Moscow Spins Overextended Intrigues in the Middle East

15 Mar 2017

(EDM) The whirlwind of Russian scandals continues to spread across government offices in Washington, DC; but in Moscow the impression is gradually forming that those scandals will soon blow over, so it is time to prepare Russia’s diplomatic moves and pile up the bargaining chips. The most urgent issue is perhaps the North Koreans’ nuclear misbehavior. But Russian diplomacy has little to say on the matter except to engage in inconsequential protestations against both Pyongyang’s missile tests and the United States’ deployments of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea (RBC, March 7). The traditionally useful arms control avenue is presently blocked by the US refusal to tolerate Russia’s serial violations of the 1988 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which causes “disappointment” in the Russian foreign ministry (RIA Novosti, March 10). The Middle East is the only area where Moscow might be able to suggest meaningful cooperative measures, as defeating the Islamic State and exterminating international terrorist networks is a high-priority goal for Washington. Therefore, in the last couple of weeks, Russia has mobilized every diplomatic and military asset to try to boost its profile in the region (see EDM, March 8). [...]

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