Russian Realpolitik Could Lead to Higher Oil Prices
The civil war in Syria and its many moving parts have Americans confused as to what should be the proper response from the United States. Especially confusing is the nature of the Russian involvement in the conflict; ie, their motivation for supporting and arming the Assad regime. To most Americans, Russia seems mysterious and difficult to understand.
Well I travel to Russia frequently and I think the issue is rather uncomplicated. To understand the Russian position, you need to understand what the Russians care about. It’s simple: Russia cares about what is good for Russia.
Ordinary Russians value stability. They want the trains to run on time. They’ve been on an economic and political rollercoaster for decades. Putin gives them that stability and that is the source of his hold on power. Yes the Muscovites protest occasionally against their loss of freedom over the last decade; however, they are a small minority. Putin governs for the people in the village. For example, the mothers of Beslan, where Chechen terrorists killed two hundred children and twice as many parents in 2004. Do you recall Putin warned us about the Boston Bomber?
Remember, over twenty percent of Mother Russia is Muslim. Putin is deathly scared of an Islamist uprising such as the one he brutally put down in Chechnya. Now, take a look at a map of the Middle East. Syria is historically a Russian ally and a customer of the Russian arms industry. Damascus is the Russian foothold in the Mediterranean. Notice how the Med feeds into the Bosphorus and on into the Black Sea. Talk about strategic!
Now realize that Russia’s foothold in the American Lake is being threatened by Islamic rebels who are trying to bring down the government of Assad. You also have their neighbor Turkey slowly drifting into Islamist totalitarianism. North of Turkey sits Chechnya.
So back to Russia’s motivation for supporting the regime in Syria. It is pure self-interest. They want to maintain a beachhead in the Mediterranean and prevent a takeover by an Islamist opposition. Don’t expect a change of heart from Putin on supporting Assad. You can expect him to continue to outmaneuver the United States and make Obama look like an amateur. While in Moscow recently, I asked a Russian friend why Russia supports Syria when they are brutally killing their own people. “I could give a damn about the Syrian people,” was his response.
What is the endgame of Russia supporting their Syrian ally no matter what? The risk is a proxy war between the West and the Russian Federation. Obama is now arming the rebels, although ever so slightly as far as we know. So you have a rehash of the Cold War playing itself out in the Levant with Iran involved as a third player on the chessboard. The risk of a lengthy conflict is high. Higher oil prices could be the result. This scenario is the poster child of why we should develop and harvest North American energy resources.
Born in Georgia and raised in Savannah, Todd spent his early summers in Carp Lake, Michigan listening to the vivid stories of his grandparents recalling their youth in the northern wilderness. Ever since his earliest days, he loved story telling.
Todd left Savannah in 1982 to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO where he studied aeronautical engineering. Upon graduation in 1986, he immediately left the Academy for flight school. His initial assignment was flying Combat Search and Rescue helicopters at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. In the UHAE (Unique Harsh Arctic Environment-pronounced “Yoo Hay” by Alaskans) he flew local rescue missions and was also deployed throughout Asia. During this time he was credited with saving many lives and even more assists. In addition to flying exciting missions, Todd also managed to graduate from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an M.S. in Engineering Management. In 1990 he volunteered for Special Operations and went back to flight school. In 1991 he was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, FL, flying MH-53J Pave Low helicopters. Immediately he was deployed to Kuwait. Over the next three years he was active in classified missions in support of counterterrorism under the control of the National Command Authority and deployed throughout the world. His customers included SEAL Team Six and Delta Force. He left the Air Force as a Captain in 1994. During this hectic period in his life he found time to write his first novel, The Ultimate Solution which was never published. He did publish an article in the Armed Force’s Journal in 1994 on Special Operations Aviation.
1994 found Todd joining an investment bank and earning a chance to expand his knowledge of his other passion, Finance. During this second career he became highly knowledgeable in Emerging Markets Fixed Income and traveled a great deal internationally with a focus on the Caribbean. He has conducted business in over forty different countries. He became acutely aware of the consequences of economic decisions and their effect on national and economic security.
However, Todd.’s love of storytelling was uncontrollable. He left the financial business in 2011 to write. Currency was published in December of that year. Once he began typing, he never stopped.
Todd lives on a three-hundred year old farm in Connecticut deeded by King George of England with his children.