You're absolutely right about climate change - I remember reading several years ago a cogent argument about how climate change was a major factor in causing the Syrian civil war, in that it ruined the livelihoods of so many farmers (and those they employed) who were then forced to migrate to cities like Damascus and Aleppo - they were in fact "climate refugees" that exacerbated the already- burgeoning refugee population from our illegal and insane invasion of Iraq.

I'd dearly love to visit Turkey - I've wanted to do so for many years, if only to visit the Hagia Sophia and (even more importantly) gaze at the Bosporus Strait that was so important to Darius, Xerxes, Alexander, and Rome itself both before and after the empire split in two (yeah, I like ancient history, and it doesn't get much more ancient than the Middle East). Oh, and visit the battlefield at Gallipoli if I can. Ataturk was quite a character, Turkey's answer to Churchill.

In regards to Russia, it appears Putin may have Parkinson's and will soon retire, and his influence, though strong, will diminish. I don't wish anything bad on anyone, but that development helps us in that he, as an ex-KGB colonel, hated America for our victory in the Cold War, and our reaction to the victory in which we essentially ridiculed them. On a side note, it probably didn't help that so many Russian women essentially became mail-order brides to fat and lonely American men.

Putin wanted to make America pay, and he did. I have to give him credit for installing a 'useful idiot' (on whom Putin almost certainly had 'kompromat') and nearly tearing America apart. Putin was probably the most dangerous opponent we've had since Brezhnev, and possibly since Stalin.

That being said, you're right that Russia will likely diminish as time goes on. Whoever takes over for Putin (once Putin's influence is weakened sufficiently) is unlikely to be as eager to return to the days of Soviet hegemony as Putin was. If the new Russian president is wise, he'll back off the military adventurism and make nice with NATO, since the EU (and to a lesser extent, America) is the only remaining real bulwark against the growing economic power and influence of China.

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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