Writing at military.com, international legal specialist and political thriller writer Allan Topol discusses the new era that has dawned in Russian-American relations. “This one,” he says, “promises to be no better than the Cold War”:
Those who dare to challenge Putin end up being arrested and put on trial if they’re lucky. If not, they are summarily executed and their killing is dressed up as a robbery attempt. This isn’t to say that there isn’t serious street crime in Russia — there is. This crime provides a useful cover for those whom the Putin regime wishes to execute.
Notions of a free press or free elections have vanished in the cold Siberian wind of last winter. One difference is that the Russian military has not been restored to anything like its previous power. Putin is a clever man. He doesn’t want to run the risk of having a powerful military which could wrest control of the Kremlin from him.
While the new autocracy is assuming control, Russia as a nation is ailing. It seems absolutely inconceivable that the life expectancy for men in Russia today is only 59 years. Life is so wonderful in post-Soviet Russia that deaths from alcohol are sweeping the country. Those who study population trends love to draw graphs with straight lines through data. Doing that with the Russian male population would lead to the conclusion that within fifty years there won’t be any men left in Russia.
It would be bad enough if the Putin were simply destroying Russian society and its population. However, the damage is not merely domestic. A new threat has emerged to the United States.
I wondered long ago why it was that the bad people are the ones who end up having all the oil and natural gas. Well, here we go again. The Russians have huge reservoirs of both oil and gas. With the high price of energy, petro dollars have been flowing into Russia like water over Niagara Falls.
Those petro dollars are being recycled into arms. In 2005 Russia surpassed the United States as the leader in weapons deals with the developing world. Russia’s weapons deals totaled seven billion dollars in 2005, surpassing the United States for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even more troublesome, Russia sold $700,000 in surface-to-air missiles to Iran and eight new aerial refueling tankers to China, according to a new congressional study.