No one seems to be at all concerned about the security ramifications of Russia pulling out of the conventional arms treaty of 1990s this past weekend, but it is a worrying indication of the country’s precarious stability that such grandiose diplomatic gestures are instrumentalized to achieve such minor objectives. From the Guardian:
Moscow’s ferocious anti-Western rhetoric is set to continue ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections next year to choose Putin’s successor. Some analysts, however, believe Moscow’s move is largely symbolic. The moratorium probably wouldn’t result in any major build-up in heavy weaponry in European Russia, Felgenhauer said. But it would annoy Washington, he conceded. ‘This will be a major irritant. It will seriously spoil relations.’
There is a widespread view here that the United States, which has consistently criticized the pace of Russia’s democratic development under Putin, wants to undermine the country’s newfound self-confidence in its status as a booming energy superpower. Putin’s decision is likely to be viewed not just as a snub of the West, but as further proof that the Russian president has restored the country’s ability to assert its independence. In Russia, the move drew applause from across the political spectrum.