Opinion: (Leon Aron, American Enterprise Institute): “The system that Putin forged in the early 2000s is all but exhausted and is driving the country toward a dead end. It must be radically reformed, or better yet, discarded. But how can it be gotten rid of with its creator back in control?
“In the early years of this century, oil exports accounted for one-third of the state budget; today they constitute one-half. At this point, the country’s budget could be balanced only if the price of oil were to rise above $125 a barrel.
“If it continues on its current path, Russia is headed toward becoming a petro-state, with all the problems such systems spawn: pervasive corruption, sharp income differentiation, a lack of social mobility, a decline in scientific and technological progress, and increased control of the economy by government monopolies.
“The cure for this systemic and increasingly acute malaise is well known: modernization. Both Medvedev and Putin have uttered that word hundreds of times, but they have failed to embrace what it would mean in Russia: impartial courts, honest and competent bureaucracies, a truly uncensored press, free and fair elections at all levels of government, de-monopolization of key sectors of the economy and a reduction of state control of the economy.
“The United States must prepare for all manner of destabilizing developments in the world’s other nuclear superpower. We should also be ready for greater truculence in Russia’s relations with the West and greater assertiveness with regard to the former Soviet republics, which it still considers part of its ‘sphere of influence.’
“Russia is entering rough waters, and the world will feel the turbulence.”
My Comment: All the countries, including the U.S., will make waves in their own way because they do not want to understand the plan of nature to unite and instead, they go against it. We are yet to see whose behavior does more damage to the world as America also continues to head to a dead end.