Friday, June 6, 2008

Russia & Iran: Avoiding a New Cold War

Earlier this year, I mentioned that pressure needed to be brought down on Russia's support of Iran's nuclear project so that Iran would not be encouraged to ignore Western political pressure. But there is another reason as well. CNN reported today that a key Israeli government member gave Iran an explicit warning of ceasing their nuke program, or else Israel will attack. If things stay on the same path, and Israel does have to perform a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear installations, it is vital for American interests that no Iranian based Russian workers are involved in the matter.

Russian leader Putin has shown willingness in the past to play chicken with the safety of his people in foreign borders, having assumed that no one would risk Russian wrath, and having accepted that performing violence against anyone who dares threaten citizens of Russia is perfectly legitimate, even if poor judgment placed them in harm's way to begin with. American and her allies must make it clear to Russia, that if any of their workers were to become casualties in any conflict between Iran and Israel, then Russia would have no legitimate option for vendetta under international norms and beliefs. What do you think Russia's reaction would be if Iran was attacked and some of its people were killed in the process?

The current situation is a risk for a 21st Century cold war, where Russia could be tempted to openly support terror orientated governments in the name of pseudo "justice". Russia must be made to understand that it is its own fault if it fails to adequately remove it workers from harm's way. Indeed, even Iran would not be in danger of an Israeli strike if not for Russia pushing the timetable of Iran's nuclear program ahead of any attempts by the West to seek peaceful solutions to the burgeoning conflict. It may already be too late to avoid further conflict in the Middle East, but let's make sure it does not become a decades long cold war between East and West as well.

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