Igor Panarin: the Russian STRATFOR

by Joshua Foust on 12/29/2008 · 7 comments

The Wall Street Journal has finally picked up the amusingly insane ramblings of Professor Igor Panarin, a “U.S.-Russian relations expert” who has gotten Brangelina levels of attention in Russian state media for his dire predictions of an American disintegration and collapse.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.

“It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time.” A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. “It’s not there for no reason,” he says with a sly grin.

Well I know I’m glad that my parents will soon be in the EU while Barack Obama’s family will finally be proven the Muslim-foreigners we always knew them to be and America’s lease on Alaska will finally come to a noble end.

But think about what this says about how the Russian establishment is trying to frame the U.S. It’s not scary per se, but it is really funny. Because what do you say to such a things? When a man calls you a tomato sandwich, you don’t calmly explain the many ways you are not a tomato sandwich—you laugh and maybe stroke his hair and put him back on the short bus.

But Russia isn’t alone in producing this insane rubbish: the U.S., for example, has Stratfor. We Americans have our own crazies to ignore as well.

Meanwhile: There are growing indications South Ossetia is turning into an embarrassment for the Kremlin, as the government is riddled with allegations of corruption and an ineffective president. Rumors of social unrest abound. Naturally, President Eduard Kokoity blames all the criticism on those well-known “pro-Georgian forces in Russia” that are out to discredit the South Ossetian state.

And let’s nor forget that Russia has its own troubles. The tumbling indicators in Russia’s financial system predate the U.S. financial crisis, and their start even predates the Russo-Georgian war (though the war accelerated the decline). Now the government is devaluing the rouble as it hits multi-year lows against the Euro. Most of the blame for this can be placed on falling energy prices, which have artificially propped up the Russian economy for some time. Eight devaluations later (in this month alone!), the rouble continues to lose relative value against other global currencies.

One could almost call it an American problem. Nah. That’d be crazy.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Dr Doc (dlcs) December 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Dr Doc © (dlcs) has as of today, given donations to the state to help prevent a Chineese take over.
You may also be interested to learn that Dr Doc © (dlcs) will purchase google, yahoo, cnn, fox news, and msnbc in July of 2009. Vice is nice, but yeast infections itch.

TCHe December 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Ooh, we’ll get the East Coast? Niiiice!

But don’t worry, future compatriots! If I’ll ever assume command of the European Armed Forces, I’ll liberate the rest of CONUS from the shackles of North-East-Southern aggression!

I actually trained for exactly THIS scenario using the U.S.A. War Zone Map in Lux Delux. That makes me at least as qualified as Professor Panarin for he obviously got the idea from that game.

Let’s just hope he won’t discover Battlefield 2142!

(Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Stan December 29, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Priceless post! Btw, I think Russian crazies are waaay juicier than American ones, if comparable at all. The sad thing is, I think Russians feed off that sort of garbage, while Americans prefer less galvanizing issues to engage themselves in, for various and debatable reasons.

Robert E. Wright December 29, 2008 at 6:33 pm

I’ve just sent a letter to the WSJ challenging Panarin to an even money wager, one oz. of gold, that he is wrong. I also put it up on my blog: http://financehistoryandpolicy.blogspot.com/

I think the only way to get people with outlandish yet unprovable ideas to back down is to try to get them to put their money where their mouths are.

Patton December 31, 2008 at 1:46 am

I have trouble with confined spaces, so I commented about this on my blog: http://mehwtf.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/run-scurry-flee-the-end-is-near/

BTW, Stan, depends on what crazies you’re talking about. The crazies here can be pretty juicy. Ever read “Left Behind”? Tell me that’s not crazy. And gay marriage et al. aren’t galvanizing? Really?

Horin January 1, 2009 at 3:08 am

As a Japanese, I’m very glad that Hawaii will finally be under our sphere of influence since the attack of Pearl Harbor. Hahaha…

Put aside stupid joking, Japan is still struggling to get out of economic mess which is gaining momentum in the middle of the current global financial turmoil. So some Japanese may consider to get into the US as the 51st state, which must also be the worst nightmare for Americans. Hahaha…

Jim February 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Well, we have people here claiming that Europe will have a muslim majority (read: non-white) within 40 years. Same with Paul Goble about Russia. Just take questionable statistics, exaggerate them, extrapolate them into the future, and voila! A perfect, alarming, crazy theory. This could be their way of saying “two can play that game.”

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