Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chilling Relations With Russia

While everyone is focused on the Middle East, we have a much graver problem brewing, if you can get your head around that concept. The cold war may be over, and we may not be calling them Soviets anymore, but the Kremlin never really went away, it just morphed. The brief honeymoon is over and the adversarial relationship with Russia is back, and possibly more nefarious, as it is no longer encumbered by communism.

America’s stubborn insistence on pushing forward with the deployment of a missile defense system (that hasn’t really been successful in testing) has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to announce a suspension of Russia's obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty

The latest Russian press report, which ran last Sunday the New York Times was disturbing, but underappreciated. It is now official policy that news reports portray the United States as an enemy. The folks who perfected propaganda are cranking up their own Wurlitzer – and theirs is bigger than ours. Their noise machine puts anything we can come up with on either side of the political divide to shame.

Putin leaves office in just over ten months. He is casting the mold for US Russian relations for the next twenty years, and it is looking like we are in for a Big Chill. The dynamic isn’t there for a Cold War Redux, but there is a very real adversarial threat, and I fear we aren’t ready for it because the Mess in Mesopotamia has degraded our military to the point we aren’t able to respond.

Frankly, I am feeling like we have been had. I’m not mad at the Russians for taking advantage of a mendacious administration staffed by Mayberry Machiavellis. I’m mad at the Mayberry Machiavellis for being worthless to us, and useful idiots to our real adversaries.

Remember this – Gates and Rice were spectacularly wrong about the Soviet Union in its final days. They have a perfect track record of wrong where Soviets/Russians are concerned. And Condi is cocking it up again, in real-time.

The furor erupting is over a missile defense system that the US wants to place in Poland and the Czech Republic, ostensibly to protect from a missile attack by Iran. Condi dismisses the Russian concerns out-of-hand, with "The idea that somehow 10 interceptors and a few radars in eastern Europe are going to threaten the Soviet strategic deterrent is purely ludicrous and everybody knows it," Rice told a news conference in Oslo. (Pretty breezy comment from a diplomat, doncha think?)

To the Russians it isn’t a matter of being able to overwhelm the system, it is about a series of broken promises and violations of good-faith agreements. The deal was, NATO was not supposed to expand into former Soviet Republics or place bases in former Warsaw Pact countries. Both things happen. The Russians see NATO bases on their borders as a threat. (Kinda like we would if they put a bomber wing in Ontario.)

Funny, I don’t hear any chickenhawks saying we ought to be bombing the piss out of Moscow for not seeing things our way. Do you? (Note that there has been uttered not a peep from Kristol or Kagan here, where a real threat exists. Doesn't it make you wonder why?)

[Cross-posted from Blue Girl, Red State]