Thursday, August 14, 2008

If there can be an upside.....

The BEAR is back. The Russian BEAR that is.

I have always been interested in geography. One of my college professors instructed that geography is more than just knowing where countries and geological features are in the world, but also is the study of those region's natural resources, climates and even political make-up to some degree.

Russia (during my college years it was the Soviet Union) has tremendous natural resources - primarily oil, natural gas, gold and timber. There are bountiful others but these are the biggies for this debate.

The Soviet Union was inefficient at tapping these resources primarily due to their inept government structure. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of market driven capitalism, there was incentive for, not only the new government but also private businesses, to invest in exploring and utilizing these resources. Russia isn't reliant on foreign sources of energy.

During the time since the fall of the Soviet empire, the United States has seen a reversal of sorts take place that, when juxtaposed against the NEW Russia, is daunting. Let me explain:

While Russia was experiencing capitalism, low taxes (they have a flat rate income tax of 13%) and a positive business climate, the US has seen a tremendous growth in government. We have created a huge entitlement state and have proceeded to limit free-market driven investments in energy resources. From the moratorium on oil and natural gas exploration to the moratorium on new nuclear reactors to the moratorium against recycling nuclear fuel to the increased regulations on business and industry that is growing everyday due to the global warming alarmism - we are like the inept Soviet state.

Neutered, if you will, by "Political Correctness" and by a small but vocal minority in America that is calling for carbon tax & trade, no nuclear expansion and don't even think about drilling in ANWR or off our coasts!

This latest Russian move is a power-play. The Russian leaders and the proud Russian people desire to once again be a major global force as they were under the old Marxist empire. This time, however, they are building their might, not through fear as during the Cold War era, but through cagey capitalistic approaches to wealth creation and energy independence.

If there can be an upside for the U. S. in the unforgivable Russian aggression towards Georgia it would be in how Americans begin looking at our own country again. With the Russian Bear gaining in global power once more, maybe - just maybe - the vocal liberal minority and environmentalists who have stymied progressive approaches to energy independence will gain some American pride again.

If we are to solve this energy crisis, deal with a weak economy and the dramatic reduction in American manufacturing, we need an increasing sense in American pride. This applies, too, to our struggles against Islamic terrorists and pride in our military.

If we don't wake up quickly here in America to what is happening, we may soon find ourselves a good ways down the list in world power and influence rankings.