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Why Did Putin Call US 'Probably World's Only Superpower'?

This certainly wasn’t meant as a compliment

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

What is the difference between a superpower and a great power? The number of nuclear warheads? GDP? The size of the military budget? The amount of territory controlled? Not at all. The difference is that a great power accepts the right of other countries to be independent, while the superpower wants to put the whole globe under its colors.

Let’s take two classic superpowers of the past – the USSR and the USA. The Soviet Union intended to set up communism all over the world, the United States wanted capitalism and democracy under the US. Since the two things could not happen simultaneously, relations between the superpowers were extremely tense, and we probably only managed to prevent  World War III thanks to nuclear weapons.

<figcaption>Putin at the recent Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum</figcaption>
Putin at the recent Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum

In the 1980’s, Mikhail Gorbachev did not just voluntarily give up the status of superpower, but decided to inject toxic Western ideology into Soviet reality. This poison led to the the inevitable: in 1991, the USSR collapsed.   

Russia did not just lose its superpower status, but dropped off the list of great powers for a while. In the 1990’s we were a weak regional state, a status that did not correspond to our size and our possibilities.
Looking ahead, history hates great disparities:  if we hadn’t restored our great power status in the 2000’s, the US would continue to ruin Russia, and now there would be several small conflicting countries instead of a strong state.

After the USSR broke up, there was only one superpower on the planet. The American goal remained the same: to bring the whole world under its trademark ‘democracy’. But it soon turned out that they should have learned a lesson from the collapse of the Soviet Union – that the difference between the winner and loser in the Cold War wasn’t as big as it might have seemed at the beginning.

It turned out that the status of superpower was a respected, but money-losing proposition. The US had to maintain an army, spend huge resources to promote its ideology, lean on many countries on a daily basis.

And if previously those countries had been divided into two camps, according to American terminology, ‘the first world’ (capitalistic) and ‘the second world’ (socialistic), now the division went along a border that was less profitable for the US. Americans found themselves alone in a camp with a few small dependent countries, while all the large, strong countries belonged to the second camp.

There is a law of diplomacy: unify to defend against the strong and aggressive, because they are dangerous.

Now let’s look at the statement Vladimir Putin made at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Among other important things the president uttered words that shocked many bloggers:

American is a great power. Today, probably, the only superpower. We accept that. We want to and are ready to work with the United States. Elections are going to take place, there will be a head of state with huge powers. There are complex domestic political and economic processes going on in the USA. The world needs strong nations, like the US. But we don’t need them constantly getting mixed up in our affairs, telling us how to live, preventing Europe from building a relationship with us.

Translating that diplomatic language:

Dear Europeans, Americans consider themselves a superpower. They are ready to assign you a role of their tax paying vassals, not more. Russia does not and will not interfere your affairs; we are building a multi-polar world, and are ready to work with you on equal terms.

While we learned the bitter lessons of the decline of the USSR, Americans keep falling into the same trap as the Soviet Union.

Russia offers peaceful, equal relations. Do you want to legalize human-animal marriages or set up an absolute monarchy? We may not approve of that, but we wouldn’t express our disapproval out loud. We don’t interfere in your domestic policy, do what you want in your country. If you behave correctly and observe international agreements, our countries will be friends.

The United States offers unconditional submission and a perverted ideology – ritual gay-parades, pro-American policies, involvement in international punitive operations and so on: a far less attractive alternative.

If the USSR was ready to thank every African prince who respected the ideals of Marxism, now the United States has to dedicate huge resources to implement their ideas all over the world. The louder the US declares its tolerance, the more other countries look to the bastions of reason and stability – Russia and China, for example.  

Even such a powerful state as the US became after World War II, doesn’t have endless resources. Now, in 2016, Americans are running out of  force to solve either domestic, or foreign policy problems: they are already overstretched.

If Donald Trump comes to power in November, he will probably make a deliberate decision  to give up the status of superpower, dispossess the oligarchs of the Obama/Clinton camp, focus on the economy and undergo the inevitable crisis without catastrophic losses. If Americans continue to fight for world dominance to their last breath, the fate of the last superpower will be more tragic than that of the next to last.

Source: Live Journal
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