Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mark Kirk gets his feelings hurt, says a spectacularly dumb thing

Russian ambassador to NATO/kooky unreformed nationalist Dmitri Rogozin, who has a habit of saying (and tweeting) somewhat nutty stuff, took a whole bunch of shots at unilateralist Russophobe dinosaurs/U.S. Senators John Kyl and Mark Kirk in his country's press after meeting with the two this week. The story is related by Josh Rogin at The Cable. Here's the money line from Rogozin:
"The meeting [with Kirk and Kyl] is very useful because it shows that the alternative to Barack Obama is a collapse of all the programs of cooperation with Russia. Today, I had the impression that I was transported in a time machine back several decades, and in front of me sat two monsters of the Cold War, who looked at me not through pupils, but targeting sights."
The guy is always good for a few lulz, but Kirk was less amused. He gave Rogin a few snippy quotes that aren't worth recounting, but also dropped what I imagine he thinks is the hammer:
"In a potential missile combat scenario between NATO and Iran, Russia is thoroughly irrelevant. So Russian concerns about what we do and not do about the Iranian threat are interesting but largely irrelevant."
Wow. Russia is thoroughly irrelevant, and its concerns are largely irrelevant. (See if you can't sort that one out for yourself.)

I know it's probably a bit much to expect sophisticated understanding of strategic deterrence theory from a guy who "misremembers" his own military record, but could we at least hope for some common sense?

"In a potential missile combat scenario between NATO and Iran," precisely nobody with nuclear weapons and an early-warning/launch detection system is "irrelevant." Especially not a state with a massive arsenal of nuclear warheads and the delivery systems to get them to American soil, one with a cultivated distrust of American intentions vis-a-vis missile defense.

"In a potential missile combat scenario" in which the sky fills up with ballistic missiles, every damned guy on the planet with a red button is going to go reaching for it until he has a pretty solid sense that none of those missiles is going to land on him. That solid sense is probably going to take just a little while longer to materialize when you've got a bunch of senior "statesmen" running their yaps and posturing in ways that seem almost certainly intended to impede information-sharing and common understanding, to keep the other guy off balance, wondering if -- in spite of official policy statements to the contrary -- our missile defenses really are targeting his weapons.

Russia's "irrelevant" to a scenario that could kindle nuclear war, huh, Senator? More irrelevant than a guy who has to shit-talk his own government to America's biggest foreign creditors just to get on the news? More irrelevant than a guy who spent much of his time in the House impotently railing against the government's irresponsible spending habits while serving as a member of the body that writes America's checks? More irrelevant than a guy whose idea of inspired leadership and aggressive oversight is pathetic obstructionism and delaying tactics in a condominium of ignorance with the U.S. Senate's most trifling and manifestly inconsequential clowns?

Well hell, Rogozin, I might take "irrelevant" as a compliment coming from that guy.


  1. But I thought that Kirk was a moderate, and thus impeccably intelligent, discreet, and even-keeled!

  2. I grew up for a few years in Kirk's district (House of Representatives version). The funding there is dominated by retired Navy/Marines officers and blue haired Jewish ladies. I think he's less of a strategist and more just giving his fundraisers a belly rub.

  3. AJK -- Sure, this is obviously true. Are you noticing a trend in my commentary on the legislative branch lately?

  4. Lately = last few posts or last few years? :-p

  5. I'm reminded of George Kennan's statement in the "X Article" that change would come to the Soviet Union when the postwar generation came to power. He was right: Gorbachev was the first Soviet premier from the postwar generation. IN the same way, out relations with Russia are hampered by old Cold Warriors who need to die out and retire for the sake of human survival.

  6. Why are Republicans allowed out of the attic?


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