Saturday, February 11, 2006

You're Putin U.S. in a difficult position!

Genius or insane? Russian leader Vladmir Putin has decided to recognize Hamas. Some think this is an attempt to position Russia as diplomatic mediator between the West and Islam. Others see it as a mere ploy to place Russia back near the center of international power. Either way, who is this good for? Will it help Western--Islamic relations? Will it help Jewish--Palestinian relations? Where does Iran fall in this discussion?

I'll offer my McLaughlin style interpretation (absolutely crazy, but with enough sense that you can't dismiss it out of hand):

Putin is reaching out to Hamas for one reason (with twofold benefit), to quell fundamentalist Islamic concerns. This is an excellent PR move for Russia (from a Muslim perspective) because it allies him closer with his most dangerous (immediacy) neighbor in the Muslim area to his south (Iran/Caucauses/Afghanistan). It also helps in the immediate Iranian nuclear dispute (Iran sees Russia as a maverick nation, rather than a powerful western puppet), allowing them leverage in uranium enrichment bargaining, immediately quelling EU and US concerns.

Sucks to be Israel right now.

Other thoughts?