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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Annals of Cold War II: The Escalation

Here's something for those who dote on irony: at the same time as Russia was telling the world to go to hell in Murmansk, announcing that it would not allow foreign partipation in the development of the Shtokman gas fields in the North Sea, in Moscow it was begging the world to give Russia the 2014 winter Olympic games.

The Winter Games have never been held in Russia, and the proposed location, Sochi, is a stone's throw from the Chechen terrorists. It's far more famous in Russia as a beach resort than for its winter sports. Yet, Russia sees no inconsistency in taking the Shtokman action, which will doom foreign investment in Russia (offended are countries ranging from neighbor Norway, a perennial winter games power, to the world's most mighty nation, the U.S.).

Does Russia really imagine that it can have both ways? Even if the Olympic bid is just for show, does it really think it can totally alienate foreign investment and world opinion and go it alone? Is it possible for the Kremlin to be THAT drunk on oil fumes?

Seems quite possible.

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