On a typical day this blog can expect to get 50 or 60 page views from Russia. In the three years I've been putting out this unique combine of investment tips, political commentary, highly selective personal memoir, and downright awful offal, page views from Russia rank third in number, after only the US and Canada.
So when there are zero page views for several days in a row, I know something is going on.
My Russian readers are back, as of shortly after noon today.
It's as if a tap was turned off, and then turned on again.
Was it something I said?
Russians enjoy something lacking in much of the Western world; leadership. There's not a whole lot of folks who don't understand who is in charge in Russia.
We can disagree to the nth degree over whether the man governs for "the people" or for a mafia of oligarchs, but we can all agree that one man is in charge.
Nobody is sure who is in charge in America, but most people are agreed that it ain't Obama. The "Oracle of Nairobi" has pretty much dropped the ball on every file that he's ever handled.
Single payer universal health care morphs into the biggest profit subsidy for private health care ever imagined.
Closing Gitmo morphs into keeping that festering sore open forever, or till the last inmate dies.
Hope and change morphs into dope and rage...
"Red lines" come and go, as well they should, because most of what comes out of Obama's mouth is about political expediency that doesn't look more than 15 minutes into the future.
The Ukraine fiasco is that only because Obama couldn't decide, and still hasn't, what America's "strategic interests" are in that corner of the world. And unless you buy into the "American exceptionalism" fantasies of the PNAC crowd, you have to admit there are none.
A cursory reading of history and a glance at a map will confirm that Russia, on the other hand, does indeed have legitimate strategic interests in Ukraine, specifically in Crimea, and it didn't take Putin long to act in the interests of the nation he is leading.
The presumptuous dilettantism of Nuland and Pyatt was nipped in the bud before they were done congratulating themselves on their "revolution."
That has of course led to the most embarrassing howls of outrage from the PNAC acolytes in Washington, and also from their more devout devotees like Tusk in Poland and the incomparable Harper-Baird combination in Canada.
I don't for a moment imagine that Putin is some sort of modern day messiah who is leading his people to the promised land. But I do believe he is a hard-nosed realist who is preventing Russia from being steam-rollered by the "American exceptionalism" juggernaut that rules Washington and most of its helper-states these days.
And for that Mr. Putin should be celebrated.