Book 2 Chapter 155

I had missed having an opportunity to talk with Russia President Orbatch at the G20 meeting. He was hustled away quickly before any of the others left.
I read the report on Russia first; it was on top of the pile – it read like an obituary. After the loss of the carriers, things had gone downhill for Russia. The blow to the treasury was only the beginning.
The following year the locust devastated the wheat and corn crops. As a result there was little bread. Millions of cattle starved or were slaughtered early because the locusts had stripped the hay and grass. It was a situation that would take nearly a decade to overcome under the best of conditions.
Those conditions didn’t happen the following year; the seven year drought made an appearance and kept coming back. More cattle and hogs starved and slaughtered. The cheap beef and pork prices in Moscow would be short lived then no beef, pork, lamb or chicken.
The masses left the countryside for the Russian cities where there was at least rationed food. Many fell into the trap of the Russian mafia.
The government was unable to buy food and food stocks off the international markets. The treasury was empty, looted by decades of corruption. Industrialization was grinding to a halt.
There was a rush to find where the money was. The favored Russian oligarchs – many under the thumb of Putin – had grown fabulously wealthy as had he. When Putin died many of the oligarchs started disappearing, taking their wealth with them. Others started dying as mysteriously as he had.
They knew what a political power struggle in Russia could bring when the masses were hungry and looking for someone to blame. The rich were always easy to blame and targets for both the masses and the power brokers. It was time to get out of Dodge.
The gold, diamond and silver mines fell on hard times – more was being sold on the black market than through the markets for the treasury. Oil and coal was no different. It took money for payroll, parts and fuel, but the money was gone. Workers weren’t paid. First it was one week, the next time it was two weeks, and then it was over a month.
Gas, oil and coal rationing had started eighteen months ago.
History had a way of repeating itself in Russia. With every change of power, people died.
When Lenin died and Stalin took over, millions disappeared and continued to disappear. The Great War changed the victims – Germans, Japanese captured in Manchuria in the last days of the war and thousands of European prisoners of war – were forced into slave labor to rebuild the Motherland and then starved or murdered as the jobs were finished.
History repeated itself when Stalin died and Nikita Khrushchev won the power struggle; millions again disappeared in the middle of the night for years. There was no mercy for anyone believed to be the opposition.
Repeat again when Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev; not as bad but it still happened. Mikhail Gorbachev broke the mold, ending many of the older ways of the Soviet Union. The farms modernized with help from America as food production doubled. Rationing was eased and then eliminated.
The same was true with the petroleum industry. With engineering from Shell, Mobile and Exxon, Siberia oil fields were exploited. With the right equipment and methods the brutal Siberian winters were no more a problem. Russia became an oil and gas exporter to Europe.
Early on Putin followed Gorbachev’s lead; he had no choice as the Soviet Union had collapsed under Brezhnev. Ronald Reagan and then Clinton rescued the Soviet Union. There were loans, food and credit in exchange for dismantling old nuclear weapons. The Russian weapons grade uranium was still in the bunkers in the south west.
Putin brought much of the Soviet Union back though disaster still reigned, Chernobyl and its disaster would last a thousand years. Nuclear powered submarines with nuclear weapons on them were sinking from fires every few years.
Others were sinking at the docks with the reactors still in them and with nuclear fuel rods still in the reactors, the result of no crews or maintenance. There was no money to do the right things.
Then others were sunk because of faulty torpedoes. They used pure hydrogen peroxide as part of the fuel. Pure peroxide requires special tanks, lines, handling and storage. It was suspected that cracks were happening in those lines from stress and temperature changes, allowed leaking peroxide to drip onto the cast steel shell of the torpedoes – an explosive combination that caused the warhead to explode.
The Kursk was to be the last causality of peroxide torpedoes. After her sinking the change was made to front line subs. Others in the submarine service paid the price as time went by. Submarines in the reserve fleet did not get the updated torpedoes.
The thinking was the subs would not get used unless WW3 was in progress; then no one would care how or why the sub was sunk. They would be heroes for Mother Russia either way. The British had stopped using peroxide in 1955.
Russia was on the verge of total collapse again. Every state had stockpiles of nuclear weapons guarded by the army. But the troops were deserting or were resorting to selling military equipment on the black market. Nuclear triggers, switches, and wiring – even plutonium – was being intercepted by various countries as the materials made their way through Europe to Africa and South America.
The CIA and NSA promised unfolding disaster, although this year’s winter wheat crop had survived and showed marginal yields. The spring corn crop planting was on schedule. But it was only a start to a long term problem.
The next report was on China and the summary was chilling. China was showing signs of a military buildup on its Russian border. An invasion of Russian territory would unite Russians but had the potential to plunge all Asia into war.
The former Eastern Bloc countries of Europe were demanding relief from the ever growing price for Russian natural gas and taxes. Many were demanding more freedom from Russian restrictions and rationings and more independence. Saber rattling was growing, potential war that would engulf all of Europe was a real threat.
I finally got to the updates for California. The Justice Department was going to conduct operation Clean Sweep part two in California. Hundreds of arrests of union officials and lower level politicians was happening on Monday for corruption, bribes and influence pedaling.
I had family time with the girls then we went over to the gym for an hour. It was a trip that I needed. I worked out on the treadmill and with the weights.
Tomorrow the girls and I were going to spend more time in the gym. I wanted to work with the sticks again – I knew I was getting out of practice.
Tomorrow night was another fund raiser. Air Force One and my family along with staff were going to Kansas City Missouri; we would be home before 2200. I would spend the night home and Marine One would take me back to DC Monday morning.
Sunday morning went fast; by 1400 we were boarding Air Force One. It was a high energy rally. The warmer weather had people ready to party and the rally was a good place to do it. There were three country music bands with local politicos giving speeches in between the bands. Hats, fliers, buttons and balloons were handed out.
The Kansas City Royals were raffling off seat cushions and other team promotional items including game tickets.
My speech lasted an hour. Adam had done another fantastic ‘get them out of their seats and pumped up’ job. Eight more years of conservative control to strengthen our country. No one seemed concerned about my actions in California when I addressed the mega donors and answered their questions in the private meetings.
It had been a good weekend with family. The fishing trip, the rally and a progress report from Vicky and Ching Lee on security issues facing JBG were appreciated. A dozen more fast boats would be making the trip to the gulf this week. Another four months and Vicky would be pushing the numbers for the original contract.
Several other countries were wanting proposals – two of them on the Mediterranean. Well, it was not like we didn’t already have people in the area. What difference would another hundred or five hundred employees make? None.
Monday I went to DC alone – Jenny and Marcy were going to Thimble Shoals for the bank meetings. Tuesday Lorrie and some of her aviation group were coming for some PR.
I spent the morning first with my staff going through all the updates then with the intel group. After lunch Australia Prime Minister Morris was arriving for discussions on a variety of subjects. He was going to be here for three days meeting with the DOD officials, State Department officials, the Vice President and me.
Australian Prime Minister Alfred Morris arrived at 1300. The official opening ceremonies were in the Rose Garden. I had been to Australia in my short time as Vice President. We were negotiating to renew a decades old mutual defense treaty and a new trade treaty.
Much progress was made while I was there. It was at these meetings that Australia joined the anti-drug coalition and testing program with the JBG lab we had set up for the organization.
Another thing that was ongoing while I was there was the Australian brush and forest fires. It was a reoccurring event every three or four years; there was a massive one almost like the California wildfires.
This year the California ones were bad but nowhere as bad as the Australian version. Lorrie contracted to send ten JBG 747 water tanker converted firefighting planes to help while keeping ten on station in California.
Part of the Prime Minister’s group was the minister in charge of their National Forestry Service and National Parks for meetings with our National Park Service officials to discuss wildfire fighting.
The ten planes and crews with maintenance personnel were there while I was there but on the other side of the nation.
Vice President Harrison had completed the negotiations and the Prime Minister was here for the official signing, putting the agreement into effect.
”We are here today to welcome Prime Minister Morris of Australia to our great nation. Australia and the United States have been partners for over a hundred years in international security. They are a trusted and valued trading partner.”
“While there is the mass of the Pacific Ocean that separate us, it has not subdued our friendship and respect for one another and our positions in world events. I welcome you to our country Prime Minister Morris,” I said with the traditional handshake for the cameras.
I stepped away from the podium so the Prime Minister could give his speech before we disappeared behind closed doors to do the delicate work left.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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1 Response to Book 2 Chapter 155

  1. typo says:

    An unfortunate malapropism at “… It was at these meetings that Australia joined the anti-drug collation and testing program….” I’m fairly certain that you meant “anti-drug coalition.”

    “Collation,” while having several perfectly good meanings has none which fit the context. “A light informal meal” is at least consumable, so perhap gramatically apt, while consuming drugs – or even anti-drugs like methadone – is hardly something one ought to do without qualified medical advice to do so. 😉

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