Russian Cut Backs

There are reports that Russia is now really feeling the pinch of both Western sanctions and the low oil price and is having to cut its budget. No doubt the anti Russian lobby will gloat. This tends to be the same people who believe that Britain should walk out of Europe and go it alone. If Britain does that (but even if it stays) it will still be necessary to sell goods to Europe. This will not happen if the EU itself is not prospering. Sanctions have hit the EU, Germany especially, almost as much as they have hit Russia.

The migrant crisis in full swing, the Syria civil war still raging, the enmity between Sunni and Shia, the spread of IS into both Libya and Afghanistan, these all are issues in which Russia will be a major player in the crafting of solutions. It is on the same side as the West, although its strategic interpretation may be prioritized differently. The West’s recent strategic record is so shambolic that this may well be a benefit.

What is clear to thinking people is the fact that a down at heal Russia is not only not a driver of Western prosperity, but it puts a break on it. Diplomacy is an art of give and take. Each country has a different vision of an ideal world. The trick is to find compromises which recognize the limitations of the real world. This is a trick the modern generation of rather indifferent Western politicians has yet to learn.


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