Saturday, December 23, 2006


Who do ya love?
Are you sure?
Guess who Russia shows out for?
WASHINGTON -- The effort to sanction Iran in the UN Security Council was meant to showcase international unity against Tehran's nuclear ambitions. But instead, the bitter four months of negotiations have highlighted a growing rift between Washington and Russia.

Russia, one of five countries on the Security Council with veto power, has opposed US-backed travel bans on Iranian officials involved in the country's nuclear and missiles programs, as well as former US ambassador John R. Bolton's push for sanctions on civilian nuclear technology needed for the Bushehr civilian reactor that Russia is building in Iran.
Even as Russia reels from Litvinenko and other domestic and foreign affairs disasters, Russia seems intent on destroying any goodwill with any developed nation on earth and for what? By 2010, oil supply will have rapidly caught up with demand and Russia's lack of wise investment (ditto, Venezuela et al) of petro dollars will mean a relapse into relative decline with a falling population, rising nationalism (why so much pride, exactly?) and violent crime/corruption on the upswing.

So what's a bumbling pseudo-dictator to do? Burn bridges with the west for what? A marginal increase (if any) of credibility with Iran? Iran may buy some arms from Russia, but they are small potatos at 4.8B USD/year in overall military spending. That may buy you a toilet seat in the US army.

Anyways, watching Russia's international moves is like recalling the ancient Russian war strategy from ancient to modern times - engage the enemy at outside the gates and burn the earth all the way back to Moscow in retreat. Foreign policy seems to be led by this strategy, where foreign businesses and people will be drawn out and isololationism will take hold. Moscow, with few links with middle eastern countries, save the universally loathed sovietism, will find itself alone in the future where few will be interested in a burned out petro-dictatorship and rampant corruption. For now, the pipes and wallets are fat and happy and no one will want to rock the boat. But the future is coming on fast, and as usual, Russia will be left in its wake rather than riding the wave.

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