Recently, Moscow under the direction of President Putin, Russia has begun an aggressive campaign to reassert its influence in the global theater and in Middle East, after it was completely eroded since the post cold war era. Russia, or more specifically, Putin feels that the United States have completely ignored Russian interests for the past two decades and has warned U.S. against ignoring Russian security interests in the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
In fact, Putin has been making verbal attacks against United States and President Bush in order to gain more influence with the nations that has Anti-U.S. sentiments. This was clearly evident in Moscow’s arms deal with Syria, giving Syria multimillion dollars worth of arms, including the sophisticated SS-26 Surface to surface missiles known as Iskander-E and over the objections of both Israel and US, Russia forgave Syria of seventy-three percent of its debts while promising more future aid. President Putin has also warned the US that Russia will take retaliatory action against the new US missile system being built in Europe. Putin’s Foreign Minister even went on to say that Russia will “eliminate” the radar systems and missile interceptors that the US plans on putting in Czech Republic and in Poland.
Russia’s rising power is being felt in most of world’s problems, some not so constructive for world peace. Russia is heavily involved in the development of nuclear material and reactors for Iran while maintaining extremely friendly relations with Syria. Russia is also involved in providing arms to Sudan’s Bashir and even provides Israel with weapons. Clearly, Russia is trying to return to the Cold War Era relations where, Soviet Unions and United States were driven by the desire to gain regional clients for economic, military and political agendas. This is shown by Putin’s growing aggravation against the whole of Europe and European Union.
Just Last week, Russia flew a nuclear capable world war two bomber over US Pacific naval base in Guam unannounced as a “friendly traditional smile and wave” flyby and US pilots scrammed to get US Jet Fighters in the air. Russia is now deeply involved in a game of heavy costs, against not only Europe and US but against the world free world. Only time will tell if Russia gamble will pay off however, for now, Russia is largely ignored and Moscow’s influence being countered by US arms deal to Israel and to the moderate Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.
On a more recent note, from the military action taken in Georgia, we can easily see who is in control. Only the president of Russia can deploy Russian troops however, in the conflict with Georgia, the troops were deployed by Prime Minister Putin from Beijing. Now the government led by Putin is taking the initiative to declare Joseph Stalin the greatest Russian Hero (BBC). These are just a few more indicators of a Russia with little to no freedom and the rising wave of extreme nationalism sponsored by the government in what many Russian historicans call “Putinism.” Already, many senior members of the government are ex-KGB members who are personal friends of Putin. We may see a whole new Russia in 2009.