Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Cold War Heats Up

Last summer, I blogged about Russia's resumption of Cold War-era long range bomber patrols. They've continued over the past few months and, last weekend, one of them buzzed a US aircraft carrier in the Pacific. The bomber involved apparently violated Japanese airspace on the way to its rendezvous with the Nimitz. Everybody's maintaining a fairly good sense of humor about the incident, but it's still a bit concerning. Particularly with the BBC reporting that Russia is now threatening to target ICBMs at neighboring Ukraine if it joins NATO and accepts missile-defense protection:

Speaking at a news conference at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Mr Putin said he had advised Ukraine not to join Nato, but admitted he would be unable to interfere in any such move.

'Joining such a bloc means a country restricting its own sovereignty,' he warned.

When asked about the consequences of Ukraine gaining Nato membership, Mr Putin said Russia was concerned that its neighbour would agree to host parts of the US missile defence shield on its territory.

* * *

'I am not only terrified to utter this, it is scary even to think that Russia, in response to a possible deployment of... [parts of the] missile shield in Ukraine... would have to target its offensive rocket systems at Ukraine,' he said.

'The goal [of the missile shield] is to neutralise our nuclear capabilities... This would prompt Russia to take retaliatory action,' he added.
We ignore Putin and his successors' saber rattling at our own peril, methinks.

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