This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Raising Tensions

"Unfortunately, in the case of these plans -- and we can say with certainty that they are moving toward realization -- this can lead to a violation of the strategic balance in Europe."
"Therefore, of course, that would require Russia to take counter-steps and countermeasures to restore balance and parity."
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman, Russian President Vladimir Putin

"[There is no change to the American] posture. The United States has reduced its non-strategic nuclear weapons by approximately 90 percent since the end of the Cold War."
"Remaining Russian weapons greatly exceed those retained by the United States. We will seek to negotiate an agreement with Russia to address the disparity between the non-strategic nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and the United States in an effort to secure and reduce the number of such weapons in a verifiable manner."
Pentagon spokesman Lt.Col. Joe Sowers 
Alexei Toritsyn / Wikicommons    Iskander-E missile system

The United States administration of President Barack Obama finds itself countered, provoked and out-manoeuvred on all fronts by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The crucial element here is that Mr. Putin found, to his great amusement and for his future relationships with the United States that a gentle push succeeds in America under this administration obligingly moving over. That kind of accommodation has instructed Mr. Putin that push-and-shove succeeds admirably.

The persuasiveness of his argument to Mr. Obama over Syrian 'red lines' in the sand relating to chemical weapons use on Syrian civilians resulted in the charade of those stockpiles being removed. Which did not, unfortunately, stop Bashar al-Assad's ongoing assaults against his Syrian Sunni population; barrel bombs proved to be even more effective than chemical weapons and more efficient, destroying infrastructure as well as vulnerable lives.

And conceivably, Mr. Putin, glowing in his success in passive-aggression, thought why not try out active-aggression, and so he proceeded to agitate in Ukraine where Russian soldiers fought alongside ethnic Russian Ukrainians to defy the central Ukrainian government over ties with the Russian Federation. The partial response to that was the annexation of Crimea; eastern Ukraine is still awaiting its fate.

All of that has been put on the back burner, however. There was Iran's nuclear program to guide the Obama administration toward settling, and now Syria again, to use the pretext of destroying the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in securing indefinitely and likely forever the regime of the Alawite government, satisfying both Iran and Russia, and leaving U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIL a flummoxed situation; any thoughts of unseating al-Assad at the expense of conflict with Russia most unappealing.

Mr. Putin has now progressed to threatening "countermeasures" should the United States proceed with the planned deployment of a more advanced nuclear weapon situated in Germany. On the basis of German media reporting American plans to upgrade its nuclear weapons arsenal in Germany, Mr. Putin warns he will have none of it; so much for secrecy. Nothing alarming, reports Washington, simply catching up.

The replacement of 20 nuclear weapons with a more modern variant of the devices at Buechel airbase in western Germany. Mr. Putin's response would be deploying Iskander missiles, nuclear-capable to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, bordering EU members Poland and Lithuania. The chess game proceeds unabated, with stakes rising ever higher.

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