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article imagePre-G20 Concerns - This Week's Triple Whammy for Obama

By Bill Jencks     Mar 18, 2009 in Politics
As the G20 approaches in London, Russia has just announced a large scale re-armament program for its armed forces, the Czechs have backed out of the US missile treaty and Russia will be using strategic bomber bases on Venezuela and Cuba.
Last Tuesday, as reported in the Herald Tribune and Reuters , Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev announced in a speech before Russia's generals in Moscow, that Russia would initiate a "a large scale re-arming" program which is to begin in 2011. In his speech, President Medvedev offered no further specifics on the extent of Russia's future re-armament.
"The primary task is to increase the combat readiness of our forces. First of all, our strategic nuclear forces. They must be able to fulfill all the necessary tasks to ensure Russia's security," Medvedev said.
"America's aspirations have been aimed at getting access to mineral, energy and other resources of CIS countries, and it has actively supported processes aimed at ousting Russia from the area of its traditional interests," Interfax news agency quoted Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as telling the meeting with Medvedev.
It also appears that the US government expressed "no concerns" over this new announcement.
"NATO and the United States have worked, and will continue to work, with Russia on issues of mutual concern, specifically in areas of terrorism and (nuclear) proliferation," [Robert] Gibbs told reporters at a daily briefing.
On the same day, the Herald Tribune also reported a political delay and withdrawal from involvement by Czechoslovakia in the US implementation of Polish missile bases and Czech radar beses in Europe. The article says:
The Czech government said Tuesday that it was temporarily pulling back treaties on the installation of a U.S. missile defense radar system because of a threat by the opposition to vote them down in Parliament.
"This does not mean we would give up on the ratification process," Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said in a live television address. "We will return to this issue after talks with the U.S. administration and after the NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl."
The summit meeting takes place on April 3 to 4 and President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Prague to meet European Union leaders on April 5.
The Bush administration agreed with the Czech Republic to build a radar base southwest of Prague as part of a system to expand a missile shield against attacks from countries such as Iran. The plan also called for a battery of interceptor missiles to be based in Poland. But Obama has been cool to the plan, saying the need for the system would be reduced if Tehran gave up its nuclear program.
The center-right Czech government has been supporting the plan, but its weakness in Parliament — where it lacks a majority — has repeatedly delayed the measures' ratification. The opposition has increased its pressure on the government and has called a no-confidence vote for March 24.
So - and all within a week - three startling events have suddenly been sprung upon the US Administration.
* Russia has re-affirmed that they will be using Cuba and Venezuela as refueling bases for their strategic bombers. See my article here.
* Russian Forces will undergo "large scale re-arming" and modernization with the eventual re-deployment of newer and more potent strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles.
* The Czechs are pulling back from the US Polish and Czech missile defense treaty.
....And the US government and NATO aren't particularly worried ?
It very much appears that Russia will be the only superpower who has prepared sufficiently and realistically for the G20 Summit in London this April. With Russia now fully loaded and politically prepared for this meeting, one wonders what significant preparations the US Administration has made for America's position.
I guess President Obama still thinks that the G20 meet will be all about the world financial crisis. However, these recent moves by Russia are timed to perfection - for maximum political effect - to coincide with the G20 in order to weaken America's influence and position throughout the world.
President Obama really should give up playing pea-knuckle - and learn how to play some good old Texas Hold 'Em poker. He would learn much about psychology, timing and bluff from this vicious and risky high-stakes game.
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