In the wake of the election, I took the view that the international scene would be the dominant factor in the immediate future – as various bad actors moved to exploit perceived weak leadership over here.
I figured that “Russia won’t be the worst, but they’ll be first” – since the Russians are in a hurry for their own reasons.
But things are moving much more quickly than even my worst-case-scenario envisioned.
Russia Invited To Iceland’s Airbase
In an official lunch with foreign diplomats, Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson shocked neighboring Nordic countries with inviting Russia to take use of the strategically important airbase.
Foreign diplomats hardly believed what they heard when the Icelandic president said that his country needs “new friends” and that Russia should be invited to take use of the old U.S. airbase of Keflavik.
An internal memo from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, obtained by the newspaper, describes the diplomats present in the event as “shocked” by the speech.
The North Atlantic is important for the Nordic countries, the USA and the UK. That is a fact which these countries seem to ignore, the president said, adding that “Iceland should rather make new friends”.
The only saving grace (for the moment) is:
The Icelandic president has no formal powers over foreign policy issues.
So this isn’t an official policy directive – but that someone in that high a position would even mention this is very alarming.
Now, this didn’t exactly come out of a vacuum. Little noticed in the election noise last month was the news that Iceland’s economy was in total collapse (due to over-exposure to those wonderful sub-prime mortgage instruments), and Russia stepped in to bail them out:
Iceland Turns To Russia For Bailout
10/ 10/ 2008
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti economic commentator Yelena Zagorodnyaya) – Russia has agreed to bail out Iceland by granting this small island state a huge stabilization loan at an unbelievably low interest rate. Is it an act of wanton generosity, or a far-sighted geopolitical step? And in general, four billion euros, is it a lot or a little?
The fate of Iceland has until recently not concerned Russia one bit. Now only a lazy person is not discussing the incredible sum the “island of stability” is going to inject into the economy of a sinking island of geysers.
Despite its financial troubles, Russia managed to scrape together four billion euros for this little “investment.” It looks like it’s paying off handsomely already.
The bad actors are already moving to exploit what they perceive as coming weakness – before the Veal-Calf-in-Chief has even gotten into the chair….