Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Russian treachery, Persian hubris, and the Israeli option

While everyone looks to Iran to either co-operate or decide to push the envelope in the next few weeks, it may be worthwhile to examine what the Russians are doing. After all, Russia fully intends to continue its duplicitous co-operation with the Mullahs, and Russia is one of the major weak-spots in the sanction-threat.

The Russians are using the crisis very well to their own advantage. There is, in their narrowed view, almost no downside to the Iranian threat - it is not aimed at them, and they are making both money and geopolitical hay.

If Iran develops a nuclear bomb, it will be because the Russians made it possible.

Predictably, Russia blandly denies that it is aiding the Iranians toward that goal.

Iran is the lever that Russia is using against the United States.

Moscow has made it no secret that they wish their sphere of influence in Europe back, and the Eastern European nations understand that Western Europe is firmly committed to doing nothing to counter Russian intentions. They need Russian gas, and have become accustomed to giving in.
The threat of a nuclear Iran keeps the United States pre-occupied, and forces us to deal with the Kremlin, even tolerate their designs in Europe.

If the United States does take military action against Iran, it may not be able to counter Russian involvement elsewhere, and the Europeans will loyally play their customary role as America's worst critics, which will also play into Russia's hand.

Russia's nightmare

There is, however, one option that would stymie Russia - a quick, savage strike by Israel that demolishes Iran's nuclear facilities and severely damages Iranian infrastructure.
Short, decisive, and very destructive.

Once the threat of a nuclear Iran is removed - even if only for a decade - the United States has far less reason to accede to any Russian pressure as regards Eastern Europe.
And the Western Europeans will perhaps realize quite how irrelevant they have become.

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