Over the last week Russia has redrawn the geo-political map of a vital strategic region notes the Guardian today. Russia has shown that it has risen from its embarrassing collapse in the early 90’s, like a phoenix from the ashes. Through Georgia and South Ossetia, America and Russia have fought a one way proxy war, and the west decided to leave Georgia in the cold. I have no doubt that they have encouraged the Georgian president, and now the west and President Saakashvili have egg on their faces.
I believe that this debacle was a “test of the water”, to see what type of response Russia would give under the new Medvedev/Putin regime. There is a good reason for this interest. Russia maintains strong but loose links to Tehran, and it is Russia that stops the US attacking Iran over its nuclear policy via its veto in the UN Security Council. Both Russia and China supply the majority of missile technology that allow the Iranians to build and maintain the Shahab-3 rocket systems which the Iranians might use to launch nuclear bombs.
The US strongly believes that it needs to stop the Iranian nuclear industry in its tracks. It doesn’t feel it can risk a Muslim state with the power to develop nuclear weapons, especially one that has proven long range missile delivery systems that in the near future could reach all of Israel (As a note, Pakistan is an “ally” and run by a dictator, hence not “Muslim controlled”).
I believe that had their gamble worked in Georgia, an attack on Iran would have been much easier for them to go ahead with. They would have known that Russia did not have the balls to stop them. Now the situation has almost been reversed, and they have absolutely no idea what Putin will do, if, and this is the most probable outcome; Israel bombs key Iranian nuclear facilities.
Please note that Israel needs a very valid reason to bomb Iranian sovereign territory, so be prepared to see something happen that gives Israel “due cause to retaliate”, before this November, as President Bush needs Israel to do this before he leaves office.
What is most interesting about all of this, is Europe’s response to the whole thing, which was tepid at best. It shows the weight Russia holds in terms of energy in Europe, and the Europeans are quick to appease (and these are Nato countries). I don’t blame Europe, since they are energy dependent on Russian oil and gas.
The US is already starting to talk about energy independence, but now they REALLY need it. If the US is to match Russia in the years to come, they need to offer Europe another option for energy generation, that doesn’t leave Europe dependent on Russian oil and gas.
Sadly, the US might have left this too late. Their own system of pandering to the oil lobbyists in Washington have made sure that alternative energy has remained on the sidelines. I have no doubt that Houston will remain rich, but the rest of the US will continue to decline as a result of this lack of forethought.