I’m sure the Israelis are just delighted with this particular blowback from the neocon invasion of Ukraine:
Vladimir Putin blew a geopolitical raspberry at the Obama Administration on Monday by authorizing the sale of Russia’s S-300 missile system to Iran. The Kremlin is offering the mullahs an air-defense capability so sophisticated that it would render Iran’s nuclear installations far more difficult and costly to attack should Tehran seek to build a bomb.
· Feeling better about that Iranian nuclear deal now?
· The origins of this Russian sideswipe go back to 2007, when Moscow and Tehran signed an $800 million contract for delivery of five S-300 squadrons. But in 2010 then-President Dmitry Medvedev stopped the sale under pressure from the U.S. and Israel. The United Nations Security Council the same year passed an arms-embargo resolution barring the sale of major conventional systems to the Tehran regime.
· That resolution is still in effect, but the Kremlin no longer feels like abiding by it. With the latest negotiating deadline passed and without any nuclear agreement in place, Moscow will dispatch the S-300s “promptly” to the Islamic Republic, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
· So much for the White House hope that the West could cordon off Russia’s aggression against Ukraine while working with Mr. Putin on other matters. Russia and the West could disagree about Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the thinking went, but Washington could still solicit the Kremlin’s cooperation on the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Jerry Pournelle points out that it’s not that big a deal from a practical perspective, since any denuclearization attacks would likely have to be launched before the air-defense systems could reasonably be installed anyhow. And while he’s probably right, Putin’s action is yet one more reminder of how any US foreign policy that is not based first and foremost on the US national interest is bound to have unforeseen negative consequences, even for those who wish to manipulate it for their own ends.