Streetwise Professor

March 26, 2019

The Strategic Genius Putin Reinforces Failure (and a Failed State) in Venezuela

Filed under: History,Politics — cpirrong @ 6:57 pm

As something of a coda to the previous post, it’s worth commenting on Sunday’s story that Russia dispatched 100 troops to Venezuela. Within hours of their arrival, the power went out, and the country was plunged into darkness yet again.

This is how deep Russia must dig to find allies, all in a pathetic effort to tweak its bĂȘte noire, the US. Yet this is the colossus that has preoccupied the fevered minds of the American governing class since 8 November, 2016.

It is also a rather scathing commentary on Putin’s alleged strategic genius. There’s an old adage: never reinforce failure. Venezuela is a failure–and a failed state–on a grand scale. Yet perhaps thinking of his previous “investments” in the country, Putin reinforces this failure.

Succumbing to the sunk cost fallacy is hardly a sign of strategic genius.

Further, if Trump is in Putin’s thrall, why has Trump ramped up the pressure on the Maduro regime? Maybe Max Boot or Bill Kristol can enlighten us.

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  1. Well, let me be devil’s advocate for a moment: wasn’t Asad a failure in 2015? It certainly looked so, yet…

    I would advise caution here.

    Comment by LL — March 26, 2019 @ 8:40 pm

  2. @LL–Yeah. The victorious Assad. What a glorious achievement for Putin. Propping up a guy presiding over an utterly destroyed shithole. That’s exactly what I mean–wasting treasure and lives in a wasteland is a strategic error of the first magnitude. The US has done this in Afghanistan, but it can afford it far more than Russia can. So now Putin wants to add another ruined country to his list of allies. I say let him go for it. This is subtraction by addition.

    Comment by cpirrong — March 26, 2019 @ 9:11 pm

  3. Nice try shit-head. Putin sent the jew-run swine back home w their tails between their legs. Your analysis is about as good as your energy forecasts. Stop being such a kike-run faggot.

    Comment by Kent Winters — March 27, 2019 @ 4:08 am

  4. Assad may be presiding over an utterly destroyed shithole but the Russian troops are in Syria so the brave Netanyahu has to play kabuki showing up at the Russian propagandafest “Victory Day” and refraining from criticizing Russian robbery of Ukraine. So in turn, Ukraine refrains from supporting Trump and Israel in UN and so on.

    Russians should not be allowed to have any military outside their own borders. Their appearance in Venezuela calls for rapid and tough action. After all, if the US recognizes Guaido as legitimate President, they should follow this up.

    Comment by LL — March 27, 2019 @ 4:31 am

  5. Russia really don’t have the means to prop up Maduro in any significant sense – the odd plane-load of supplies is hardly going to tip the balance. The Chinese, on the other hand…

    Comment by David Mercer — March 27, 2019 @ 5:05 am

  6. “Russians should not be allowed to have any military outside their own borders. Their appearance in Venezuela calls for rapid and tough action.”

    I someone paying you to write this sort of boneheaded drivel?

    Comment by dearieme — March 27, 2019 @ 9:06 am

  7. “the US has done this in Afghanistan, but it can afford it far more than Russia can”

    Hmm, not sure I agree. Last time I checked the US had a budget deficit (with military expenditure a major driver), whereas Russia has had a balanced budget despite lower commodity Prices and Syria and Ukraine – I predict that 100 Troops in Venezuela won’t make a difference.
    Contrary to the US, they seem to conduct their militiary/geostrategic objectives with more Efficiency, they get more bang for their buck…

    I personally think that geostrategy is bullshit (and not worth the life of one Russian or US soldier), but if you think it is important (and the elected representatives in the land of the free as well as Putin definitely believe it is) then there is no denying that the Russian campain in Syria has been a Major success and “regime change” a failure…

    Comment by viennacapitalist — March 27, 2019 @ 11:28 am

  8. Presumably it’s in Russia’s interest that Venezuela can’t sell oil in the world markets. Presumably Russia can contribute to bringing this about if she has troops in Venezuela, and encourages the regime to continue in its merry marxist way. On the same logic the Saudis should send some troops too.

    Comment by dearieme — March 27, 2019 @ 2:37 pm

  9. Perhaps Putin is just taking a page out of the NKVD (KGB) library. In itself a pretty decent return if you can manage it and that is without factoring in the effect on oil production.

    Their Syrian involvement probaby has more to do with further prevention of additional oil/gas pipelines to Europe. Again not a bad ROI.

    Comment by Kristian Lande — March 28, 2019 @ 2:49 am

  10. “Their appearance in Venezuela calls for rapid and tough action.”

    And your plan is….?

    Comment by ColoComment — March 28, 2019 @ 10:45 am

  11. There is also the fact that Ukraine, previously divided almost down the middle between pro-Russian and pro-Western sentiment now looks dead-set against Russia (or at least Putin’s Russia). So Putin gains Crimea (“the sick cat of autonomous zones”, according to comedian John Oliver) with the associated temporary popularity boost and strong influence in some relatively poor (and now very unstable) parts of Eastern Ukraine in exchange for giving up the status of king-maker over a whole country that Russia sees as a key strategic buffer-country.

    Well, maybe he feels it’s worth it, but it certainly doesn’t seem like strategic genius to me… (No doubt he is extremely skilled, but like the Prof says, not to the mythical extent portrayed in the media).

    Comment by HibernoFrog — April 2, 2019 @ 2:47 am

  12. @HibernoFrog

    the Kremlin has been losing Ukraine slowly but steadily, as maintaining Russian levels of idiocy requires Russian levels of violence, which turned out not to be possible in Ukraine by methods other than military occupation. It was not for lack of trying: assassination of Chornovil, attempted assassination of Yushchenko, “gas wars” and other economic arm-twisting, attempted crackdown by Yanukovych (greetings to Paul Manafort), attepted “people’s republics” in half of Ukraine. Putin did not “give up the status” in exchange for the land grabs, he went for the land grabs after he lost the status (and after making sure Obama would be “more flexible”).


    Venezuela’s debt repayment ( lack thereof) to Russia will be classified. Problem solved.

    Comment by Ivan — April 3, 2019 @ 2:15 pm

  13. Meanwhile, a certain European exports champion is reportedly using all its diplomatic muscle this week to lift even the symbolic sanctions against Russia in the Council of Europe. It’s not about Putin, it’s about utter disregard for any and all basic principles by the political classes of the West.

    Comment by Ivan — April 8, 2019 @ 12:28 am

  14. @Ivan: I’m a bit late saying this, but thanks for that counterpoint about Ukraine. Very solid argument.

    Comment by HibernoFrog — April 12, 2019 @ 7:06 am

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