Wednesday, September 05, 2007

From Russian, with love

While Bush is popping in on Iraq for a few disingenuous photo-ops amidst his bouts of Texas brush clearing, Vlad the Impaler is keeping himself busy with a little armament outreach program for his Asian neighbours.
On the way to the annual summit meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Australia, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has scheduled a brief stop-off in Jakarta on Thursday. High on Mr. Putin’s agenda: the signing of a $1 billion arms deal that includes supplying Indonesia with two Kilo-class submarines, the first of a small fleet of the vessels.

It comes on the heels of other deals to sell advanced Su-27 and Su-30 combat fighters to Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries in the region, helping to entrench Russia’s place as the leading arms supplier to Asia.

The signs that the Russian bear wants to return to its old stamping grounds in East Asia and the Pacific have become increasingly apparent in recent times, analysts say.


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