Ian Fleming made a mistake. Hollywood corrected that mistake. Vladimir Putin learned from that mistake.
Ian Fleming was the man that created super-spy James Bond, and/or was the real life James Bond. In his book Goldfinger, Fleming’s plot involved criminal mastermind and gold dealer Auric Goldfinger breaking into and stealing the gold from Fort Knox in the most audacious robbery in world history. It was an impractical idea on the part of Fleming’s Mr. Goldfinger. When Hollywood produced the follow-up to the sensational first James Bond movie Dr. No, Hollywood corrected Fleming’s error.
The movie Goldfinger explains in detail why the theft of all the gold from Fort Knox is not feasible. Then the Hollywood movie dream makers perfected the plot for Fleming and gave Auric Goldfinger a truly genius plan:
Hooray for Hollywood! The producers of Goldfinger realized, and had the James Bond character in the film explain, that the weight of all that gold was near impossible to transport especially in the time it would take for American security forces to make him put it back. The amount and weight of all the gold in Fort Knox would take too long to load into transports and the weight would require a great many transports capable of carrying all that gold. So Hollywood came up with the answer that works.
Auric Goldfinger in the movie owns a lot of gold. Mr. Goldfinger, in a plan only the scam artist accountants in Hollywood could devise, did not need to literally steal all the gold in Fort Knox to make a financial killing. All Auric Goldfinger had to do was put the gold of Fort Knox out of commission.
That was the genius of “Operation Grand Slam” as Goldfinger named his maniacal plan. Goldfinger’s plan was to explode a nuclear device in Fort Know which would render the gold in Fort Knox radioactive. With the gold in Fort Knox made useless the value of Goldfinger’s gold would rise in price exponentially.
Vladimir Putin understands the value of Goldfinger’s “Operation Grand Slam”. That’s what Vladimir Putin is up to with his Corleone family style move into the middle east.
Smart and strong. Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader is so smart and so strong. Even when Putin pulls down his pants and exposes himself many cannot see what he is up to.
Vladimir Putin is implementing “Operation Grand Slam” on a worldwide basis. What many mistake for weakness, what many mistake as a mistake, is Putin as Auric Goldfinger.
What is Putin’s version of “Operation Grand Slam”? Putin will bring down the oil producers in competition with Russia and thereby make Russia master of energy.
Many of our brightest don’t see what Vladimir Putin is up to. They presume that Putin’s move into Syria and the middle east is about making Russia a player in the middle east once again, or about allies or about something or other, other than what it is.
Other of our brightest declare that whatever Putin is up to he is too weak to carry out his plan. Here’s the conventional wisdom of the smart set that have never seen Godfather movies or Goldfinger:
Putin’s Economic Might Is Withering Away [snip]
Across the Russian economy, businesses have shelved investment plans, worried that the ruble might extend its decline if oil prices slide further and that geopolitical tensions could bring new economic headwinds.
The prospect of a prolonged slump is a challenge for the Kremlin, which has relied on rising living standards to boost popular support, as well as foreign investors, who have bet billions on Russia as a growth market.
For the moment, the Kremlin has been dialing back the tensions in Ukraine, which could lead to an easing of the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe over the crisis there.
Russian officials say the economy has hit bottom; business executives are unpersuaded. Capital investment declined 6 percent in the first eight months of this year. Many companies have cash – corporate profits are up 38 percent this year, boosted mainly by the drop in the ruble – they just aren’t ready to spend it.
“Businessmen and ordinary people have formed strong negative expectations,” says former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, compounding the impact of sanctions and the plunge in oil prices. “That induces capital outflows and leads to greater economic contraction.”
Even if the economy recovers in the next few years, growth will be so slow that Russia’s share of world output will still shrink to the lowest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union, erasing the gains of President Vladimir Putin’s 15-year rule, he says.
Already, budget pressures forced the government to cut or delay parts of the 20-trillion-ruble military modernization that Putin has made a top priority in his drive to rebuild Russia’s global might.
The premise of the bright set is that Putin has taken more than he can chew. The mistaken premise is that Russia is weak and weakening and Putin is only making it worse.
We’ll stipulate that the Russian economy is in the toilet and circling. We’ll agree that Vladimir Putin has done some pretty nervy moves. Putin’s decisive moves into the Middle East are analogous to weak Germany’s move into the Rhineland as the Western powers stood by watching, doing nothing. But all the weakness of the Russian economy is icing on the cake for strong Vladimir Putin’s “Operation Grand Slam.”
Some analysts don’t see the genius of Vladimir Putin’s “Operation Grand Slam” but they get closer to the strategy:
Three facts motivate Putin. First, two regions utterly dominate world oil markets. The Middle East and Russia together ship 60 percent of all oil traded (45 and 15 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, American firms are by law prohibited from engaging in this vital global marketplace; more on this shortly.
Second, oil matters. It provides 97 percent of the global fuel needs for all the engines that transport everything on land, sea and air. No viable substitutes exist at any price for liquid hydrocarbons at the scale society needs. And the world will consume more oil, not less, as far into the future as it matters for sensible policymaking.
Finally, price matters. Here the U.S. has upset the apple cart. Entrepreneurs using new technologies have unlocked a shocking increase in oil supply. U.S. shale fields have recorded the fastest increase in oil production in history. As a result, crude prices have collapsed from north of $100 to south of $50 a barrel. The emerging consensus? Cheaper oil is the new normal.
Imagine if that 45 percent of middle eastern oil was somehow destroyed or made unusable. Russia’s 15 percent would rise like Goldfinger’s dream.
Syria? Syria is an oil producer but that’s not the strategic importance for strong and smart Putin. Syria is a transit hub pipeline for European oil and gas markets.
The more obvious Vladimir Putin is, the less weak leaders in the West see what he is up to. It’s not about territory ladies and gentlemen. Vladimir Putin does not rely on any of the nonsense formulas the West’s leaders think Putin needs.
So what exactly is Vladimir Putin up to? Putin has moved into Syria. Putin has sent his best troops into Syria. But those are feints. Those are tactics. Diversionary tactics. The real aim of Putin’s “Operation Grand Slam” is the destruction of oil supplies and for that Vladimir Putin only needs one country and one person.
Vladimir Putin needs Iran and Barack Obama.
Iran is an oil producer. Iran also hates, for religious, political, and financial reasons, the powerhouse oil producer monarchies across the Persian Gulf. There is nothing Iran would like better than to take over or destroy the Gulf state monarchies. Enter Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin is in Syria to block pipelines to Europe that in future might compete with Russian exports to Europe.
Vladimir Putin is in the middle east for the same reason Auric Goldfinger went to Fort Knox.
All Vladimir Putin needs and wants is for middle eastern oil flows to blow up. That’s “Operation Grand Slam” Putin style.
Putin now has a presence in the middle east. Putin also has a partner in the middle east – Iran. There’s just one other tool Putin needs to make “Operation Grand Slam”.
Putin needs Barack Obama. Putin has Barack Obama.
Whether because he is incomparably incompetent or willfully treacherous Barack Obama is Vladimir Putin’s greatest ally. We believe Barack Obama is willfully treacherous because no one can be that stupid and useless.
Yes, western weakness helps Putin. But, Putin militarily attacking American “allies” in the middle east is a tactical diversion. The middle east adventure is not Afghanistan for Russia. And no, it’s not just about oil prices:
The more he can entrench himself in the Middle East, the more he can exert control over energy markets. With Iran and Iraq in his sphere he can begin to force Europe to rely on him again for supplies.
Prolonged war in the Middle East would serve Putin’s interests perfectly. The deeper and more widespread the conflict, the more world oil and gas prices are likely to rise, helping him stage an economic recovery at home and render the sanctions useless.
That last excerpt is the best understanding of what Putin is up to. But it still falls short. Putin’s “Operation Grand Slam” is about destroying the competition.
Get rid of the Saudis and the gulf oil states and Auric Goldfinger’s master plan to control gold becomes Vladimir Putin’s brilliant control of black gold.
Last Wednesday Vladimir Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday. No need to get Putin a belated gift.
In 2008 Vladimir Putin got the greatest gift any despot could want: Barack Obama.
None of Vladimir Putin’s plans could ever have worked without weak punk Barack Obama. When “Operation Grand Slam” hits, when the gulf oil states collapse, when Russia becomes a one country OPEC, don’t credit Vladimir Putin. Barack Obama treachery will be to blame.