I know who I’m contacting for my next AK-47 variant. Vladimir Putin is stepping up Russia’s arms business in the wake of increased volatility throughout the Middle East. Apparently the Bond villain in Moscow realized that relying on America to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars – for a few spontaneously-combusting rocket engines – isn’t a good long-term strategy for Russian military funding.
Vlad has done a fairly decent job of rejuvenating Russia’s lagging arms sales business. And, let’s be honest, weaponry should be among the former Soviet Union’s largest export. Heck, the AK-47 is the world’s most widely recognized (and worshiped) firearm. But Putin isn’t exactly concerned with revenue… Or value. He’s a whole lot more concerned with how Russia’s arms transactions cement his position in geo-political relations.
Second only to America, Russia has roughly 26 percent of the global arms market. (That’s a lot of AK’s and T-72 tanks.) In 2013 the Kremlin raked in roughly 13 billion dollars by selling weapon technologies to nations like Iran, Syria, and China… So yeah, this is great news for the West. Right?
Russia has a strong interest in selling arms to the Syrian government. After all, Bashar Al Assad not only pays his bills on time (dictators tend to be a little obsessive compulsive about things like that), but he has helped to expand Russia’s influence throughout the unstable Middle East.
More importantly, Putin has seen an opportunity to strengthen his ties with both Syria and Iran as the Obama Administration trudges through improvised “strategies” to deal with the Islamic State. While Obama has been concentrating on his golf game, Putin has managed to strengthen Assad’s defense against an uprising, while simultaneously reinforcing his ties with Tehran. In short: While Obama has been pitching talking points, Putin has been selling guns.
And he’s not exactly selling them to people that like us.
Unfortunately, Putin’s growing clout in the Middle East is compounded by the Obama Administration’s penchant for relegating America to a peripheral character in world events. Obama’s foreign policy has been conducted with an apparent (and ignorant) belief that the rest of the world is currently pursuing peace and harmony with their neighbors and the international community. Vladimir’s view of the world is, regrettably, more in line with reality: The world is a harsh place, full of conflicting national interests.
The Obama Administration is engaged as amateurs against a geopolitical Bond-villain… The Kremlin is waging a war of international manipulation against a feckless American administration intent on “leading from behind”.
Contrary to the insulated world of liberal-elite academics, the rest of the world does not conduct itself in accordance with the progressive notion of how it should behave. Obama Inc can pontificate, bloviate, and tweet all the platitudes they want; but in the end, nations willing to use force will be the ones that forge world events in the 21st century. And those just happen to be the nations that Putin hopes to sell some guns to in the coming years.
Russia’s Middle East customer base has become a staple in the Kremlin’s geo-political strategy. And, for good reason: They’re dependable customers, and their hatred for Western style democracy seems to be fueling the market’s demand.