Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Back off, Ivan

Posted by Ron Coleman on June 1, 2007

The Russians are going nuts, their pronouncements and threats sounding increasingly like the protests of the weak and desperate, not the confidence of the strong. They may be mostly for domestic consumption. But the weak and desperate can be mighty dangerous, especially when they have a demonstrated history of success with cultivating self-hating westerners by using the wedge between them and their own institutions and leadership — easy these days given the loathing of George W. Bush. This experience Russia has.politburo.jpg

Yet Condi parries nicely:

Russian attitudes are locked in the past, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday, adding that the United States is perplexed by the current fracas with Russia over a planned U.S. missile system in Europe.

“We want a 21st Century partnership with Russia, but at times, Russia seems to think and act in the zero-sum terms of another era,” Rice said, referring to the suspicions and territorial ambitions of the Cold War.

I think that’s well said. She is not backing off, but she is inviting the Russians to “man up” and move on. It won’t be that easy, but I think her tone is the right one.

UPDATE:   Vladimir Putin’s demonstrates how to win friends and influence people.

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7 Responses to “Back off, Ivan”

  1. Bob Miller said

    The recent world runup in energy prices has improved Russia’s economic position radically. Russia has had success pressuring Eastern and Central European countries into paying through the nose for energy. (Note that France is pretty immune because of nuclear generated power).
    Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) speaking at our synagogue dinner a few months ago, discussed this topic at length. He has a web site that discusses energy issues: http://lugar.senate.gov/energy/
    World prices for essential metals such as nickel have also been going through the roof, another windfall for Russia.
    See http://www.stratfor.com/products/premium/read_article.php?id=288268
    So what desperation are you talking about, Ron? It seems that they’re throwing some newly gained weight around. At the moment, the only fly in Putin’s ointment is Russia’s low birth rate.

    Having virtually no non-covert influence in foreign affairs makes old KGB men sad. Having American forces and their NATO allies ringing them all along the west makes them scared. — RDC

  2. Bob Miller said

    Note that my last link (at stratfor.com), which I accessed through Google News, evidently needs a subscription to access directly.

    Here is more on Norilsk:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070504.wibreguly04/BNStory/Business/columnists

  3. Bob Miller said

    Try using this (insert into the search box of Google News):

    source:stratfor norilsk

  4. Bob, maybe we can get you to try using THIS!

  5. Bob Miller said

    Do you pay for your web hosting service by the pixel?

  6. Heh, I don’t pay a penny for this. But I have the most refined aesthetic sensibilities.

  7. Bob Miller said

    I can try to post in perfect meter.

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