Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On The Mark -- Playing Games

Here's something that should make one pause for a moment. Soon Russia and China will be teaming up for extensive war games in that region. One-time bitter enemies, that still have differences along some of their shared borders, playing in a region that the U.S. tried to squeeze into after 9/11 as it prepared to invade Afghanistan.

Of course, both nations are "playing" it down, but this is more for international PR than to see how their weapons work and how they react strategically to a situation. Russia wants to get back on the world stage, to be the superpower to balance the U.S. China wants to hint that if Taiwan becomes a military target, that it's not just China the U.S. will have to worry about. And not just Taiwan, North Korea, too. Let's not forget that it wasn't until the Chinese "quietly" got involved in the Korean conflict 50 years ago that discussions for a cease fire began (paraphrasing: a field commander's radio report to a general "We just had a massive firefight with a Chinese battalion;" General: "You're wrong, they're not in this conflict," field commander's response "Like hell they aren't").

No one likes unilateral decisions, and no leadership likes to hear President Bush say all options are on the table, including military, when it comes to Iran, knowing that no one in the world can do anything about it.

As many recent news reports and books have noted, things are changing (back to the old ways) fast in Russia. In fact, one leader is trying to push through a law that would make it illegal for Russian women to marry foreigners, or at the least, make it so they could never return to their homeland and that their extended families would be affected in various ways. Not too far from a law Stalin put in place in 1947 that forbid Russian women from marrying foreigners.

I will be in Russia for the third time this year in a couple weeks and will report a new series of updates on new developments.

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