The Corner

Dealing with Russia

This piece by Mark Safranski is well worth reading in its entirety, but note, in particular, his last two sentences:

On some issues the United States will need to lead in opposing Russia and on others we will seek her cooperation. But to declare Russia our enemy, out of misplaced Cold War nostalgia or on behalf of allies who will continue to do business as usual with Moscow while we bear all of the costs, is to play the fool.

Quite possibly so, and here (via the London Times) is just a foretaste of what to expect if Russia completes its transformation from rival to enemy:

Syria raised the prospect yesterday of having Russian missiles on its soil, sparking fears of a new Cold War in the Middle East. President Assad said as he arrived in Moscow to clinch a series of military agreements: “We are ready to co-operate with Russia in any project that can strengthen its security.”

The Syrian leader told Russian newspapers: “I think Russia really has to think of the response it will make when it finds itself closed in a circle.”

Mr Assad said that he would be discussing the deployment of Russian missiles on his territory. The Syrians are also interested in buying Russian weapons.

In return Moscow is expected to propose a revival of its Cold War era naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, which would give the Russian Navy its first foothold in the Mediterranean for two decades. Damascus and Moscow were close allies during the Cold War but the Kremlin’s influence in the region waned after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yesterday’s rapprochement raised the possibility that Moscow intends to re-create a global anti-Western alliance with former Soviet bloc allies.

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