Russian death rattle to echo off Panamanian canal walls

Originally published by Mike gamecock DeVine as Legal Editor for The Minority Report

Many of the terminally ill that are diagnosed in time; physically fit to travel; and able to liquidate large amounts of their assets, cash in their pensions and throw one last blow out party before the Grim Reaper arrives. Some even take world tours and resort to risk-taking criminal behavior, given that either a life or death sentence would not be executed beyond the one already meted out by Mother Nature.

This is especially true of those without progeny to whom one’s treasure can be devised and bequeathed. All the better true if one can exact revenge against a long time nemesis.

Much of the press mistook Putin’s brazen Olympian exit for Beijing as Russian tanks rolled into Ossetian Georgia on behalf of the aggressor, as well as his warships’ maiden tour of the Lake that TR built as signs of a re-emergence of a strong Bear after a long hibernation. As usual, a Drive-By media, dying for stories to make a Republican Commander-in-Chief of America look bad, gets it wrong.

Putin’s Russia is dying, and many times those that haven’t lived well, die even worse.

Hence, the din of post-Georgian overreach, oil revenue-starved, nuclear proliferating, Russian warship, death rattle echoes off Panamanian canal walls.

Clearly, the world should be gravely concerned that Putin’s Russia has turned into Wal-Mart for oil-rich, terrorist-sponsoring rogue states planning for the day they run out of fossil fuels in the 22nd Century but still need to turn on a light bulb. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have been working to prevent nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union from falling into the hands of terrorists and their sponsors. Yet, Russia is doing much more proliferating in plain view what we feared might be done via theft or subterfuge.

Russia’s economy under near-Tsar Vladimir has been a basket case most of the past decade, interrupted briefly during the oil price run-up. It is absent even a basket since oil prices dropped and the U.S. economy caught cold and gave the world pneumonia.

The Drive-Bys and “realists” warned of a rejuvenated Russia and blamed it on a beach volleyball cheering Bush in Beijing. We heard that Russia would take Tbilisi and intimidate Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics from their NATO coziness given memories of tanks in their streets as they watched them roll in Ossetias, north and south, and given the energy pipeline with an off spigot. Instead, Russia is busy walling itself off, literally, from the west.

But the dying need money from oil or reactor sales to fund the penultimate oligarchical ball. And their neighbors, didn’t miss a beat getting all their leaders down to Georgia with Condi Rice with American warships in the harbors and aircraft on the runways. Finally, for the first time since Bobby Fischer to Boris Spassky, an American could say “Checkmate!” to a Russian.

Not even a Biden predicted generated crisis by a post-Election day Medvedev threat to put missiles near an SDI contracting Poland can hide the overreach. Bush dispatched his Secretary of State to seal the Polish Star Wars premier.

Russia poses a danger, but the danger is from a position of weakness, not strength. The only chance their much reduced military had of re-parking outside their present borders was if an American president were intimidated.

President George W. Bush was not intimidated.

It will be up to the new President to deal with the “commercial purpose” nuclear store in Moscow, but, compared to the American warships in Georgian ports that exposed Russian overreach, theirs in Venezuelan ports and Panama’s Canal barely broke waves.

Take note Mr. President-Elect, because the sounds of dogs that don’t bark, and bears that don’t growl are the lullaby that will let you sleep well past 3am.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson