Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Aw Geez, Don't Sell Drones to Russia! and Other Stories

Russia buys unmanned drones from Israel: report (AFP):
Russia has purchased its first unmanned drones from Israel after its own manufacturers turned out to be ineffective at making the high-tech reconnaissance aircraft, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Yea, there's no arms embargo against Russia, but there should be.
Russia is in the midst of an ongoing effort to modernise its military and equip its armed forces with up-to-date technology.
Of course, they're not preparing for anything, just repairing and updating equipment. Nothing to see here. Summon: cliché of "rusting Soviet-era tanks." Most people I talk to honestly believe that Russia's military is old and obsolete, not a threat to anyone. Summon: paranoid conspiracy theorist voice: that's what they want you to think!

And those drones? Not double-headed eagles or solely Russian Federation colors to be emblazoned on them. Also Soviet red stars!:

Lawmakers keep red stars on Russian planes (AP):
Russian lawmakers on Wednesday reversed their earlier decision to have Soviet-era red stars on military aircraft repainted in three colors of the national flag.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house of parliament voted 408-0 with one abstention to keep the five-pointed stars red and only add stripes in the national colors around their contour.

The move reverses the preliminary approval in December of a bill that called for repainting the stars in red, white and blue.
No, the Duma isn't a sham body whose members live in fear of persecution for dissension, or anything. It's just that not one member was excepted from the mass change-of-heart that precipitated this re-embracing of the Soviet era.

But anyone who sees ominous tidings in this, well... they just haven't gotten rid of that "Cold War mentality."


Iran to say mastering final stage of nuclear cycle (Reuters):
"I will have good nuclear news for the honored Iranian nation tomorrow (April 9)," Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday in a televised speech at the central city of Isfahan.
A peaceful nuclear reactor for peaceful energy for peace and peace and stuff?
[A]nalysts expected Ahmadinejad to say that Iran has perfected the last of several phases of fuel output.

"A possible announcement will be production of natural uranium pellets (in Isfahan) for Iran's Arak heavy water reactor and also production of fuel rods and assembling rods into bundles," said an analyst who asked not to be named, citing the issue's political sensitivities. "It is the final stage in a long process to produce nuclear fuel."
Oh. But... Russia has our back on this right? They are our partner in opposing the nuclear ambitions of terrorist-sponsoring, unstable, autocratic regimes, I thought... didn't we talk about giving up missile defense facilities Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for their help? Yea, we can count on Russia.


Russia opposes sanctions against N.Korea over rocket launch (Novosti):
"We are definitely concerned by the recent rocket launch and believe it does not offer grounds for stabilizing the situation in the region," Sergei Lavrov said, adding that "we also believe that any threat of sanctions would be counterproductive."
Why would it be counterproductive? They didn't say. Presumably it might upset them, causing them to... launch a missile when we said they couldn't?

Ok, then, at least the United States will oppose Iran.

US to attend group nuclear talks with Iran (AP):
The Obama administration said Wednesday it will participate directly in group talks with Iran over its suspect nuclear program, marking another shift from former President George W. Bush's policy.
Oh, talks. That sounds scary. At least it's "a shift" from Bush's policy of not meeting with Iran, except for all of those times that we met with them.
"If Iran accepts, we hope this will be the occasion to seriously engage Iran on how to break the logjam of recent years and work in a cooperative manner to resolve the outstanding international concerns about its nuclear program," [State Department spokesman Robert Wood] said. "Any breakthrough will be the result of the collective efforts of all the parties, including Iran."
Oh, yea? That sounds promising! Let me know how that works out...

Well, maybe Israel will do something about it. You know, besides selling sophisticated drones to Iran's main ally in nuclear weapon acquisition.