The latest gambit is the warship purchase bid. Trumpeted by Russia three times over the last month — think Moscow wants to grab Europe’s attention? — and confirmed by the French Defense Ministry, the Russian proposal involves buying a 21,300-ton Mistral class helicopter carrier and eventual joint production of four or five more . . .
Would the United States lie down across the tracks to block a Russian arms deal with the French, when the Russians say they could also make offers to the Netherlands or Spain, described as having the necessary technology? Not comfortably or coherently now, and certainly not without reviving the boss-in-big-boots NATO role President Barack Obama isn’t eager to play.
Russia, though, is exulting in a process in which its influence appears to be growing while American policy setbacks wobble from diminished control over events in Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan to taunting Russian arms sales to Venezuela.
In relation to the ship purchase talks — against the background of Russia’s invasion of Georgia last year and its virtual annexation of two Georgian provinces — the Russian Navy’s commander in chief, Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky, rhapsodized over how he could have done the Georgia job in 40 minutes instead of 26 hours if he had had the French warship. (photo: Daily Mail)