Thingish Things

The Russian Front

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Dec• 22•10

Vladamir Putin

You know they got the best of us. If Vladimir Putin is happy about the New START Treaty, the Russians walked away with the better deal.

The negotiation pitted a former KGB agent against a former president of the Harvard Law Review.  Tell the truth, who would you bet on in that chess match?

President Obama came to the negotiating table in need of a public victory.  The shellacking he took in the midterm elections, followed by his capitulation to Republicans on the Bush Tax Cuts, left him badly hobbled in the public eye, especially to those on the left.  A START Treaty with Russia would give his administration an ostensible notch in the belt – in the international arena no less, where it has been fairly maligned.

But at what cost?

On its face, the treaty reads like a toothless tiger:  It limits each country to 1,550 nuclear warheads, still enough to annihilate the other a few dozen times over.  But what it really does is send a signal to the world’s nuclear-aspirants that the United States is bargaining from a position of weakness now.  In so many areas – Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, Venezuela, China, and the Republic of Georgia – the U.S. needs Russia more than Russia needs the U.S.  Or so it would seem.

The Russians, with a badly crippled economy, an aged military infrastructure, and a perennially shrinking population just managed to restore itself in the minds of the world as a superpower.  It warranted a bi-lateral treaty with the United States without even breaking a sweat.

Was this treaty really necessary?  Was it necessary now?

New START now goes to the Russian Duma where its members will pretend to read it before rubber-stamping it for President Prime Minister Putin — if we’re lucky.  (If Putin really wants to be a prick, he’ll try to put the screws in us for more concessions now that President Obama has declared victory and can’t very well back out of New START or even a New New START.)

The details of this treaty will trickle out over time, but somehow, somewhere, in some way, the Russians came out ahead.  You just know it.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.