Thursday, November 15, 2007
Dealing With Russia
If you're a little unclear over what's behind Russia's recent confrontational posture, this short article from the Power and Interest News Report gives a pretty good rundown. Russia's military modernization and tactical maneuvering have not occurred in a vacuum. The absorption of former Soviet Union states into NATO, the Bush administration's unilateral abrogation of the ABM treaty, and plans to install missile defense systems in Eastern Europe were all based on the assumption that Russian power was irreversibly in decline and therefore its national security concerns could for all intents and purposes be disregarded.
Now, the confluence of energy revenue windfalls, European dependance on Russian gas, and the strategic leverage of the Iranian nuclear standoff has conspired to put Russia into the position of regional spoiler. And they're using the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) Treaty as a way to focus everyone's attention.
The bad news is that the Bush administration has been singularly shortsighted in its radical transformation of American foreign policy into a heavy-handed instrument of unilateral interest. The good news is that there are a lot deals to be struck that could conceivably bring things back into balance. They will initially involve concessions, since Bush has seriously overreached our hand. But in the absence of any further catastrophic failures, they're still do-able.