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News Hyped Russia Threat?

  1. Mar 17, 2009 #1
    Listening to most news and radio programs, McCain after the Georgia invasion, etc, the conclusion could be reached that Russia is the USSR once again, Russia poses many threats to the US and the west, Russia and China and Iran will form an axis of evil, etc...
    However, an article I read in the most recent edition of Reason magazine seems to paint a more realistic picture. For example, Russia's recent war with Georgia demonstrates, for one, Moscow's isolation (Russia could only find two states to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkazia, and former Soviet allies wouldn't recognize their independence even after being offered cheap gas), and also the many problems with Russia's army, including a lack of modern weapons, fragile military vehicles, etc.
    Furthermore, Russia's economy has taken a serious hit and much dissension has ensued in East Russia over tariff issues.
    So what do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2
    What is evil? What makes US 'opposite of evil'?

    I am also reading about that recently
    (e.g. from bbc..http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7947824.stm).
    But, it's not all bad IMO.

    Edit: Hilary went to Russia few weeks ago:
    But, I don't know the outcomes or if it really had any effect.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  4. Mar 17, 2009 #3
    You refer to the button with the mistranslation. On Leno, there was a hilarious scene where Hillary pushed the button and a mushroom cloud appeared in the background. :)
  5. Mar 17, 2009 #4


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    It is unfortunate and unproductive to use rhetoric such as 'axis of evil'. Russia, China and Iran, and India, Brazil, Venezuela, . . . . have competing interests, namely access to energy, minerals, etc.

    Russia is trying to reassert itself, and that is quite understandable. China has been very successful economically, and plans to continue. Iran, India, et al have aspirations - and some aspirations may lead to international conflict.

    It will make for interesting times ahead.
  6. Mar 17, 2009 #5


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    The largest threat posed by Russia, IMO is that the protocols controlling their nuclear resources may not be secure enough to prevent theft, black-market sales, etc, leading to the possibility of rogue groups getting possession of some dangerous stuff. It's not just the worst-case scenario of "X group gets a bomb", but lots of other dangerous scenarios where a group gets some very nasty materials with which to construct a dirty bomb out of otherwise conventional explosives to deliver the radioactive materials. Not a lot of technical know-how is required if the "payload" materials are at-hand.
  7. Mar 17, 2009 #6
    Enhancing military capabilities should reduce this threat?
  8. Mar 17, 2009 #7


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    Unfortunately security is a general problem not only with Russia, but elsewhere like Pakistan - our ally today perhaps. But then so is India and nutjobs looking to foment regional strife can tragically up the ante considerably wrt to world-wide equilibrium where ever they may be.
  9. Mar 17, 2009 #8


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    No. Increased security can only come from better accounting and inventory-control, and monitoring to make certain that these materials are not "going missing". Improved political and social stability in Russia can help, but not without the willingness to address weaknesses in the system that might allow these materials to be bought, stolen, smuggled, etc.

    No amount of military strength can address this particular problem. Improved internal security, regular audits, and aggressive follow-up of shortfalls from previous audits are required.
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