Boondoggle

One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Was Johnny Appleseed a Kyrgyzi?

Previously unknown bit of random trivia: the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan is “home to the genetic parent of all the apples of the planet.”  But that evidently has not been enough to keep the country well-off enough to turn down a $300 million bribe loan from Russia to close down an important U.S. base in the country.

Apples for a base?

Apples for a base?

(image from flickr user Don-Piefcone under a Creative Commons license)

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February 9, 2009 Posted by | Asia, Foreign politics, Russia | , , | Leave a comment

Missiles and anti-missiles

Missiles everywhere!

As far as I understand it, the latest neo-Cold War spat basically boils down to this: the United States, claiming the need to defend its allies against attacks from “rogue states” (and also probably not uninterested in flexing its muscles in Russia’s sensitive backyard) plans to set up a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.  Putin Medvedev gets pissed, and threatens — the day after the election, of course — to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, on its archaic little island of eastern European territory.  Now he says he’ll withdraw Russia’s missile plans if Obama pledges to abandon the missile defense plan.

I’m not sure which is sillier: the decision to install missiles in response to an anti-missile system, or the provocation of constructing said anti-missile system before there are missiles to be “anti-ed.”  This is an oversimplication, of course, but it’s also a nice illustration of the cyclical inanity of heated rearmament — and the heated argument that inevitably accompanies it.

UPDATE: Neil Leslie at The New Atlanticist blog says that both sides are totally overreacting.

(image from flickr user openDemocracy under a Creative Commons license)

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Eastern Europe | , | Leave a comment