So Russia today officially suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. It's been coming for a while now, but it's still stunning to contemplate: one of the agreements that brought an end to the Cold War has just been tossed out the window.
Yes, the updated (1999) version of the treaty had never been ratified by NATO (Russophiles will highlight this part). Yes, Russia had never fulfilled its promises to remove its troops from breakaway regions of Georgia and Moldova (Russia-bashers will emphasize this). Yes, there's a 150-day window before the Kremlin's announcement comes into effect (cooler heads will note). But the fact that the withdrawal happened says a lot about how bad relations between Russia and the West have gotten in the past seven years, and is a stark warning about how bad they could get unless both sides find a common language to speak in.
I for one can't wait until we get some new faces in both the Kremlin and the White House so that they can start undoing what the ex-KGB man and the son of the CIA boss have wrought. Today's announcement again makes plain how little friendly substance there was behind those phony smiles at last week's "lobster summit" at the Bush family residence in Kennebunkport.
On another front, I don't need to repeat how dismayed I am that the effort to find a single liberal opposition candidate for the 2008 presidential elections has collapsed. But Viktor Andreyev's eyewitness report over at Robert Amsterdam's blog was particularly depressing. Someone tell Oborona that it's all for naught if Russia's dwindling number of pro-Western liberals can't even agree among themselves.
I'll bet the revolution-makers, oops, democracy promoters over at the National Endowment for Democracy are in full panic mode just now.