Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Russia Bracing For New Arms Race

Vladimir Putin is talking like it's 1984. Someone missed Rocky IV. Is Mr. Putin already forgetting the hard lessons of the last Cold War? Let not the words of great American sage Rocky Balboa go unheeded: "if I can change," the Champ pleaded, "and yous can change, then we all can change!" The civilized world agreed and Soviet days were numbered. An arms race masterminded by Ronald Reagan also had a little something to do with tearing a certain wall in Germany down, but Mr. Putin seems convinced that another round of nuclear gunrunning will strengthen Russia's global position. As widely noted, demographic decline, a stalling economy and rampant racism continue to plague Russia like official state vehicles in the long, black Soviet funeral procession. Putin's little tantrum won't change that.

My favorite part of Putin's speech was the claim, quoted from Gutterman's paraphrase, that "countries should not use Russia's World Trade Organization membership negotiations as a vehicle to make unrelated demands." Really? Sort of like how Russia shouldn't use its oil interests as a diplomatic weapon? Or is it more like how Russia shouldn't let its thinking on Iran be clouded by all the money LUKOIL stands to make if Tehran gets its way? Note to W.: eye of the tiger, Stallion, eye of the tiger.


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