Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Russia And Iran Planning Strategic Alliance


According to Iran's Fars news agency, Russia is in the process of working out increased aid and formal security agreements with Iran.

The Russians, after dragging their feet for a while have decided to put a rush on completing the Bushehr nuclear plant, which the Russians say should be completed sometime between December 2008 and February 2009.

They've given up even the pretense of doing anything to cooperate with sanctions on Iran.

And they are also talking about increasing aid to Iran's nuclear program, including materials and the training of scientists.

The Russians are also apparently in the process of negotiating with Iran to establish naval bases in Iranian territory on the Caspian Sea and on Iranian-held Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf. Once this is in place, it would not only protect Iran's missile launchers, nuclear sites and refineries from attack, it would challenge the US for control of the vital Persian Gulf oil routes.

An interesting sidelight to this was Vice President Cheney's recent trip to Azerbaijan, designed to shore up our alliance with the Caspian Sea country, assure that the vital energy pipeline, Europe's sole link with the oil and gas of Central Asia remains open and to push for approval of the new trans-Caspian Nabucco pipeline that would allow the shipment of gas from the Caspian section of Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and then to Europe...by passing Russia and Iran. Iran and Russia oppose the construction of the new pipeline, as you can imagine.

The trip didn't go well, one of the consequences that happen when you allow an ally of yours to get stomped - especially when that ally, Georgia, is right next door.

The Azeris approved a deal for security cooperation and military aid with the US last year, but are now being a lot more cautious about upsetting the Russians.

That caution is likely to continue and accelerate unless we find a way to cage the Bear and show countries like Azerbaijan that an alliance with the US is not merely a matter of convenience.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bush's response to the Georgian invasion was so pathetic. Unless he's secretly arming the Georgians for a winter counteroffensive (yeah right), we can only hope McCain/Palin will do better.

B.Poster said...

"That caution is likely to continue unless we find a way to cage the Bear and show countries like Azerbaign that an aliance with the US is not merely a matter of convenience." I agree.

As it stands right now, there was really nothing we could have done to thwart Russia in Georgia. The US is simply not in a position to match up well with Russia in any phase right now. The US military is stretched to thin and the forces it has are worn thin from the continuing operations in Irq and Afghanistan. In addition to this, with its massive national debt there is simply no realistic way for the US to compete with the Russians in a renewed Cold War at present.

This can be changed. The US could go on a war footing and it could change its spending policies getting the defict under control. Until this happens, there is simply no way barring somehting super natural that the United States can compete with Russia right now. Notice I say "right now/" Russia's population may crash and it may cease to be a major power at some date in the future but as this is being typed Russia is by far and away the most powerful nation on earth.

The United States is viewed by Russia as its main enemy. The US really has two main options right now. 1.) Stall the Russians until it can be better prepared to face Russia. There is no way to face Russia right now and win. 2.)Concede the field to Russia and face whatever consequences there may be. In other words, sue for peace.

There is potentially a third option. Persueade the Europeans to invest more in their militaries. This would help take some of the pressure off of the United States. This is actually in Europe's best interest. As it stands now, they will be swallowed up next. Unfortunately they seem far to craven to do any thing as sensible as invest more in their national defense.

The Bushehr nuclear plant will be completed sometime between December 2008 and January of 2009.
I expect Israel to strike before this is completed. I have always expected we would wake up some morning and learn that Israel had taken out Iran's nuclear program. If this is allowed to go online, Israel is placed in an more perilous situation than it is already in. I don't expect them to allow this to happen.

It will have to be done by the Israelis. They are the only ones in the free world who have the technical expertise or the flying skills to get past Iran's Russian supplied and trained air force or Iran's supplied defense systems. They will take out Iran's nuclear program and be back home before any one knows what happened.

B.Poster said...

The article about Azerbaijan reads more like a propaganda piece than ti does a raw news piece. The biggest example is the author accuses Dick Cheney of trying to reignite the cold war but ignores Russia's responsibilies. This does not happen in a vacum. Also, the author repeats the Russian propaganda line of how Georgia started the fight. The Russian propaganda that is being spread by the main stream media does do one thing for the US. It gives them a face saving way to abandon Georgia which it seems many American officials are keen to do.

Unfortunately Russia has invested to much energy in portraying America as its main enemy and as the world's main villian to back off simply because the US cedes the field to them. I see no choice but to rearm for the new Cold War. If we get our budget deficits under control it might be possible to afford this. Also, increasing the size and capabilities of the military will be paramount. Of course we have allowed the Russians to get ahead of us in most areas. We would be starting from a position of being behind. Defeating Russia is not impossible but it will take work and sacrifice.

Optimially the new pipe line by passing Russia would be built. The Western Europeans and others should build up their military capabilities to help defend it. The US should also be prepared to assist. While Russian military capabilities are largely superior to America's, America still does have a formidable nuclear arsenal. This formidable nuclear arsenal and other military capabilites may just be able to make things painful enough for the Russians that we can hold them off until we can field a military capability that can compete with them.

The other option might be to withdraw entirely from Europe and leave the field to Russia, secure our borders, and place a moratorium on immigration. We would then need to develop our military capabilities to a level that is on par with the Russians. Of course I don't like cedeing ground to a bully and an implacable enemy. In any event, we will probably need to buy ourselves some time somehow if we expect to compete with Russia on the battlefield. Today it simply does not seem feasible for us to do so.

This is not meant to be pessimistic, simply a realistic assessment of where we are. Dfeating Russia and caging the Bear is doable but it will be difficult. I do not think we are going to be able to over power them, however, we can out think them. This is what Reagan and his advisors did. They outsmarted the Russians. When Reagan came into office, over powering the Russians would not have been possible, so he defeated the evil empire by out smarting it!!

Finally, in deciding who the next president will be, Americans need to ask themselves who will be best able to represent American interests in the face of a resurgent Russia. This is part of where the author of the ariticle about the Azerbaijan is either a Russian shill or he is fundamentally confused. He seems to suggest that by electing Barack Obama this will lessen tensions. The exact opposite may be true. Obama is seen as the "dove." McCain is seen as the "hawk." By electing the dove this may send a signal to Russia that the United States is weak and ripe to be liquidated. Eelcting the hawk may send the signal that America is reeay and willing to fight for its interests and not to meekly submit to others. The author's fundamental error is in assuming that it is going to be entirely up to the US to bring down tensions. The Russians will need to do their part as well. American actions do not happen in a vacum.

B.Poster said...

Anonymous,

The Russians are accusing the US of using the ships that are attempting to bring aid to the Georgians of trying to rearm the Georgians. If so, the Russians could do any of the follwoing: 1.)Block entry to the ports threatening to fire on the US ships thus daring them to cross. If the US fails to back down, it facing a media backlash for escalating the conflict. 2.) Demand access to the aid ships to do a complete search of the vessels to verify that no weapons are being smuggled in. If the US refuses, it gets blasted in the media for refusing a legitimate Russian request to safeguard its national defense needs.

In other words, the Russians could very easily end the aid shipments today, if they really wanted to. They don't want to. The ships serve a propaganda purpose for them. If calm is to be restored, the Russians will need to tone down the rhetoric being directed at the US. As the US rhetoric is largely a reaction to the Russian rhetoric and actions, it would be expected to subside once the Russians tone it down.

You are right the response of the Bush Administraion was pathetic. Georgia was a de facto member of NATO and it was largely abandoned. I would expect other NATO applicants to reevaluate their situations. Also, I would expect some members of the organization to reeavaluate their membership in the organization. Barring a major change I expect NATO will cease to exist by 2010.

B.Poster said...

It seems the Rusians may have delayed this project yet again. Something about technical difficulties and halting uranium enrichment. I think most informed people know that both are a farce. The real reason is both the Russians and the Iranians know the Israelis will never allow this project to be completed. They will destroy it. That is unless Russia is able to vastly improve Iran's air defenses to guard the facility. That is what the delay is really all about. Taking the time to improve Iran's air defenses. Of course I'm sure the Israelis know this and are working to improve their strike capabilities. The Israelis will never allow this reactor to come on line. When they stop it, the entire free world, as well as the entire world will owe the Israelis a debt of gratitude.