Montag, Februar 12, 2007

Stranger than fiction...

This is, to put it mildly, an ... interesting development.

What is going on here?

My take on it is that we have two factors going on here, both predicated on errors of judgement and understanding.

On the one hand you have Putin, ex-KGB, steeped in the lore of the cold war and cold-blooded spook. He sees the existential threat to his Mother Russia not in fundamental Muslims, but rather the corrupting hand of the West. He sees what happened his beloved country when the Soviets collapsed, and never wants that to happen again. He is fighting for the soul of a more modern Russia, with the theological purity of a former Communist.

On the other hand you have Iran and Adhmajidan, steeped in the lore of the Iranian Revolution and hot-blooded theological revolutionary. He sees the existential threat to control of Iran by the Mullahs, not in terms of being defeated at the polls, but more fundamentally through the corrupting hand of the West. He fears the demographic surge of his own people, knowing full well that Iran has wasted its oil wealth in destabilization and futile weapons programs in the desperate search for local hegemony. He is fighting for the soul of a bound people, with the theological purity of a true believer.

Remember, of course, that Moscow has been a major supplier to the Mullahs in Iran: what is now going on is nothing less, it seems, than Realpolitik written large.

We all know the Realpolitik saying in the Middle East: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

In this case, I think we see the development of a new unholy alliance based on the ancient Russian fears of the triump of the West, coupled with the centuries-old Muslim resentment of the technology and political fervor of the West.

The goal of their collusion is nothing less than the driving out of the US from the Middle East and allowing Iran to establish local hegemony over the region in order to save itself from the coming collapse as the Iranians squander their future; the reward for Putin is nothing less than having out-played the Americans.

Dangerous times indeed.

Putin's rhetoric is that of the SovUnion during the highlight of his time in eastern Germany, of condemning the West due to its ability to undermine decades of Soviet military development by fielding magic weapons that the Soviets simply could not counter (guided antitank weapons on fast helicopters, cluster bombs with anti-armor submunitions, etc), and now Putin sees the US putting in antiballistic missiles in Poland and possibly elsewhere in eastern Europe. His solution is to use MARV, something not allowed under the old START (manoueverable warheads) and to ratchet up the cold-war bluster.

To paraphrase the Who: Welcome to the New World, same as the Old World.

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