You know, Jeremy, the difficulty I have is not so much on the question of whether world leaders, be it Putin or Obama or anyone else are stupid or clever...I don't know if the answer to such a question really matters...or if it is possible to answer the question with any clarity...if it were.
In my view, when these people reach the epitome of power on the world stage, they have very little "free" power left to do anything with, particularly at home. To get to the height of their ambition, they have already given away most of their room for manoeuvre on their nation states stage, making promises to and alliances with various vested interests and coalitions within their remit in return for support for their candidacy. They also have to be "vetted" by their security services, as well as by other groupings in society, it is all part of the "democratic" process; (I here mean democracy in the very widest sense) either in a formal or informal way on their way up the ladder. The last piece of the jigsaw puzzle being the competition in winning the election in democratic countries or being appointed via some kind of coup in the most undemocratic ones. Democracy in my view is limited in definition to the peaceful transition of power of one set of alliances to another via an election...but I dare say lots of people will disagree with that...and why shouldn' t they...:-)
There is an international aspect too, as far as drawing up alliances and co-operation, spheres of influence as it used to be called during the Cold War...is concerned. In my humble opinion, for instance, I doubt very much that any Prime Minister of Britain, could become Prime Minister, or stay P.M. for long without the approval of certain other nation state ruling establishments. ( I often wonder what would have happened to Tony Blair if he had chosen to say no to George Bush regarding the co-operation of the willing...or what pressure was placed on Mr. Blair before hand...winning hearts and minds...O:-) etc.).That is not to say that any particular country appoints the candidates for election to top positions of that of another, it is never quite as crude as that, but these days, in a global economy, there is much interaction between the international players, their families, associates and business colleagues, and nation states are so dependent on one another regarding continuing world peace and trade, that there have to be unofficial agreements, nudge nudge say no more, sort of thing with respect to plausible deniability shall we say, and which of course, can be refuted and debunked at any time, due to a change in relationships or circumstances; that one has to be careful in terms of defining executive behaviour as stupid.
One has only to look at recent developments in China for instance, and the exposure of certain leading families, shall we say, helping themselves, to benefits and perquisites in return for certain favours, the eyes and ears of daddy shall we say, and certain US reporters not having their press credentials renewed or delayed because they exposed the story...even though the stories which they exposed were considered truthful and respectful in some quarters...yet were perhaps considered untruthful and disrespectful in others...difficult to tell, all we see is the outcome on the world's stage. Or observations made by Putin regarding the U.S. treating the Ukraine as some kind of laboratory in which to do experiments in social behaviour...or words to that effect.
In the Chinese case...a paper which I am still reading (available on Cryptome) on American academic and intellectual views of Chinese Military Strategy, mentions the symmetrical and asymmetrical nature of the struggle being conducted by the Chinese and US ruling circles, mainly regarding the delineation of borders and the right of military forces to use the high seas in the Pacific arena. As always in these kinds of conflicts, the good strategist always uses his best and most powerful forces for the maximum gain, or the protection of the status quo, whilst the other side uses a different strategy when it finds itself in the weaker position. It comes down to how clever perhaps, they are at analysing their adversaries weaknesses and strengths, as well as their own...and using them with the most effect and greatest efficiency to gain some kind of advantage or territory; but there is a lot of luck...or misfortune involved in it too. Reminds me of the Vietnamese living under the Da Nang US airbase to avoid being bombed by the United States Airforce...Apparently, the US government didn't have a clue that they were there at the time...
Douglas On 07/07/14 14:07, Jeremy Compton wrote:
Your point is the Russian are not dumb. Yes, that is not disputed. With the recent conflict in Syria and the offshore naval contestation Putin managed to bring this whole Shakespearean drama to a close by removing chemical weapons of the table which would have lead to a naval shooting match.The strategy of Putin and Obama has been compared to that of Obama playing checkers and Putin playing 3 dimensional chess.Putin, is a very smart player, this is obvious :) Obama, does not appear to be at the moment, unless he is playing another game that is not that obvious.Jeremy > From: toddbob@xxxxxxx > Subject: [cryptome] Re: Putin: Living In The Clouds > Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2014 21:33:42 +0900 > To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx >> And don't forget, Russia does know about insuring internal communications security while taking on these ventures. The Russian govt still buys more typewriters than the rest of the world combined. Or something like that.> Wait. What was my point? > Todd >> > On Jul 7, 2014, at 8:22 PM, doug <douglasrankine2001@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:> > > > Dear Colleagues, > >> > I see that Mr. Putin and his government have decided that the Clouds over the USA are no longer an option, and that he will be "nationalising" the storage data of his citizenry. Bad news for those companies who sell their "secure" options in the clouds in the USA, they will have to get their act together sufficiently to convince other countries that there is not only no "unauthorised" access, but access which is guaranteed to be secure to the nation or corporations' satisfaction. Maybe though, that is an impossible task...and instead they will get more subsidies from the government so that they can keep going and keep up appearances.> >> > Who wants to buy fake, or counterfeit goods these days, especially when they are no good and don't work. It is not only American citizens who are suffering the consequences. How can people and companies or corporations, who are not American citizens, and therefore have no rights of security of their information,take part in negotiating contracts at arms length in a global economy, which the US and western states are encouraging so much, when the security services are helping themselves to the same confidential information and refusing to allow proper inspection and oversight to make sure that they aren't selling off such information to the highest American bidder, or surreptitiously, privately to other bidders? Bad news for the "samisdat" Russians too.> >> > Presumably this move will have the added advantage of making it more difficult for the prying eyes to get access, and at the same time, allow Putin and his agencies to use the benefits of Edward Snowdens revelations, tiny though they are, to improve the collection, collation, sifting and sorting, profiling and targeting of the data of his own home citizens, for purposes diverse and devious. It has taken them a while to catch up with the wiles and ways of the old KGB and their relations with western security services. Perhaps they have been far too trusting, or complacent, or busy with other priorities...not any more.> >> > I understand that a number of other nation states are contemplating going down the same route. Perhaps we will see attempts at the expansion of "5 Eyes" and associated nation states who share less information with the USA and its colleagues, as a way of overcoming the attempt to collect everything that moves electronically. One never knows about such things, enemies can become friends, or friendly aliens, so quickly in the world these days, that one can hardly keep up with it.> >> > One never knows, one might even see the Chinese legitimately getting in on the act and gaining the trust and friendship into the worlds "secret" security exchanges...;-)> > ATB > > Douglas > > >