Monday, July 16, 2007
Both Gordon Brown and Vladimir Putin are now faced with a question. Does Moscow accept the British response as limited and proportionate to London's very clear anger at the Kremlin's unwillingness to accede to its request? At what point does London decide that this case cannot overshadow other very important British interests (not the least of which is the growing economic interdependence between the two countries). Can London sanction sections of "official Russia" but not interrupt the continued flow of "private-sector Russia" into Britain--which does not only benefit Russia but the UK as well? Will Gordon Brown ask for solidarity from his European and American colleagues in putting pressure on Russia? Will the Kremlin decide that, if it does not extradite Lugovoy, it should undertake a much more transparent and thorough investigation that would satisfy Britain's concerns?
Will we see ripple effects in the US-Russia and German-Russia relations?
Overall, are we now on autopilot--the way that train mobilization schedules drove declarations of war in 1914--or can this crisis be navigated?
Does this imply that we will see a strenghtened German-British effort to tame Russia? Some interesting remarks can be found in today's article on the Atlantic Community, which furthermore calls for comments:
Will Brown's Dinner With Merkel Leave Bush Hungry?
Interesting that he titles it Britain picks a fight it cannot win.
And considering the level of strategic acuity that got us into the two wars we are now losing, I would not rule out the West undertaking another Barbarossa in an attempt to keep the Russians from wasting our energy on their own needs how dare they even think of it!