Four months before the Boston Bombing I wrote Four Places You Have Not Heard Of. Yet., which contained a map that showed three of the four ‘frozen conflicts’ from the collapse of the Soviet Union, all in the Caucasus. These are Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. The Marathon day bombing renewed the world’s acquaintance with Chechnya.
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The U.S. adventure in Iraq was driven by a militarist, neo-conservative obsession with ‘cleaning up’ the last of what had been the Soviet Union’s client states in the Mideast. Instead of extending and solidifying American influence we overreached and bled out in Afghanistan just as the Soviet Union did. But don’t see this new Russian assertiveness as the rebirth of that old foe. Communism died by disproof via counter-example. What is happening now are the stirrings of two hundred years of Romanov Imperial Russia that preceded the Soviet Union’s seventy five year experiment. This new rising force ought to be a bit mercantilist in temperament, with natural gas and oil being tools of statecraft.