"One Cold War Was Quite Enough"
"Many of you have backgrounds in diplomacy or politics. I have, like your second speaker yesterday [Putin], a starkly different background – a career in the spy business. And, I guess, old spies have a habit of blunt speaking. We all face many common problems and challenges that must be addressed in partnership with other countries, including Russia. ...Indeed it was, but apparently not for Putin. He's looking at his resources -- an economy that with vast improvement will become iffy, a military that is suffering from a lack of both funding and mission, a few little wars and angry ex-Soviet "republics," and fortunately for him, enough oil and gas to choke Europe -- and he sees the benefit of Cold War posturing.
"One Cold War was quite enough." (Source)
Russia is a second-tier nation, doomed for now to that role by history and Communism. Putin sees oil as his trump card -- but what's the point of having a trump card if you have so few chips on the international affairs card table? He needs to bluff importance, and he's doing that in the classic Khrushchevian form of blustering.
Gates called the bluster as Putin squirmed off on a whirlwind Mideast tour. Good call, good timing.
Related Tags: Cold War, Putin, Gates, Foreign affairs, Iraq, Foreign policy