Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Now That's Smart Diplomacy

The Russians may be reverting to paranoid historical form, to our detriment, but you have to hand it to the Russians for their nuanced foreign policy.

Not only did the Russians get a renewed naval lease in the Crimea from Ukraine, but the Russians effectively blocked NATO membership for Ukraine even under a pro-Western, non-lackey president, by taking advantage of NATO's own rules:

Ukraine took some giant steps away from Brussels towards Moscow this week. An agreement between the new Ukrainian president and the Russians extends Russia’s lease on its Crimean naval bases for another 25 years in exchange for a 30 percent cut in natural gas prices. Because NATO does not allow members to host non-NATO bases on their soil, this means that Ukraine is essentially blocked from joining NATO past 2040. Perhaps more significantly the closer economic relationship with Russia makes Ukraine’s membership in the EU less likely as well.

And the Russians nipped closer economic integration with the West in the bud, erasing that half-way stop to NATO membership. Bravo, Mr. Putin.

I do hope Hillary Clinton is taking notes. I'm reasonably sure that there will be a test at some point.