In Iran, Mr. Putin pledged that he would not "renounce our obligations" regarding a nuclear power plant Russia is building in the Iranian port city of Bushehr. He insisted that Iran's "main objectives" in seeking nuclear technology "are peaceful." And he underscored Russia's burgeoning economic ties with the Islamic Republic, which "has already reached $2 billion."
Anyone harboring illusions that Russia can be brought aboard for a tougher round of U.N. sanctions against Iran might want to read these statements twice. Similarly, anyone who thought Russia could be won over to the deployment of a limited U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic should have paid closer attention to Mr. Putin's message to Condoleezza Rice and Bob Gates: "Of course, we can some time in the future decide that some antimissile defense should be established somewhere on the moon," said Mr. Putin, with more sarcasm than wit. He offered this observation after keeping his American guests cooling their heels for 40 minutes, a tactic that recalls the habits of the late Syrian strongman Hafez Assad.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
A Touch of Reality
The Wall Street Journal has a sensible editorial on The Putin Touch. Excerpt: