Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is getting too cozy for comfort...

Let me point out my prejudices right up front.

I am the ultimate cold-war brat. When a teacher asked if anyone knew what the Great Plains were, my hand shot up and I answered "The F-14's!" I was still my Dad's dependent when I married my husband on a Saturday afternoon, and by the end of the following week, we were living atop 18 10-megaton Titan II ICBMs, and would live with those massive killing machines until the last one was pulled out of the ground. The first decade of our marriage, we both did our part to complete the SAC mission and win the Cold War.

The thing is, I never really thought it was "won" in the traditional sense, because George H.W. didn't get together with the top commie and sign a treaty ending it all. Hell, I have always thought the end of the Cold War was less of a sure thing than the Korean armistice. The Soviet Union simply collapsed, but the same people were still running things, they just weren't encumbered by the party any longer, and criminal enterprises - never in danger of extinction in Russia - has flourished. I have never trusted our former adversaries, and thought the administration was beyond stupid to underestimate Putin and the Russian inclination to empire.

So this stuff disturbs me...

Remember that two weeks ago, Putin made a "Nixon goes to China" trip to Tehran, the first Kremlin leader to visit Iran since 1943. That trip took place just days after he snubbed and mocked Condi Rice and Bob Gates when they went to Moscow.

Well, as I type another Russian potentate is in Tehran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while in the neighborhood on a visit to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, popped in on Ahmadinejad for tea. A spokesman said the impromptu visit was to discuss Iran's nuclear activities as well as bilateral ties between the two nations.

After the visit by Putin, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator Ali Laranjani (who resigned last week over differences with Ahmadinejad) said that the Russian leader had delivered a proposal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that represented a new approach to the current nuclear standoff with the Bush administration. Neither the Russians not the Iranians were willing to divulge details of the proposal, but the Iranian side was said to be studying it.

State-run television and news agencies quoted Ayatollah Khamenei at the time as telling Putin, "We will think about what you said and about your proposal," even as he added that Iran was "determined to provide our country's need for nuclear energy."

In the ever-escalating one-upsmanship that the aWol bush maladministration mistakes for foreign policy, unilateral sanctions against Iran were imposed last week in a feeble attempt to punish Iran for their nuclear program, and accusing the Revolutionary Guard of illegally spreading WMDs. Iran seemed to brush off the administrations latest hissy-fit.

Putin reportedly mocked the move, and news agencies quoted him as saying "Why worsen the situation by threatening sanctions and bring it to a dead end?"

In the meantime, I am viewing this new "BFF" status that the Iranians and Russians seem to be with a wary eye. We have been down this path before with the proxy wars between the two superpowers. They facilitated the deaths of 58,000 Americans in Vietnam, and the United States backed the Mujihideen fighters in Afghanistan, who killed approximately 15,000 Red Army soldiers.

I do not believe that the recent muscle-flexing by Russia is just that. I think the messages are quite clear. The world is realigning along an energy axis. Iran and Russia have it, and we need it. But so does China, and they can pay for it with the intrest we pay them on the debt accumulated to finance aWol Bush's vanity war!

Thanks to the arrogance, ignorance, jingoism and hubris of this administration, American influence has been drastically undermined and American interests have been compromised. Perhaps to a point they can't be repaired.