Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Spoiler

Some comments by Anne Applebaum, interviewed by RFE/RL:
"Russia is clearly interested in dividing up the Western alliance -- in separating and creating a bad atmosphere, for example, between Germany and Eastern Europe, as they did over the proposal to build a pipeline directly to Germany across the Baltic. Russia is interested in undermining Western policy in Iran. Russia is interested in possibly undermining Western policy in other places.

"I hope that it's not going to get any worse than that. At the moment Russia isn't militarily or even economically powerful enough to do more than that. It could be in a few years; things could get worse. Much depends on what happens in Russia in the next 18 months. Yes, of course Russia could cause a great deal of trouble for the United States. I don't see right now why it's in Russia's interest to do that. I don't see why lining up nuclear missiles again, pointing at Western Europe, benefits Russia. However, insane politics do happen and people do make decisions that don't make sense.

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"Most of what Putin has done have been gestures that don't have any real significance. If Putin were actually invading Estonia, we would feel differently than about Putin teasing Estonia, or whatever it is that he does. The policy toward Estonia is shameful and terrible, but it's not an invasion. He hasn't even done anything yet that would inspire an actual Western military or even a serious economic response. And I assume that's deliberate, that what he's interested in is spoiling the mood, rather than actually causing trouble."
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