Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fair Warning

Dick Cheney's home truths on Russian misbehavior have hit the spot - Putin now knows he'll face consequences if he continues helping the Mullahs build and protect their nukes.

Mr. Cheney
:...delivered the Bush administration's strongest rebuke of Russia to date, saying the Russian government "unfairly and improperly restricted" people's rights and suggesting that it sought to use the country's vast oil and gas resources as "tools of intimidation or blackmail."

"In many areas of civil society — from religion and the news media, to advocacy groups and political parties — the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of her people,"..."Other actions by the Russian government have been counterproductive, and could begin to affect relations with other countries."
The Russians are shocked, shocked!:
The Kremlin rejected his remarks, calling them completely incomprehensible...Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Mr. Cheney's speech "looks like a provocation and interference in Russia's internal affairs in terms of its content, form and place."
Talking of provocations:

On Saturday evening, the strategic missile forces launched a K65M-R missile from 4th State Central Joint Testing Ground... That missile was the first to be fired with a prototype of an experimental nosepiece that will be installed in strategic ballistic missiles after testing. The new missiles are intended to defeat the antimissile warning system developed by the United States.

The the continuation of test begun last year of new military technology called a post-boost platform, on which up to six nuclear warheads can be mounted. The unified platform is intended for Bulava sea-based as well as Topol-M land-based strategic missiles.

Add this to their supply of missiles to the Mullahs and threats to veto sanctioning them, their oil and gas bullying of the Europeans, and you have a mini-USSR.

There are plenty of silver linings. The US BMD system has risen to the challenge. Russian bullying of the Europeans will accelerate their switch to other energy sources, so helping the GWOT. Russia, in spite of its oil wealth has an economy only a tad bigger than Mexico's, so is no threat to the US. And the Russians are dying out.

The administration is sensibly making sure that their death throes don't break anything important.