ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | The Russians Are Back

The Russians Are Back

 

15 August 2008

By Yisrael Ne'eman

These past two weeks the Russians put themselves back on the map as a major player in international politics. The Georgians may have overplayed their hand somewhat but there was no local reason for a full scale Russian invasion due to the disagreement over South Ossetia. It was simply a convenient excuse for Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medved to flex their muscles warning the West that any gains made in the last two decades at Russia’s expense are now in danger, or at least Russia is no longer in retreat.

Today’s pro-Western former Soviet republics and former Eastern European satellite states are understandably worried. In the Middle East, Israel figured the Russians were only partially in the game due to their support for Iran and especially Syria but most felt that compromises could be worked out with the Russians, an approach not possible from the 1960s to the 1980s in the heyday of Soviet support for the Arab confrontation states with Israel. Such thinking may now be considered “wishful”.