Friday, February 22, 2008

Whither Russia's Credibility?

Yet Moscow was already backtracking on its own bluff at that point. President Vladimir Putin, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Russian bicameral parliament all blinked deeply during February 14-18. And on February 20 the Duma’s international affairs committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev inadvertently demonstrated the insolvency of Russia’s threats all along to “recognize” Abkhazia and South Ossetia or other post-Soviet secessionists: Such a move, Kosachev finally admitted, “would have brought far more losses than gains, triggering a very serious crisis in the CIS, and exacerbating Russia’s relations with NATO, the European Union, and the United States."

The Bear howled and yowled and growled. It stomped its feet and huffed and puffed...and...didn't do a thing. What does this do to Russia's adversarial credibility? If you cast yourself as a great power that is frequently in opposition to the West and especially American interests, then shouldn't you follow up with what you say you are going to do? Or was the bluff simply oh-so-much hot air. Like GLONASS. Like so many things these days from Russia?

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