Sunday, July 15, 2007

Putin decides the Cold War isn't over after all

While George Bush has been obsessesing about small actors like Iran and Syria, he's been completely blind to the threat of a resurgent adversary in Russia.

He saw the Berlin wall fall and the Soviet Union disintegrate. "Reagan won the cold war". Put a check mark in the win column. It's time to move on to the threat of militant Islam.

So he complains that decades old treaties which have helped keep the peace between the two nuclear giants are "outdated", launches wars of preemption, and decides to build a missile shield right on the border of our old nemesis.

The Russians, of course, remember that the original purpose of the "missile shield" was to counter their military power, not Iran's. They see the Vice-President declaring that the United States is the world's sole superpower which won't permit any rival, and they see NATO expanding into old Soviet block nations while hostile forces build up along their borders, first in Afghanistan, then Iraq and soon possibly Iran and Syria.

Vladimir Putin very much sees a growing threat. And he doesn't think it comes from Iran.

Unfortunately, George Bush appears to sincerely believe that "the Cold War is over" and that Russia and the United States have become fast friends. This despite Putin's rollback of democratic reforms in Russia, his assertion of dominance over former Soviet states and his repeated declarations that the Americans have become like the Nazis of old.

And now Putin has taken a page from Bush's playbook and begun declaring treaties outdated himself:

Russia engaged the West in a new round of brinkmanship yesterday when Vladimir Putin effectively tore up a vital treaty designed to end the threat of war in Europe.

In a chilling message to his adversaries, the Russian president signed a decree suspending Moscow's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, a move that will allow Russia to mass tanks on its border with Europe for the first time in 15 years.

Limiting the number of troops that could be stationed on Cold War front lines by both sides, the treaty required Russia to move the bulk of its military hardware east of the Ural Mountains, the geographical divide between Europe and Asia. With the treaty's demise, Mr Putin seems to be declaring a return to adversarial Cold War politics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't have to be president to see that there is no threat from Iran.
It is clear like day who's fault it is, this unfolding of events.
If one's letting in a chill, another puts on a jacket.
If countries agreed to keep their heaters on, there can be a treaty to walk around in bikinis. But, if some countries open the door to a freezing air, and put on their coats, then it would be awfully stupid for the rest to continue to fallow the outdated treaty, and to continue walking around in a bathing suit. Even more strange are the political distortions that blame the freeze on an innocent, but reasonable leader. This is simply political bullying.