Sunday, September 07, 2008

How Far Will the Russians Go?

This just in from the Sunday Times:
Russia is considering increasing its assistance to Iran's nuclear programme in response to America's calls for Nato expansion eastwards and the presence of US Navy vessels in the Black Sea delivering aid to Georgia.

The Kremlin is discussing sending teams of Russian nuclear experts to Tehran and inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training, according to sources close to the Russian military. (Mark Franchetti, "Vladimir Putin Set to Bait US with Nuclear Aid for Tehran," Sunday Times, 7 September 2008)
This report probably isn't true because Sunday Times coverage of Iran as well as Russia has always been full of psychological warfare based on leaks from anonymous sources. But a question does arise: how far will the Russians go in their conflict with the West? Depending on the answer to this question, new possibilities may open up for the states at odds with the empire.

The threat to sell S-300 to Iran and Syria, for instance, is something the Russians have been willing to use (e.g., "Russia May Push Forward with S-300 Sales to Iran, RIA Novosti, 1 September 2008), but if they actually sold it, they could no longer use it as a bargaining chip with the West, so they will probably hold on to it for the time being. But eventually they may decide to act on the threat, as well as cut the Russian routes to supply NATO forces in Afghanistan, if the West (especially the United States, which just announced a $1 billion aid to Georgia, making it "one of the largest recipients of American foreign aid after Israel and Egypt") doesn't cease and desist from its military advancement toward Russia. After all, Russia will be holding its first joint naval exercise with Venezuela on 10-14 November 2008 ("Russian, Venezuelan Navies to Hold Manouvers in Caribbean," ITAR-TASS, 7 September 2008).

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