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Russia: Who Is The Enemy?
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May 30, 2007: Russia claims that a new model of its SS-24 ICBM can penetrate any defensive system. This claim is aimed at the new anti-missile system being built in Eastern Europe, to defend against possible attacks by North Korea or Iran. Russia, however, insists that the real target is Russian ICBMs, and thus the new SS-24 will deal with that. This logic mystifies Europeans and Americans, who see no situation where they would be under attack by Russian missiles. The best explanation for all this is that the Russian government is simply doing what is popular. Traditionally, Russia has been surrounded by enemies. Most Russians just assume that is true, even when it isn't. So when the Russian government goes on about all the hostile states on its borders, and what is being done to defend the country, the Russian people feel good. Yeah, it's weird, but that's the way it is at the moment.

May 29, 2007: Russia is turning into a police state. Well, no, Russia always has been a police state. Democracy is seen as some alien, unreliable form of government. Most Russians prefer a strong leader, although they would like to have the economic benefits that a democratic form of government brings. Right now, most of the prosperity in Russia comes from exports of oil and natural gas. Without it, the economic growth would be a lot less, because Russia is still cursed with lots of corruption and general inefficiency.

May 28, 2007: Russia is installing a battalion of new S-400 anti-aircraft missiles around Moscow. This new system is said to be able to detect stealth aircraft, implying that the hypothetical enemy is the United States.

May 27, 2007: The prime minister and president of Ukraine avoided a civil war by agreeing to hold early elections in September. The country is still divided between pro and anti-Russian factions. While ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are a minority, many ethnic Ukrainians are also pro-Russian for economic, and other reasons. The two senior leaders were forcing military and security units to choose sides, when cooler heads prevailed, and new elections were agreed on.

May 23, 2007: Russia refused a British request to extradite the chief suspect (a former KGB agent) in the murder of another former KGB man in Britain last year. A radioactive substance was used to kill the victim, and British detectives were able to use traces of the radiation to track the murderer back to Russia. However, Russia denies that it is attacking exiles who say unflattering things about the Russian government, but that is something that has been going on for nearly a century, and apparently continues. Of course, you deny you are doing that sort of thing, but you can't hide the dead bodies. All this goes hand-in-hand with an increase in the Russian use of spies to steal economic, military and political secrets in the West.

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trenchsol    Russia and China   5/30/2007 7:14:38 AM
I suspect that there is more domocracy in China than in Russia. Russia claims that it is not a communist country any more, but the power is highly centralized. On the other hand, China has one rulling party, with many members, which operates in nontransparent manner, but they have to reach some kind of agreement among their ranks.


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Photon       5/30/2007 11:01:32 PM
I do not see 'nationalistic' Russians any more sympathetic than 'radical' Arabs.  In both cases, people would rather cherish age-old delusions and fill their heads with 'feel good' sort of things.  As for the Russians not wanting to part with anti-American paranoia, perhaps someone from Washington ought to remind blokes in Moscow that, if the Americans really wanted to duke it out with the Russians, Cuban Missile Crisis might have ended rather differently.  It took quite a while before the Russians achieved nuke parity vis-á-vis the Americans.  Meanwhile, a fleet of tens of thousands of Russian tanks would have been useless outside whatever within reach before they ran low on fuel.  Not that plowing Central Europe with tank tracks made in Russia would have reaped anything decisive.  I am getting sick and tired of Russian paranoia!

Might as well help the hopeless Russians to realize their very own paranoia:  In no uncertain terms, make them feel and suffer the difference between merely cherishing one's own paranoia vs. questioning one's own survival while there is hell on one's own backyard.
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Jeff_F_F       6/8/2007 3:27:24 PM
The US wouldn't have had to nuke Russia. They just would have had to refuse to feed them for a few years until the country starved.
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