Remember Hillary Clinton’s big success “resetting relations” with Russia?
That was declared the beginning of “smart diplomacy” and in and to the cowboy ways of George Bush. What did all that really smart diplomacy buy us? Well, it’s beginning to look like it bought us a new Cold War. Except this time there’s no Ronald Reagan on the horizon.
The Obama administration has been going out of its way lately to threaten Russia over their military actions in Syria and the Russians are reacting like they don’t remember smart diplomacy. The Russian government is going out of its way to put on a show of preparing people for war at home.
Are you prepared for war?
State television is openly asking Russian citizens if they are prepared for war. Not just any old war, nuclear war. “If that should one day happen, each of you must know where the nearest bomb shelter is.” That was from a report on Russian state television when they took viewers on the tour of a nuclear bomb shelter in Moscow.
Russian state TV is solidly anti-American in their coverage, they are almost as anti-American as U.S. TV networks are anti-Trump. Their reporting is over the top talking about American duplicity, impudence, and threats of Russia’s nuclear options if the United States intervenes to strongly in Syria.
How is your gas mask?
Russia held a large-scale civil defense drill across the country designed to prepare people for disasters – including nuclear disasters. The drill affected 40 million people and on state television it looks like scenes from disaster preparedness exercises from the 50s with schoolchildren evacuating and being taught to put on gas masks.
Who’s in charge?
The Defense Ministry announced how the country would function in time of war, making sure everyone understands who’s in charge. They want to make sure that everyone understands that the central government, Vladimir Putin, would be in charge. Local government administration and the police would report directly to Moscow and the Russian military ran exercises in southern Russia.
How about those nukes?
In addition to rattling sabers on television the Russians deployed nuclear capable missiles within striking distance of Western capitals. Putin has been threatening to deploy nuclear missiles in response to the U.S. antimissile shield being erected in Eastern Europe. With this week’s deployment Putin has accelerated his timetable.
Launching from land or sea.
In addition to moving missiles into land-based positions that can strike your, the Russians conducted a series of ICBM tests, launching three missiles in a single day. Two of those missiles were nuclear capable and were launched from a submarine off Russia’s Pacific coast.
This is not a videogame. Or is it?
In one Russian television report, warning people to identify their nearest fallout shelter the presenter was a retired colonel and he was reviewing several possible scenarios of catastrophe on a map. The map turned out to be a U.S. videogame based on nuclear war with Russia.
Got a bomb shelter?
It turns out after all the saber rattling that the Russian people aren’t taking the war talk all that seriously. One photo on social media showed some young enterprising entrepreneurs in suburban Moscow posting flyers asking residents to donate cash to build a neighborhood bomb shelter. “Hurry, places are limited.”
The Russian people may not be taking this all that seriously but the American people certainly should be. Russia is a bully, and they’ve always been a bully. I’m old enough to remember the 70s when there was real concern about Russia taking over the world. And then Ronald Reagan came along.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their smart diplomacy have given us back the Cold War.
It will be interesting to see what the world looks like four years from now.
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