Friday, October 12, 2007

If you want to rattle your saber you first need to have a saber

MOSCOW (AP) - In a tense start to talks on a range of thorny issues, President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned U.S. officials to back off a plan to install missile defenses in eastern Europe or risk harming relations with Moscow.

Addressing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Russian president appeared to mock the U.S. missile defense plan, which is at the center of a tangle of arms control and diplomatic disputes between the former Cold War adversaries.

"Of course we can sometime in the future decide that some anti-missile defense system should be established somewhere on the moon," Putin said, according to an English translation. "But before we reach such arrangements we will lose the opportunity for fixing some particular arrangements between us."

Putin also said Russia might feel compelled to pull out of a 20-year-old arms control deal unless it is expanded.

Probably the number one resentment felt by the Russian ruling elite since the end of the Cold War has been the speed and desperation with which the USSR's former satellites have attached themselves to the West. Every time that any of their former slaves joins the Western military alliance it causes the Russian dream of rebuilding the Soviet Union in all its malignant glory to become that much more unattainable, and they know it.

There is literally no other explanation for Putin's attitude. A limited missile defense system in Eastern Europe will not threaten Moscow, but it will reduce Moscow's ability to threaten Eastern Europe.

Well, there is one other explanation. The missile defense system in Eastern Europe is intended to protect Europe from as missile fired by a rogue Islamic regime in the Middle East (are there any other kind?). Iran being the primary example of such. It is possible that Putin has made a deal with the Iranians to do what he can to keep Europe vulnerable to nuclear blackmail. What he may be getting back from Iran should not too hard to guess.

Russia really doesn't need oil since they produce more than they use but hard currency and influence in the region are two things that Putin will prize. This doesn't work entirely to the disadvantage of the US either. As long as Russia is selling them the finest military hardware they have Iran will be guaranteed to remain at least 40 years behind the US. This will make them much easier to slaughter like hogs on the day we finally adopt a sane Iraq policy.