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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Russia is Not Our Friend

Two days ago, there were indications that Russia was leaning toward supporting the U.S. in dealing with Iran. Hillary Clinton proclaimed that Russia might be coming around to the U.S. position on sanctions. Clinton, meanwhile, also said that the U.S. didn't ask the Russians for any firm commitments. Then, yesterday the Russians poured cold water on any idea that they would support sanctions.

Russia pushed back Tuesday at U.S. efforts to threaten tough new sanctions if Iran fails to prove its nuclear program is peaceful, a setback to the Obama administration's desire to present a united front with Moscow.

After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow believed that such threats would not persuade Iran to comply and that negotiations should continue to be pursued.

The Russians aren't merely against any new sanctions at this moment. Instead, the Russians wouldn't even favor the U.S. threatening Iran with sanctions. In other words, the Russians want the U.S. to meet with Iran and not even mention sanctions as a possible punishment for continued non compliance regarding their nuclear program.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, would have the U.S. negotiate with Iran but not threaten the Iranians with any punishment. This of course is a recipe for disaster.

Let's face it, a recipe for disaster is exactly how the Russians want this. This has been their geopolitical dance for as long as I remember on this issue. They will make some statement that makes it appear as though they are coming around to confronting Iran. Then, when push comes to shove, or really long before that, they make another statement making it clear that they have no intention of confronting Iran. Since they have a veto vote on the Security Council, Russia can single handedly stop any action against Iran. That's what they've done and in fact they've been supported by China the entire time.

Russia wants artificially increased oil prices. Oil is one of their single biggest sources of wealth. Any confrontation between Iran and the West would only help oil prices. In fact, even the perception of a confrontation helps oil prices. Russia is looking for chaos on this front and a united front hurts that effort.

Of course, this is exactly what's been happening since the beginning of the Bush administration. Bush completely misread the intentions of Russia and its leader. Now, the Obama administration is continuing that mistake. They are not our friends. They don't have our best interest at heart. They don't have peace in the world as their intention. High oil prices are predicated on choas. We have set the so called "reset button" and the only ones resetting their relationship is our side. The Russians have continued to move forward with their own agenda.

What should be clear to all is that any action through the UN is not an option. The Russians will never allow it. Confronting Iran will take some creativity and work through channels outside of that body. Let's hope the administration will realize that before it's too late.


Anonymous said...

We all know Russian foreign policy is fixed around maintaining a high price for oil. We also know that conflict increases that. So then isn't it in Russia's interest that the US and Iran go to war?

mike volpe said...

On this issue I cede to Garry Kasparov. He said that Russia wants chaos but only chaos it can control and so he doesn't believe that all out war is something Russia wants because they can't control that.

Anonymous said...

There was an interesting piece on this yesterday in the JPost: