Dear US State Department; ok, we get it. Vladimir Putin is a secret, David Icke-like reptilian, a reincarnation of Prince Vlad Draco, bathes in acid baths, eats powdered human bones sprinkled on his borscht, drops LSD on the sugar cubes he sips his nice black Russian chai through, and is, basically, an evil crypto-Communist neo-Stalinist oligarchical thug intent on invading weak neighbors like south Ossetia and stirring things up in the peaceful, mind-its-own-business, western-backed-civilian-shooting-no-Neo-Nazis-here-and-so-what-if-there-were-it-doesn't-matter Ukraine. Victoria Nuland had an unfortunate lapse in her otherwise lady-like discrete discourse and diction, which was brought about by frustration over the evil crypto-Communist neo-Stalinist oligarchical former-Komitet Gosvudasrtvennoy Bezhopaznosti thug Putin. Fortunately, the always truthful font of morality and decency Zbgnw Brzznsk, who overcame a lifetime of vowel depradation, rode in to save the day, ordering up the usual cure: a soupcon of private covert ops, NGOs, and mercenaries, with bows to the usual gloss to appear legitimate and peaceful: by imposing sanctions.... we get it.
Now, if the scenario were to appear in a movie, we'd all laugh at the clownish insanity of it; it's the sort of gum-chewing, back-slapping, America-rides-in-to-save-the-day stuff that makes World War One and World War Two American propaganda and history books so nauseatingly predictable, and .... surreal. All the other players on the geopolitical stage are just there to play their part, and make America look good. France, the UK, Italy, Russia, Serbia contributed nothing to winning World War One: we saved everything. And certainly the good ole USA could have won WW2 against the pipsqueak Hitler on its own, single-handedly; Russia contributed nothing but headaches. And the UK, Canada, the rest of the British Commonwealth, the Dutch, the Chinese? Well, they were along for the ride, but really, they didn't do very much.
Except... sometimes not everyone is willing to play their scripted parts. Russia was playing it well under the perpetually drunk Yeltsin... not so well under Putin. In fact, Russia lately has been showing up on the stage with its own script, not the one written in Pocantico, London, New York, and Washington, and certainly not the one being written in Zbgnw Brzznsk's vowelless mind. The most recent example, of course, was when, in response to the West's sanctions, Russia's state Duma passed a law, which Mr. Putin quickly signed, requiring western credit card companies, if they wished to continue to do business in Russia, to create a Russia-based system of clearing independent of the whole London-New York system revolving around CHIPS and SWIFT and operational payment centers outside of Russia. And just to make sure everyone got the "Point", Russia announced it was going ahead with its own credit card and payment system anyway, regardless of what the two big western credit card companies did.
Well.... guess what?
Visa and Mastercard think it's a good idea:
Granted, a national payment operator system based in Russia is not nearly the same thing as CHIPS or SWIFT, but it's a start.
But let's look at the script here: if the evil former-KGB oligarchical necro-cannibalistic crypto-Communist neo-Stalinist thug Putin(thank you so much, Washington DC and American lamestream media, for letting us know this monster's true designs!) is truly intent on re-creating the Evil Soviet Empire, then he will need - as I've been arguing - to create such systems of domestic and international financial clearing, and being the evil former-KGB oligarchical necro-cannibalistic crypto-Communist neo-Stalinist typically Russian Byzantine schemer and plotter that he is, he will be sneaky and stealthy about it. He will first manipulate the always-well-intentioned USA - which only uses Nazis out of necessity mind you, like when it needs big shiny German rockets to get to the Moon ahead of the evil always-Stalinist Russians in their big shiny German rockets, or bombard evil, always-Stalinist Russia with said rockets - into imposing sanctions, which he will then cleverly respond to by imposing laws requiring western credit card companies either to leave evil-credit-card-opposing always-Stalinist Russia, or, if it wants to continue doing its meager business in evil-credit-card-opposing crypto-Communist always-Stalinist Russia, it can damn well do it after it agrees to build a Russia-based operational payments clearing center, which, incidentally, in his ever-inscrutable but-always-inclined-to-evil-crypto-Byzantine-and-typically-scheming-and-plotting Russian ways, would be a nifty way to get his hands on all that wonderful managerial clearing technique and technology to handle massive amounts of electronic financial clearing in order to establish international competition for his own credit cards, and international financial clearing.
....sigh... and I know that inevitably there will be some people - I hear by email from them all the time, who really believe that one huge overarching macro-conspiracy of bankers runs it all, and that Mr. Putin really is playing his script, just as it is dictated to him by London and Pocantico and New York and Washington, or, in its latest and silliest incarnation, from the Vatican and the evil Jesuits.
They have to believe that, you see, because the alternative - that the Western oligarchical and technocratic leadership really is that colossally stupid, and committing such egregious financial and geopolitical blunders with incalculable long-term repercussions, none of them very good for the UK or USA - is really too dire to contemplate.
See you on the flip side...