996. He retired in 2008 and has been writing on Russia and related subjects on the Net ever since.
Counterfactual history is generally a waste of time because, in the end, it’s just speculation. But it’s fun and it can sometimes illuminate factual history.
“Re-reading my yesterday’s essay, I noticed something that Putin did not mention,” Patrick Armstrong writes. A something that in the twenty years has become rather important.
It is reasonable to regard Putin’s 1999 essay as his program and, on its twenty-year anniversary, to see how well he (and his team) have done.
There is one big and important difference between the two solitudes which leads us out of the my bubble/your bubble stalemate…
“For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
In the past, the frenzy built up and up and stopped at the end before it got to 11. But Putin is still there and growing stronger by the moment.
Venezuela was not Bolton’s only failure: his “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran turned out to be much feebler than Tehran’s “maximum”.
It will take time before it sinks in that one of the prominent figures of the Western establishment is pretty close to agreement with Putin.
The USSR, with significant help from the rest of us, defeated Hitler and changed the world away from that dark and horrible future. At enormous cost.
Russia is just Russia. There is no feeling in Moscow that Russia must take the lead any place but Russia itself. One of the reasons why Putin is always talking about the independence of nation states is that he remembers the exceptionalist past and knows that it led to a dead end.