It seems that Russia’s new post-Cold War strategy is based on the urban myth that if you’re approached by a group of muggers you should act like a lunatic, as that’ll confuse them and make them go away. How else to explain Medvedev’s “we’re not afraid of a new Cold War” comments?
I mean, Putin saying that the fall of the USSR was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century is one thing, but wanting the Cold War back? An isolated, starving, impoverished Russia relying on slave labour and a culture of fear to maintain its crumbling infrastructure? He’s not afraid of that?
I’m beginning to think that Putin/Medvedev have seriously misread their hand here. After all, you don’t talk about how
“Russia is a state which has to ensure its interests along the whole length of its border. This is absolutely clear.”
just before heading off to a meeting of, erm… states that share borders with you unless you’re either very confident, or you have no clue whatsoever how to conduct international diplomacy. And all they’re doing by being unpredictable and belligerent is showing Europe and the West that we were right all along to think that Russia was an unreliable business partner, and so to look elsewhere for energy sources. Russia’s acting like the shopkeeper who threatens his customers. Yes, we may put up with it for a while due to the inconvenient locations of the other shops – but other shops there are.
More, hopefully, later. There have been some truly bizarre developments over the last few days, and I’m still trying to get my head past the mental image I now have of Russia as that big kid at school who’d go around trying to bully people, but couldn’t actually throw a punch.