US and Russia still subtly baiting each other

August 9, 2006

Following the Russian flouting of the US-led arms embargo on Venezuela, and the subsequent US sanctions against several Russian companies, the global powers continue to prod each other like two fat men in a phone box.

Russia labelled the US sanctions ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unjust’, citing the obvious fact that this is the US trying to impose its own national politics on other countries. The US claimed that the Russian companies, including the jet design group who built the simply lovely SU-30, have been selling them to Iran. The last lot of munitions Iran received from the Russians was in 2001, when the USA completely ingored it.

Now Russia has proclaimed it will veto any UN resolution in Lebanon that isn’t fully backed by the Lebanese government, ruining the USA’s usual ‘Israel-can-do-no-wrong’ approach. Russia has also continued to give support to Venezuelan premier Hugo Chavez, America’s new pet bad guy.

This tit-for-tat argument naturally gains Russia tremendous kudos in the Arab countries of the Middle East – the ones the US hasn’t ocupied, that is – and a bit of grudging respect from the increasingly anti-USA European Union. Meanwhile, a painfully overstretched Bush administration looks a little beleaguered on the international stage. Is Russia going to champion a Venezuelan-triggered anti-American movement, fueled by the bully-boy tactics of the Neocons?

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