Interesting point made by Scott Horton today:
Oil clearing $142 a barrel means that the Russian treasury is flush with cash, putting the state in a position to pay salaries and meet its pension and benefit obligations with little fuss. Russia seems unquestioningly resurgent on the international stage. On this point, a Russian close to Putin’s administration tells me “Why should we dislike Bush? What American leader has done more to advance Russian interests in the world? He has squandered American authority, built distrust within the NATO alliance that we never could have imagined, and helped us gain entry into the Middle East by alienating the entire region. He has paved the way for a generation of Russian successes.”
As Russ says, "Stop the madness!"