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August 21, 2014

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HOW SUPERPOWERS FIGHT: History does tend to repeat itself. After the near war over Cuba resulting in Russia backing down the rules for the Nuclear Powers basically became better understood: whichever has a physical presence in a conflict cannot be directly engaged by the other. These rules were followed in Vietnam where in the US actually began with "advisors" consisting of CIA and special forces helping South Vietnam fight the N Vietnam and Viet Cong. Russia and China then exploited their geographical advantage to support the US rivals whom we killed by the thousands as the war escalated. The US contributed to their advantage by offering them safe haven in Laos and Cambodia. Over time the economic and political price paid off and the US wore down. Many years later the US used the same strategy to support the fighters in Afghanistan who operated out of the safe haven of Pakistan. Most notable of the US allies was Bin Laden. Eventually the economic and political toll on the Soviets ended the was and the US withdrew and Afghanistan fell under the control of the Taliban and Bin Laden. We now have replaced the Soviets and Al Qaeda's forces and Taliban operate from quasi safe havens in Pakistan. Economics and politics have brought us to the point of retreat. Putin quickly moved into Georgia and the US under GWB barely protested. Then, he took Crimea and the President barely cared as he committed a $1B token support for the Ukrainian government. Now, we seem surprised the Putin has flooded Ukraine with special forces who fight with the separatists and admitted to be there as nationalists (advisors). Their presence keeps the US out of the territory and we now protest in a contest of sanctions. So the rules are the same: we do not engage in direct conflict no matter what. I hope that Putin and Obama have read the play book written in 1973.

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