Relations between Russia and the West, especially with America and the NATO Alliance, has reached new lows yesterday as the Russian Armed Forces launched a missile attack deep into NATO rear areas, sparking alarm in European capitals. This missile attack, located in a the Bay of Biscay (a region Russia has never brooked, even during the Cold War era) shocked officials in Washington DC as well.
Relations between Russia and the West have seriously deteriorated over the last 12 months as Russian President Vladmir Putin fixed the newly revitalized Russian armed forces might. Just last week a top Russian general was quoted as saying his nation would attack ANY nation that threatened Russia OR ITS ALLIES, a blatant threat to the United States who is in a slow-moving show-down with Iran, a major Russian ally. Since the vast majority of US armed forces are completely bogged down in Iraq, Russia has the next 12-18 months to maneuver, until US forces start to head home in 2008-2009. Putin is milking this window of opportunity and along with China appears to be moving towards grabbing strategic goals while the USA is occupied.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and the United Kingdom have also plunged following the radiological attack by Russian secret agents on London, an attack which killed one man and exposed dozens (perhaps hundreds) to high level polonium radiation. Russia also continues to threaten NATO members Poland and Czech for hosting US forces on their territory, saying they would bomb them with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Russia also engaged in a massive cyber-attack on Estonia last year, which completely crippled the computer-dependant nation. Estonia called for help during the attack and asked NATO forces to respond. NATO is now looking into ways to fend off such an attack but the Alliance as a whole is seeing Russia for what it really is; a rogue power-mad bear intent on destroying its neighbors.
The recent Russian bombing run, deep into NATOs strategic rear, is sure to alarm some NATO members and anger others. The Bay of Biscay is in clearly French waters and a French rebuke is likely to come. Madrid may respond as well. US and UK armed forces will now be on hair-trigger alert for any future Russian bomber runs against Europe and North America.
Russian adventurism has also spread to the North Pole, where Russia recently planted a flag in the region which clearly belonged to Canada, trying to illegally claim resources in the area. This move alarmed Ottawa so much that in response it deployed troops and helicopters to the region and began seriously thinking about buying numerous coast guard cutters and naval forces (including submarines) for protection.
Clearly the bear is awake and on the move again.