The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, April 28, 2006

Russia selling military hardware to Iran... and Israel

It's no secret that Vladimir Putin has been slowly but surely steering Russia on a course to the far right. And Russia and China have been trying to strengthen economic ties to the Middle East for at least the last decade-- they want those oil deals just as much as our government.

This op-ed from the LA Times seems to be suggesting that Russia is taking things a step further by selling arms in the region. And the author is clearly implying that it's with an eye toward further destabilizing the region.

When the war begins, it will be between Iran and Israel. Before it ends, though, it may set the whole of the Middle East on fire, pulling in the United States, leaving a legacy of instability that will last for generations and permanently ending a century of American supremacy.

Despite the high stakes, the Bush administration seems barely to have noticed the danger posed by the Russian missile sale. But the signs are there, for those inclined to read them.(. . .)

Russian leaders continue to mouth the usual diplomatic platitudes about democracy and global cooperation, but Russia is actually playing a complex double game. On Tuesday, Russia launched a spy satellite for Israel, which the Israelis can use to monitor Iran's nuclear facilities. On the same day, Russian leaders confirmed their opposition to any U.N. Security Council effort to impose sanctions against Iran, and their intention to go through with the lucrative sale of 29 Tor M1 air defense missile systems to Iran.

"There are no circumstances which would get in the way of us carrying out our commitments in the field of military cooperation with Iran," declared Nikolai Spassky, deputy head of Russia's National Security Council.

The upcoming deployment of Tor missiles around Iranian nuclear sites dramatically changes the calculus in the Middle East, and it significantly increases the risk of a regional war. Once the missile systems are deployed, Iran's air defenses will become far more sophisticated, and Israel will likely lose whatever ability it now has to unilaterally destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

The implications are enormous. With the US already committed to military action (and not just support) in the region and hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign debt we've already accrued to "pay" for it, further instability means hundreds of billions more-- all in debt owed to foreign countries. In short, a destabilized Middle East that swings toward Russia and China could mean that BushCo set us on the course of transforming the United States from a superpower to an economic and diplomatic basket case.