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03 December 2011

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The Twisted Genius

I haven't heard anything coming out of Moscow on this threat, but it is a hell of a bargaining chip in their effort to stop deployment of the NATO missile defense in Eastern Europe. Our best bet is to downsize immediately and spin it however the pols want to spin it.

Farooq

It has to do with NATO missile defense as indicated by TTG

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204753404577066421106592452.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

"MOSCOW—Russia said it may not let NATO use its territory to supply troops in Afghanistan if the alliance doesn't seriously consider its objections to a U.S.-led missile shield for Europe, Russia's ambassador to NATO said Monday."

Lars Moller-Rasmussen

Gen. (rtd) Hameed (or Hamid) Gul ran Pakistani military intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989, according to Wikipedia. He is well known for being close to islamists, from Afghan mudjahideen to Afghan Taliban to the Pakistani islamist party he founded.

He is also known for making extreme and eyebrow-raising statements, so in my admittedly uninformed opinion, he might just be speculating when he talks about a Russian cutoff.

He knows that Russian concern at the NATO missile defence scheme is generally underestimated in the West. However, the Russians have already reacted by announcing a new "super-radar" system of their own, specifically citing the missile defence project.


FB Ali

I doubt if Russia will actually cut the supply line, but they'll probably use it as leverage to get some of their issues attended to. They can always cause restrictions in the supply chain through bureaucratic delays etc without making a big hoo-ha about what they're doing. This was advance warning of what they're prepared to do.

Both Russia and China have been quite unhappy with the US's plans to establish a long-term presence and influence in Afghanistan. They obviously read Pakistan's current problems with the US as a policy-changer there, and have moved swiftly to cash in on it. China issued quite a strong statement backing Pakistan (as did the Russians).

arbogast

Didn't we do everything we could to bloody the Russian's noses in their war in Afghanistan?

They couldn't win, and they didn't need Pakistan.

Of course, their opponents were our clients. That worked out pretty well, didn't it?

Politicians are the capitalists running the factory of war. Soldiers are the laborers.

Communism anyone?

Jose

Farooq, you beat me to it"

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=10685&Cat=13

Azerbaijan better start making a long Christmas list of gifts from Santa...lol

securecare

Notice the operative phrase, "...if the alliance doesn't seriously consider its objections..." which sounds like diplomat speak for "we want it to look like you are taking us seriously".

I suppose we shall see how serious this is.

Farmer-don

How could Russia not be upset with US missles next to it's border?
Why would they give the US a free ride when the US ignores their discomfort?
Do you think Russia has forgotten the "Help" the US gave them when THEY were in Afganistan?

Plus the US is giving their friend and trading partner Iran a hard time.

Also note that Russia, China, South Korea, and Vietnam amoung others are buying gold in large amounts and starting to trade w/o using US Dollars. The US still can borrow money cheap and in it's own currency but who knows what the future may bring.

Your last Post said Ron Paul is too old. Maybe, but i.m.h.o., he is the only candidate that "gets it".

Norbert M Salamon
William R. Cumming

When is the election in Russia?

Jim Ticehurst

There has been alot of news about Putin..The Elections and Russian Threats over Our Missle defenses lately...Its a Drudge daily Feature story..

wondook

a) comments come from a Russian politician who is only in the second line a diplomat who wants to make sure he has a place under the returning Putin; Dmitri Rogozin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitry_Rogozin).

b) would Russia see a destabilised Afghanistan less of a danger to itself and its neighbours to the South than a missile defence system that due to a variety of reasons - including forthcoming funding limitations in the US and other NATO defence budgets - might never see the day (http://www.eurasianet.org/node/64593)? To Farmer Don, I see that Russia functions the other way round. The stabilisation of Afghanistan through NATO blood and treasure has created a decade of stability after the traumatic 1990s in Central Asia. You talk of a free ride - they had gotten one for ten years. To FB Ali, the negotiation of terms for using the Northern Supply Route includes time and mandate limitations of the 2014-24 presence.

c) agree with Hamid Gul gloating in the belief that a Russian position as Rogozin outlines it would return his successors to re-assume essential importance over the ISAF effort in Afghanistan. If Russia restores them to this position! I am not so sure he is right in this assumption. ISAF planned since 2008 for this scenario and is prepared to pay even the added price for using the Northern Supply Route (http://tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/4583-road-block-by-pakistan-has-no-logistical-implications-isaf-says). Maybe even pay a political price. On the cash price, maybe FB Ali, would know better the order of magnitude of the current benefits from the various Karachi-Torkham and Karachi-Chaman trucking contracts, but it certainly has made some people in Pakistan tremendously rich in the last decade. That money now moves to the North and you are right 'cashing in' is the correct term...

confusedponderer

For the global dominance crowd Russian leveraqe is the threat, thus the hysterics. Russian leverage means that the US will have to compromise. Unacceptable, since hat will corrupt the blessings of indispensable US leadership. Doesn't the US see farther and clearer than lesser nations, that is, everybody else?

IMO one of the biggest strategic foreign policy blunders of the last quarter century, in the long run, was the US breaking Jim Baker's promise that there would be no NATO eastwards expansion, as that forestalled equal level US-Russian reconciliation. US triumphalism didn't allow for that. The US won. The Rusians lost.

That was not a rational policy but something informed by petty animosities. The Clintons, guided by Russophobes like Brezinski*, really just had to rub Rusia's face in it, and Rusia under Jelzin was incapable to do anything about it.

Putin ended that. It is unsurprising that he will try to exact a price from the US. Indeed, it should be expected.

* Brezinski, just like Old Pipes of Team B fame, is a Polish exile. IMO he, like Old Pipes, brought his animosities with him to the US. To some extent, US policy vis a vis the Midle East is suffering from the same affliction. In a memorable interview, Pipes said that he had recognised the Russian Wesen and was thus able to cut through the fog of inconvenient facts with ease. There are many today who claim to have understood the Wesen of Islam. They choose the same approach.

PS: Typing from notebook today; apologise for typos.

Norbert M Salamon

started yesterday, presidential next spring

rkka

b. NATO appear to be heading for the Afghan exits, and the present Afghan government/forces will last only a brief time after. Destabilization is pretty much baked in at this point. If NATO are determined to press BMD against Russian objections, then the threat of Afghan destabilization is not much of a threat to the Russians.

bth

For the Russians the threat is probably better than the reality. The reality is to raise the West's political cost of a supply route via missile defense and requests to be named and the economic cost which will likely mean a jacked up rail fee of some sort.

Now to Pakistan. They have to show something has changed to their public. Given that they make a bundle on trucking I doubt that embargo will last. On the other hand, Pak media is reporting that Americans are evacuating the drone base at Shamsi today.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=27916&title=US-starts-vacating-Shamsi-base

William R. Cumming

Once Putin back in power expect two dramatic changes! First restrictions on emigration. Second restriction on currency flows.

The lifeblood of Russia fast hemoraging IMO.

ToreBear

I don't think one should be too concerned about Russian statements in this period. They have parliamentary elections now and a Putin election in May IIRC. Putinism is not so popular when Putin himself is returning to official power. They need to convince the Russian "masses" that they are on the way back to the top of the pecking order in world affairs. So if they can elicit some spinnable statements of concern about their new found power in the media or anonymous statements from beaurucrats they will be happy.

Though not acting like one takes them seriously could be detrimental since they are liable to do something stupid if they don't feel they are taken seriously enough.

Of course it's difficult to help keep them from loosing face since they continuously seem to do all the wrong policy choices. Their stance on the Arab spring is one example. And if they put all their weight behind the already doomed Assad, it might be difficult to rescue them from a serious foreign policy failure.

bth

Here is a Russian Times story on local objections to the US air hub in Kyrgyzstan. I suspect the rent will go up there too now. Note about 1/2 way into the video the reporter goes to the local bazaar where she shows US uniforms for sale for a couple hundred dollars and says that they are very popular.

http://youtu.be/owtsx3pyvSY

robt willmann

Now Iran says that it has shot down an unmanned RQ-170 U.S. drone in eastern Iran, allegedly equipped with stealth technology.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/04/uk-iran-usa-drone-idUKTRE7B30DQ20111204

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_IRAN_DRONE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-12-04-09-56-04

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/213765.html

William R. Cumming

IMO the Russian "masses" could care less about GREAT POWER status. They just want just and somewhat equitable society. Note the 82 "districts" of the Russian Federation [two of which are city states--St. Petersberg and Moscow] are all quite different. Amazing how the USA even in the days of the Soviet Empire often underestimated the centrifugal forces in Russian society. Russian is its own version of a Petrocracy and the amazing run up in world oil prices has masked a huge decline in Russia of everyday skills.

I have always found it of great interest that it is almost impossible to find out how much of the immigration into the USA and Israel post-WWII was from Russia. And of course there is some overlap with Russians going first to the USA or Israel and then departing for the other country.

My impression perhaps erroneous is that there is a huge Russian foreign born population even in the DC area. And that excludes INTERNET BABES!

Fred

I'm sure inside Think Tank city they are all shocked since they think the Russian's are a Capitalist Democracy now.

securecare

Note that according to current news on the Russian elections Putin's party has lost their 2/3 majority which allowed them to change the constitution at will.

We shall have to wait to see how this actually affects behavior but I doubt Mr. Putin will have as easy a time this term as he has had in the past. Seems that a lot of Russians want real results, not just propaganda statements and video shows.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving soul.

William R. Cumming

Agree with SECURECARE! Always a danger when some free to vote against the regime.

Guess that is what adds interest to the race in 2012 in USA!

bth

I don't think the Iranian claim they shot it down, they are claiming their cyberwarfare unit brought it down.

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