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Russia and The End of History
TCSDaily ^ | 28 Feb 2006 | Lee Harris

Posted on 02/27/2006 11:37:52 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe

What a terrific guy that Vladimir Putin must be. Here we all were, worried silly about the chance of Iran getting its hands on nukes, debating about international sanctions, when suddenly Russia decides to help us out of our dilemma by trying to make a deal with the Iranians. Of course, the United States and the UN were tickled pink to accept Putin's mediation, and it is now reported that the Russians have magnanimously offered to enrich uranium for Iran on their own soil -- soil that shares a long and convenient border with Iran. And even if this deal does not work, no doubt Putin can figure out another way of making a deal with Iran. After all, since they are neighbors, doesn't it make sense for us to let Putin handle the problem of Iran?

There was a point in time when geopolitical cynics might have worried that Russia was trying to achieve what used to be called "a sphere of influence" in Iran. These cynics might even have worried that Russia might be deliberately courting and coddling Iran so that Russia could exploit to its own selfish advantage the current division between the West and that oil-rich and militant Muslim nation. Fortunately for us, however, our leadership no longer tolerates such cynics in their midst. Foreign policy in both the United States and in Europe has been purged of all such illiberal skepticism about the sinister motives of others. We all want the same things, don't we? Therefore, Vladimir Putin must be just as anxious to visualize global peace as any American soccer mom. As we all know, Russia is our friend, and not our enemy. Besides, we are at the End of History. Why would Mr. Putin want to start up history all over again -- for example, by insisting that Russia should play a major role on the world's stage, as it once did, and not so long ago.

Of course, it is always possible that Mr. Putin has not have read Francis Fukuyama's book, The End of History. Indeed, Mr. Putin may not yet have realized that the new world order that emerged with the collapse of the USSR constituted the end of all further struggles for power and dominance among peoples and nations. Or, possibly, just possibly, he might not be at all happy with a permanent world order in which the USA is the lone Superpower, and his own once mighty nation, Russia, is reduced to a mere second or third fiddle.

This, after all, is one of the tickly points about the end of history. Those societies that have declared an end to history have done so at precisely the point at which they have achieved an enormous victory over their rivals in a long and often bloody power struggle. For example, the first man to declare himself Emperor of China, Shih Huang Ti, also proclaimed an end of history in 221 B.C. He had, through a series of protracted wars, achieved complete dominance over China by systematically eliminating all of his rivals for supremacy. What better time to announce that, from now on, there will be no more wars, and no more conflicts? Peace and harmony will be eternally secured, because all opposition to the supremacy of the Emperor had been defeated.

About five hundred years later, the Roman Christian writer Lactantius would survey the triumph that Constantine the Great had achieved over his rivals in his struggle for supremacy, and he too would declare that history had come to an end. Peace and harmony would rule, and, once again, the newly emerged world order would be permanent and unchangeable.

The same conclusion was drawn by the Allies after their victory in the Great War, which Woodrow Wilson had dubbed "the war to end all war," very much in the spirit of Shih Huang Ti. Wilson believed that with the coming of peace, there would be a final drawing of national borders, and from then on, a person would not need to keep buying new maps of the globe simply because one nation was dissatisfied with the borders that had been assigned to it. The maps of the world, instead of changing every generation or so, would obtain the kind of permanency that maps of the United States have had since the admission of Arizona and New Mexico in 1912.

The defeated Germans, however, did not like the position on the new map that had been assigned to them. Having once been a great power, they could not suppress the desire to become a great power once again, and to create a new map of Europe that differed radically from the map that the victors had drawn up.

Can we really expect the Russians to feel much different?

Herein lies the nemesis of all those who have rashly presumed to declare an end to history after a power struggle in which they emerged victorious. Understandably, they wish to think that all such struggles are behind them. Naturally, they wish to believe that the settlement they have achieved will be permanent and everlasting. Yet the mere fact that they have achieved dominance and supremacy entails that somewhere there will be those who have lost in their own struggle to achieve the same goal--those who refuse to accept the winner's verdict that history is over and done with, and who patiently, or impatiently, await the day when they can begin the struggle for supremacy all over again.

The question is not what Russia wants, but how patient it will be in getting it.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: iran; leeharris; russia

1 posted on 02/27/2006 11:37:54 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: anonymoussierra; Grzegorz 246; lizol; Lukasz

ping


2 posted on 02/27/2006 11:41:59 PM PST by Wiz (News hyaena providing you news with spice of acid)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

They do not have much time: extractive economy based on depleting natural resources [Saudi Arabia has about 75 yrs of oil at today's reserves and rates of extraction. Russia has much less], plus demographics - say, 25-40 years tops.


3 posted on 02/27/2006 11:44:51 PM PST by GSlob
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To: Tailgunner Joe
it is now reported that the Russians have magnanimously offered to enrich uranium for Iran on their own soil -- soil that shares a long and convenient border with Iran.

Did Russia annex the former SSRs back and I missed it?

4 posted on 02/27/2006 11:57:30 PM PST by MitchellC (Foolishness isn't a mental disorder.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

BTTT


5 posted on 02/27/2006 11:59:44 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Tagline Repair Service. Let us fix those broken Taglines. Inquire within(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Russians have magnanimously offered to enrich uranium for Iran on their own soil -- soil that shares a long and convenient border with Iran

Huh? WHAT border with Russia?



IRan's land borders are with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, IRaq and Kuwait
6 posted on 02/28/2006 12:13:43 AM PST by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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To: Cronos

I believe you mean Turkey, not Kuwait.

Dick Morris make the same mistake (Russia bordering Iran) a few months back on C-SPAN, while attempting to make one supposedly profound point or another about the Russia-Iran relationship.


7 posted on 02/28/2006 12:45:16 AM PST by MitchellC (Foolishness isn't a mental disorder.)
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To: MitchellC

I was going to mention that the writer doesn't appear to have a good grasp of geography as well.
Makes you wonder what else he doesn't know that he thinks he does.


8 posted on 02/28/2006 2:39:06 AM PST by Cheburashka
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To: Tailgunner Joe

So what? Russian territorial and nationalist ambition, disengaged from the Soviet Socialist expansionist threat, is a toothless tiger.

They're not going to conquer Iran; that much is certain. So if they get "influence" there, who cares? We clearly don't have any anyway.


9 posted on 02/28/2006 3:47:33 AM PST by Phil Connors
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Russia is not our friend. Given half a chance they would bury us.


10 posted on 02/28/2006 4:19:23 AM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Cronos

Well russia does border Iran if it again annexes the Stan brothers. When they feel like it russia could take all 52 Stan countries back in about the time it took the Nazis to take poland.
Wait for it to happen.


11 posted on 02/28/2006 4:27:39 AM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Cronos

"Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia"

Old Soviet Union perhaps?


12 posted on 02/28/2006 6:05:54 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz
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To: MitchellC; Tailgunner Joe; Cronos; Cheburashka; Joe Boucher
Lee Harris is obviously wrong on the land border between Russia and Iran. I follow his writings and respect the guy even when disagree with him. He made a mistake, he should have done his homework better.

But I got intrigued to check how they divide huge Caspian Sea (which is actually a lake), is there any international waters there. I was amazed to discover that the issue is not settled. See the article below.  Anyway, looks like there is no direct access from Russia to Iran even over the sea. Of course, in crisis situation nobody can stop Russian fleet if they decide to sail down to Iran for whatever reason. (I presume they have military fleet there, don't they?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_Sea

International disputes

  • Old division of the Caspian Sea between Iran and the USSR (and also between the Soviet Republics themselves).
  • See [Image:Caspian_Borders_New.PNG] for new division.
  • copyright info is inside the image.
  • New division of the Caspian Sea between the littoral states (not all borders are finaly agreed - see the article for details).
  • See [Image:Caspian_Borders_Old.PNG] for the old division.
  • source info is inside the image.

 

There are three major issues regulated by the Caspian Sea status: access to mineral resources (oil and natural gas), access for fishing and access to international waters (through Russia's Volga river and the canals connecting it to the Black Sea and Baltic Sea). Access to the Volga-river is particulary important for the landlocked states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. This issue is of course sensitive to Russia, because this potential traffic will move through its territory (albeit onto the inland waterways). If a body of water is labeled as Sea then there would be some precedents and international treaties obliging the granting of access permits to foreign vessels. If a body of water is labeled merely as lake then there are no such obligations. Environmental issues are also somewhat connected to the status and borders issue. It should be mentioned that Russia got the bulk of the former Soviet Caspian military fleet (and also currently has the most powerful military presence in the Caspian Sea). Some assets were assigned to Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan and especially Turkmenistan got a very small share (because they lack major port cities).

  • According to a treaty signed between the Persian Empire (predecessor of today's Iran) and the Russian Empire the Caspian Sea is technically a lake and it is to be divided into two sectors (Persian and Russian), but the resources (then mainly fish) would be commonly shared. The line between the two sectors was to be seen as an international border in a common lake (like Lake Albert). Also the Russian sector was sub-divided into administrative sectors of the four littoral republics.
  • After the dissolution of the Soviet Union not all of the newly independent states assumed continuation of the old treaty. At first Russia and Iran announced that they would continue to adhere to the old treaty (but they don't have a common border any more, so this is practically impossible). Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan announced that they do not consider themselves parties to this treaty.
  • Later followed some proposals for common agreement between all littoral states about the status of the sea.
    • Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan insisted that the sectors should be based on the median line, thus giving each state a share proportional to its Caspian coastline length. Also the sectors would form part of the sovereign territory of the particular state (thus making them international borders and also allowing each state to deal with all resources within its sector as it wishes unilaterally).
    • Iran insisted that the sectors should be such that each state gets a 1/5th share of the whole Caspian Sea. This was advantageous to Iran, because it has a proportionally smaller coastline.
    • Russia proposed a somewhat compromising solution: the seabed (and thus mineral resources) to be divided along sectoral lines (along the two above-described variants), the surface (and thus fishing rights) to be shared between all states (with the following variations: the whole surface to be commonly shared; each state to receive an exclusive zone and one single common zone in the center to be shared. The second variant is deemed not practical, because of the small size of the whole sea).
  • Current situation

Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have agreed to a solution about their sectors. There are no problems between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, but the latter is not actively participating, so there is no agreement either. Azerbaijan is at odds with Iran over some oil fields that the both states claim. There have been occasions where Iranian patrol boats have opened fire at vessels sent by Azerbaijan for exploration into the disputed region. There are similar tensions between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (the latter claims that the former has pumped more oil than agreed from a field, recognized by both parties as shared). Less acute are the issues between Turkmenistan and Iran. Regardless, the southern part of the sea remains disputed.

    • Russia and Kazakhstan signed a treaty, according to which, they divide the northern part of the Caspian Sea between them into two sectors along the median line. Each sector is an exclusive zone of its state. Thus all resources, seabed and surface are exclusive to the particular state.
    • Russia and Azerbaijan signed a similar treaty about their common border.
    • Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed a similar treaty about their common border.
    • Iran doesn't recognize the bilateral agreements between the other littoral states, but this has limited practical implications, because it doesn't have common borders with Russia and Kazakhstan. Also Iran continues to insist on a single multilateral agreement between all five littoral states (as the only way to achieve 1/5-th share).
    • The position of Turkmenistan is unclear.

After Russia adopted the median line sectoral division and the three treaties already signed between some littoral states this is looking like the realistic method for regulating the Caspian borders. The Russian sector is fully defined. The Kazakhstan sector is not fully defined, but is not disputed either. Azerbaijan's, Turkmenistan's and Iran's sectors are not fully defined. It is not clear if the issue of Volga-access to vessels from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan is covered by their agreements with Russia and also what the conditions are for Volga-access for vessels from Turkmenistan and Iran.

 

13 posted on 02/28/2006 6:09:01 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Joe Boucher
Well russia does border Iran if it again annexes the Stan brothers. When they feel like it russia could take all 52 Stan countries back in about the time it took the Nazis to take poland.
Wait for it to happen.


The Russian Army is only a shadow of the former Soviet Union Army, and they could in no way accomplish what you suggest.
14 posted on 02/28/2006 8:07:42 AM PST by GarySpFc (de oppresso liber)
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To: GarySpFc; Tolik; Wiz; All

Thank you *tolik*,



"We are in war people, get it. We have enemies to face. Political bickering, constant division among our self won't help us in a fight. Look outside of a box."

Dzieki


15 posted on 02/28/2006 8:50:07 AM PST by anonymoussierra (Jezu, ufam Tobie!!! Amen)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Lee Harris corrected his Russian-Iranian border blunder. The article on the website is saying now: "...soil that not so long ago shared a convenient border with Iran..."


16 posted on 02/28/2006 10:05:50 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Cheburashka
Makes you wonder what else he doesn't know that he thinks he does.

This seems to be particularly common in today's essays posted as threads for our amusement. One guess is that the celebrations of the past weekend have mostly worn off and the first more or less coherent compositions of the week are being placed on the internet just today, Tuesday. The real articles will show up later in the week.

17 posted on 02/28/2006 10:12:07 AM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: GarySpFc

You are right in that russias military is but a shell of its former one. Still they have infinately more then the Stan brothers combined. Couple that with much better command and communications structure as well as training not to mention arms.
Also the Stan brothers are little more then tribal.


18 posted on 02/28/2006 10:42:32 AM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Joe Boucher; GarySpFc

yeah I mean take for instance Afghanistan! That was an open and shut case for Russian military might! (/sarc)


19 posted on 02/28/2006 1:14:10 PM PST by x5452
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To: Joe Boucher

52 "Stan" countries? Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, and Kazakhstan - former Soviet countries - What 52 stans did you have in mind?

You overrate the Russians - a common mistake I see on here. The Russians can't put down an insurrection in Chechnya. Can't prevent terrorist attacks in the middle of their capital and you think they'd be able to roll over these "stans" that are very happy being independent of the Russians?


20 posted on 02/28/2006 3:24:22 PM PST by RetiredColdWarrior
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To: Joe Boucher
52 Stan countries

52? What are you talking about? There are only 5 Central Asian countries that were part of the former USSR: Kazakhistan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Armenia and Azerbaijan are Caucasian countries. And Afghanistan and Pakistan were never part of the Soviet Empire
21 posted on 02/28/2006 9:04:27 PM PST by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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To: MitchellC

left out Turkey, but yes, Kuwait's close enough to be a neighbour -- that estuary is disputed.


22 posted on 02/28/2006 9:05:48 PM PST by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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To: Joe Boucher; jb6
Russia is not our friend. Given half a chance they would bury us.

Nope it won't. They are rivals yes, but not enemies.
23 posted on 02/28/2006 9:06:28 PM PST by Cronos (Remember 9/11. Restore Hagia Sophia! Ultra-Catholic: Sola Scriptura leads to solo scriptura.)
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To: Cronos

Russia is fervently working to help iran, Syria China etc. to arm them hoping to control oil. With a little effort they could have used their oil revenues to work with the world in a democratic way. Instead Pitin rolls back reforms and kicks dirt in the wests face whenever a chance arises.
Ref. Ukraine.


24 posted on 03/01/2006 2:35:44 AM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Joe Boucher
When they feel like it russia could take all 52 Stan countries back in about the time it took the Nazis to take poland.

You mean like they defeated Chechnya?

25 posted on 03/01/2006 2:44:37 AM PST by Rider on the Rain
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Russia can rebuild its military (and influence!) very quickly also.

Germany went from staggering defeat and 1000 percent inflation and starving people to Europe's strongest power (fighting to rebuild during a world-wide depression!) in only 16 years.

Much of Hitler's early success was due to the fact that Germany's enemies had disarmed, and Chamberlain (etc.) COULDN'T fight back with wat little was available.

England was re-arming (!) even after WWII began, even through '41 to try to catch up.

We've also disarmed.


26 posted on 03/01/2006 2:57:11 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Rider on the Rain

If the Chi-coms ever invaded and defeated the U.S. you don't think good folks everywhere here would carry on an underground war?


27 posted on 03/01/2006 3:18:17 AM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Joe Boucher

You're right. I know they would. There would be open season on Chi-coms for these rednecks down here.


28 posted on 03/01/2006 5:31:53 AM PST by Rider on the Rain
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To: Rider on the Rain

Rider I don't know where you are but here I am the redneck.


29 posted on 03/01/2006 12:04:15 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Joe Boucher

Well if you mean that in a positive sense, then I am too, and I'm in the Old North State.


30 posted on 03/01/2006 1:51:20 PM PST by Rider on the Rain
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To: Rider on the Rain

I live in South East Florida in a swanky airpark. I am the most down to earth guy here amongst a bunch of high brows.

I work hard and have a load of fun. Most here never had to work at all. Still they think they've had rough lives.
They think I'm a lesser because I do for myself instead of hiring others.
I work hard, play hard and enjoy and will fight for what I think I should instead of being politically correct. I am the local redneck. I don't care if the richest guy here is wrong I'll let them know.


31 posted on 03/01/2006 3:03:58 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Joe Boucher

Well Buddy, if I can call you Buddy, I admire your outlook on life and liberty, and I want to be on your side.


32 posted on 03/01/2006 6:09:44 PM PST by Rider on the Rain
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To: Rider on the Rain

Just an old fashioned proud American here friend.


33 posted on 03/02/2006 3:24:25 AM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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