Cracks are showing in Russia’s leadership as a slowdown in the economy is beginning to cause rifts at the heart of the government, with one academic telling CNBC on Thursday that the economy poses the biggest threat to the country’s leadership.
Richard Edgar Pipes, professor of Russian History at Harvard University, told CNBC that there was a danger that prolonged weakness in the economy could harm Putin, whose popularity among the Russian electorate has been waning for some time.
Putin’s Popularity Wanes as Russia’s Boom Ends
Revolution in China: Slowing growth could cause more internal instability
The Chinese economy, widely seen until the last few weeks as the strongest remaining locomotive that could drag the global economy back from the brink of recession, showed a second month of anemic growth in May and performed even worse than the already lowered expectations of most economists.
Chinese Economy Shows a Second Month of Anemic Growth – NYTimes.com
When your economic model is heavily based on exports, and your export market is falling apart, then one should not be surprised that cracks start appearing in the economy. Attempting to stimulate local consumption is probably not going to work in the short term.
Let me put an alternative hypothesis. America in 2011 is Rome in 200AD or Britain on the eve of the first world war: an empire at the zenith of its power but with cracks beginning to show.
The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working. The high levels of violent crime, epidemic of obesity, addiction to pornography and excessive use of energy may be telling us something: the US is in an advanced state of cultural decadence.
Empires decline for many different reasons but certain factors recur. There is an initial reluctance to admit that there is much to fret about, and there is the arrival of a challenger (or several challengers) to the settled international order. In Spain’s case, the rival was Britain. In Britain’s case, it was America. In America’s case, the threat comes from China.
Decline and fall of the American empire
Beware the instability in the Middle East, including Iran. This could be one reason to hasten war in the Middle East in order to refocus people’s attention.
There are growing indications that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing his second epic struggle to stay in power since the 2009 popular riots against his election – with his back to the wall. Even the secretive revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran has been unable to conceal the widening fissures in Iran’s ruling elite.
Widening cracks in Iranian president’s grip on power « Global Intelligence Center
Originally posted on Jan. 4, 2011