In February 2010, I wrote the following –
Another factor not often mentioned in writings about the EU today is the reduction of threat from Russia since Obama took over the Presidency. Whereas Bush rubbed up Putin something rotten, tweaking his ego and rubbing his nose in the humiliation of losing Russia’ empire by expanding NATO right up to his door step, Obama seems to have rotated American foreign policy to the point where Russia now supports American-proposed sanctions against Iran. That would have been unthinkable under Bush. The focus with Obama has moved on to concern not with Russia as a future threat but China.
With the USA re-arming Taiwan and shaking hands with India, Germans can at last, after almost a hundred years, be more relaxed about their immdiate borders. The EU is less important than it was in this strategic sum, and not worth as much sweat to maintain as in previous decades.
Russia seems to be tamed, for now, by the emergence of China to superpower status. It is not inconceivable that Russia could in time be joining in with NATO.
A few months later, and it appears that the Obama overtures to Russian reasonableness have fallen on stony ground. The US arming of Poland with anti-missile and anti-aircraft capability is back on the agenda. Ukraine is being courted once more to join NATO.
this Wall Street Journal article indicates, the attempted thaw in relations is over.
When Mr. Obama decided last year to scale back a Bush administration initiative to construct an anti-missile shield in Europe that would be able to knock down incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles, some critics said he risked alienating U.S. allies.
But on Saturday, Mr. Sikorski said, “the new version is a better one for us,” and chided reporters for not believing Polish government statements to that effect at the time of Mr. Obama’s announcement. “I think you didn’t believe us,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also witnessed the signing of the accord at Krakow’s City Hall, said the new strategy is a better way to deal with “evolving missile threats, especially from Iran,” and would be able to protect parts of Europe more quickly than the Bush plan.
She also sought to reassure Russia, which has objected to the cooperation between the U.S. and Poland, that the missile-defense effort was not directed against its arsenal of ballistic missiles. “This is purely a defensive system. It’s not directed at Russia. It is not a threat to Russia.” Mrs. Clinton reiterated a U.S. invitation to Moscow to join in missile-defense efforts. “We believe the threats that we all face are common ones.” And Mr. Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, said that Poland is willing to allow Russia to inspect its anti-missile facilities in order to reassure Moscow.
U.S. troops are already conducting training exercises with their Polish counterparts involving Patriot anti-missile and anti-aircraft interceptors. The Patriot battery is being set up on a Polish military installation near the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, home to Russian air and naval bases.
Mrs. Clinton was in Poland Saturday between visits to Ukraine and Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. And she reiterated Washington’s insistence that Russia end its “occupation” of two contested parts of Georgia, where Russian troops remain after Russia’s military incursion into Georgia in 2008.
I wonder if the assassination of President Kaczinsky had anything to do with it. The scales are falling from the US Administration’s eyes.
Recent Spying revelations –
One expert points out that “deep sleeper” operations of the kind uncovered in the US have had huge success in recent years.
The most notable was the treachery committed by an Estonian diplomat serving at Nato headquarters in Brussels, whose controller and paymaster was a Russian agent posing as a Spanish national. The information acquired by the Russians did incalculable damage to Nato, say experts.
Another expert suggests that Russia’s spy chiefs today deploy between 30 and 35 intelligence officers at the country’s official missions in London, operating an espionage effort of the same intensity as the one conducted by the KGB at the end of the cold war.
Relations between the UK and Russia hit a post-Soviet low after Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy, was murdered in London in 2006. Moscow subsequently refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the former KGB agent suspected of the killing.
Although the UK and Russia are trying to restart their often fraught diplomatic relationship, there is little sign that Moscow is relaxing its spying efforts in London or Europe.
Up to 50 per cent of Russian officials operating in European capitals are thought to be intelligence officers, according to Financial Times sources.
In addition, Russia is acquiring considerable technical sophistication in cyberwarfare in its attempts to acquire government and business secrets.
It all sounds like trouble on the way. China will be delighted if her commercial and military rivals get themselves knotted up in conflict.