George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR intelligence, did a video interview with Business Insider on Russia’s perceived weakness in the modern world. STRATFOR has been called everything from the CIA’s lay informants to “The Economist One Week Later.” Here’s the deal: all of their facts are usually correct but all of their conclusions have always been wrong.
Examples of Being Wrong
- Did they really believe Russia would lose Crimea and Donetsk?
- Friedman claimed that Mexico would be a global power in the 21st century (Friedman, The Next 100 Years).
Before we get to Friedman’s specific interview, we need to identify some of the operating presuppositions,
- The European Union is a viable and sustainable trading bloc.
- The American Economy is as strong as it was in the days of Clinton.
- The most important value is material comfort.
- Accordingly, men will only fight for shekels or money.
- Since Russia doesn’t have a lot of shekels or money, Russia cannot win any war.
- Any war fought today will be a combination of WWII and Desert Storm. Of course, Friedman is too smart to actually believe this. Yet when comparisons are made between Russia and the West, it always between the West’s finest hours and Russia’s performance in Afghanistan.
Obviously, all of these are wrong. Now for the video.
Friedman is correct that the European peninsula offers boundaries and borders that Russia does not have. Further, he is correct that the loss of buffer states like the Baltics leaves Moscow open (though he doesn’t Transnistria). After this he gets silly. He calls Belarus a neutral country. This is false. The West hate Belarus and Lukashenko more than it does Putin. Luka. has to ally with Russia. And the Belarussian army is as competent as any in Western Europe.
He lists the loss of Ukraine as an important buffer to Russia. True, but the Ukrainian army was defeated by Novorossiya and the rest of the country is an economic wasteland.
He says Turkey would win in a war against Russia because Turkey would blockade the Bosporus. This means Russia would lose revenue from sales to America and Europe. First of all, while this would harm the Russian economy, it wouldn’t harm it immediately. Secondly, this might just be the situation that lets Russia, in accordance with prophecy, retake Constantinople.
Of course there are the claims about “dying demography” (no different from Europe, though). But the problem here is an immediate war, not a long-term population crisis. Rebuttals to STRATFOR
The Atlantic. (this one is hilarious)