Yes some of the infighting within the power elites of Russia will no doubt spill over into America on a more noticeable and regular basis with the changing of the visa regime between the two countries. We can expect more stories of Russian oligarchs, their lavish lifestyles and unorthodox business practices appearing more frequently in our media much like they currently grace Britain’s tabloids.
The story behind these stories will be driven by Vladimir Putin and his boyars and their current strategy of focusing on developing stronger and better ties with the business and financial power players in the West, e.g., recent courting of and agreements with Exxon-Mobil, Ford, Microsoft, etc., while at same time, targeting foreign NGOs and human rights transnational organizations for derision and accusations of interference in Russia’s domestic affairs and acting as agents of foreign governments and intelligence services.
How successful Putin and his circle of Boyars will be in their current tacking to the West ‘s business elites is an open question, the interplay of domestic and foreign players will be key to how well Putin can handle increasing criticism at home and promote Russia’s economic model abroad. ( For analysis of that model see our own State Department analysis in Wikileaks and for an analysis of how politics makes strange bedfellows see the review of Robert Services’ new Spies and Commissars.)
But there is another dimension to the KGB vs KGB Wars coming to America, and that is the increasing Balkanization and interagency warfare which is taking place within our own national security and law enforcement agencies, and how it all very much resembles the breakdown which occurred within the Soviet security apparatus: the dispersal and dilution of power and authority, agencies having their core missions dispersed and diluted across multiple competing agencies, breakdown of auditing and oversight of agencies’ operating procedures and work product, an over reliance on magic words and managerial mantras in place of common sense and competence, the emergence of a private sector heavily manned by former intelligence and law enforcement officials who have an unchecked and potentially disproportionately powerful influence in determining national security issues and decisions. All of which raises a disturbing possibility and question:
Will there be, who will be, America’s Putin?
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