John Ransom

As NATO meets to develop a new strategy to follow up with their Obama-led non-strategy on Russia, perhaps they should ponder what the old, successful strategy with Russia was that served NATO so well.

“On the one hand,” said the blueprint that helped beat back the Russian threat during the Cold War, NSC 68, “the people of the world yearn for relief from the anxiety arising from the risk of… war. On the other hand, any substantial further extension of the area under the domination of the Kremlin would raise the possibility that no coalition adequate to confront the Kremlin with greater strength could be assembled.”

Out of that statement was crafted one of the most successful blueprints for beating an opponent logistically – without resort to out and out war. It was in containment, as described in National Security Council paper number 68, that the free world mapped out how to beat the Soviet Union’s probing, opportunistic expansion of their evil empire.

Today has many similarities with the conditions that were found in 1950 when NSC 68 was published. Today Russia still has a fragile, resource rich economy controlled by a few for a few benefactors. In relative terms, the economy of Russia is small in comparison to the rest of the industrialized West. Russia’s economy of $2 trillion is about 12 percent of that of the United States. Or to put it another way, 143 million Russians produce about the same amount of goods and services as the 38 million people of California, or the 20 million people of New York.

Russia still has difficulty producing enough to satisfy it’s own citizenry—in even basics like food.

“Although the Russian Federation has one of the largest areas of arable land per capita in the world,” reports FT.com in wake of the Russian ban on Western imports of food last month “the country relies on imports for up to 40 per cent of its food supplies.”

In 2009, Russia produced about $19 billion in agriculture products. In 2012, California, in comparison, produced $42 billion in agriculture products. California could, in fact, feed all of Russia, while Russia can’t event feed 60 percent of its citizens.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.