In the past few months, things have been unfolding in a quite peculiar way for Russia. After the assassination of the former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in November 2006 (a case with many ups and turns) and the anti-American remarks of President Vladimir Putin in early February this year (2007), this April we had a clear sign from Moscow that Russia will continue with more surprises. Russia is tired of listening to the rhetoric of the Western-Russian “friendship”, Russia is tired of just going with the American lead West that, while advocating friendship, it pursues its own interests. It would be naïve to think that Russia will forever keep its head down because it lost the Cold War. It has been 20 years since then, obviously, things have changed…

The problem – What is it this time?

USA, has been planning in building a radar and an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, apparently these plans are about to become reality and Russia is not happy about it. America is arguing that these anti-missile facilities are to protect NATO from possible new threats of ‘”rogue states” like Iran’ (Condoleezza Rice). However, Russia “claims” it is not that stupid in believing this American non-sense. If US wants protection from Iran, it would build such facilities in Hungary, Greece, Romania or Bulgaria, which are closer to Iran and more on its hypothetical ballistic missiles trajectories. One should also take in consideration that it would not make any sense for Russia to be upset about these facilities if it did not consider them a threat. After all, Russian intelligent service probably knows more than we will ever do and there is little doubt that they would not know precisely why NATO needs anti-ballistic missiles in the heart of Poland.

But what can you do?

On the 26th of April, Vladimir Putin, in his address to the nation, not only criticised NATO for its practices and disregards towards its big and powerful neighbour but he also suspended a key treaty with this organization (The Conventional Forces in Europe [CFE]). “A major 1990 agreement limiting troop deployments in NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries” – AFP. However if you look in depth of this treaty, questions arise…

Why has this treaty only been ratified by Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, none of which are NATO members? Why is NATO asking for Russia to retreat troops from Moldova and Georgia in exchange for ratifying the treaty? If Western countries want to encourage peace, why does Russia have to retreat troops that by no means are a threat to Western security?

Even this treaty does not seem like credible evidence to support the idea of equal partnership between Russia and the Western world. It is clear that Russia is being disadvantaged and any rational being realizes that Kremlin will not put up with this forever.

How about the future?

Fortune-tellers say they can tell the future, but in reality, little is known about the future. USA will probably continue to defy Russia, at least officially, but Russia will not tolerate this forever. However, at a more subtle level, there are attempts by Washington to use its diplomacy in order to solve any misunderstandings. It is all up to the wisdom of both actors to come to a solution, if not, one can only expect the worse.

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