Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Meet the new boss...beholden to the old boss...

Russia has a Putin puppet new president today, sort of. Dimitri Medvedev, Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor, was sworn in a few hours ago in an elaborate and opulent Kremlin ceremony. Putin stood at his shoulder as he took his oath and after the ceremony, they walked out of the Kremlin Palace together to survey the grounds and review the presidential guard.

The Parliament is expected to confirm Mr. Putin as Prime Minister tomorrow, and on Friday the ceremonies will conclude with a Soviet-style military parade in Red Square - bombers will buzz overhead, low and loud and tanks will rumble through, just like the old days.

Russia is emerging as a superpower, no matter what the chucklehead who was chattering on NPR this morning as I was stirring from sleep says. I actually woke up to some jackass from Panorama blathering on about Russia and saying that yes, they have natural resources and hydrocarbons, but really, they are just a third-world country..."Russia's main priority is to stop pretending it's a great power, which it isn't. Russia may have natural resources and a lot of potential, but it's a Third World country," were his exact words.

I have never seen combat, but I woke up screaming.

Let's go over the three prerequisites to be considered a superpower:

Nuclear weapons. Check. Russia has something like ten thousand of them with the capacity to reach anywhere on the globe and they have tested a new MRV and missile in the last year.

Economic clout. Check. Russia has that in spades, and they aren't mortgaged to China for the next three generations.

A Blue-Water Navy. Check. Russia has carriers and subs and a large, seagoing fleet.

Any country that possessed those three elements has the ability to project power around the world. And saying words that indicate otherwise does not change that reality. Russia has all three and China is poised on the edge.

Like it or not, we are not the only game in town any more, and we are not really in a position to get too damned chirpy with either Russia or China right now.

And there is yet another reason why we sure as hell can't have McCain at the helm in this country.

If we are going to avoid another cold war, we have to have a president who looks ahead to the future, not back to an adversarial past.

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