Enough with the ‘warnings’ from Russia

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images After the South Ossetia war, I’m the last person to accuse Russia’s government of making empty threats, and I have no doubt that Putin and Medvedev will use every means at their disposal to assert power over neighbors and rivals. But I have to say, I’m getting a little tired of headlines ...

592640_080911_lavrov5.jpg
592640_080911_lavrov5.jpg

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

After the South Ossetia war, I'm the last person to accuse Russia's government of making empty threats, and I have no doubt that Putin and Medvedev will use every means at their disposal to assert power over neighbors and rivals.

But I have to say, I'm getting a little tired of headlines that follow the form "Russia warns ______ over_______." It's seems like there are new ones every week. Only today, Russia managed to warn Poland, Ukraine, and "the West" more generally. (The West has yet to respond.)

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

After the South Ossetia war, I’m the last person to accuse Russia’s government of making empty threats, and I have no doubt that Putin and Medvedev will use every means at their disposal to assert power over neighbors and rivals.

But I have to say, I’m getting a little tired of headlines that follow the form “Russia warns ______ over_______.” It’s seems like there are new ones every week. Only today, Russia managed to warn Poland, Ukraine, and “the West” more generally. (The West has yet to respond.)

Russia has been vocally opposed to NATO expansion and missile defense for years, so it shouldn’t really be a big news story when Putin, Medvedev, or Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov give a press conference to denounce such policies and make vague threats to the parties concerned.

I’m far more interested in what concrete steps Russia can actually take to make trouble for its enemies, other than sending their bomber pilots on a tropical vacation. These warnings aren’t meaningless, but a bit more skepticism by the media in the United States and Europe would be welcome.

Update: Maybe two can play this game. From ABC News via Marc Ambinder:

GOV. SARAH PALIN WARNS WAR MAY BE NECESSARY IF RUSSIA INVADES ANOTHER COUNTRY

 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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