Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friction With Russia May Spell Trouble for U.S.

The more things change...

Friction With Russia May Spell Trouble for U.S. -

"Still, although the confrontation over Georgia had been building for years, the outbreak of violence demonstrated just how abruptly the international scene can change. Now Russia is the top focus in Washington and some veteran diplomats fret about the situation spiraling out of control. “Outrage is not a policy,” said Strobe Talbott, who was deputy secretary of state under Bill Clinton and now is president of the Brookings Institution. “Worry is not a policy. Indignation is not a policy. Even though outrage, worry and indignation are all appropriate in this situation, they shouldn’t be mistaken for policy and they shouldn’t be mistaken for strategy.”"

Ilves, the president of Estonia, said it best last week: For the past fifteen years, NATO's strategy has been predicated on Russia's continued passiveness. It's as though the West has forgotten Russia's history. But, unsurprisingly, Russian never forgot.

Oil shot up five bucks a barrel today, largely on concerns that Russia could monkey around with deliveries. Russia is just behind Saudi Arabia in daily oil production, though a fair amount of that oil goes to domestic use, which makes Russia the number two oil producer. (Its reserves are probably far smaller than Saudi Arabia's.) It holds far and away the largest natural gas reserves in the world -- something like fully 1/3 of the natural gas on the planet is beneath the Russian Federation.

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