Final Word from Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Garry Kasparov, a modern-day refusnik, told CNN he doesn't think Vladimir Putin intends to become PM after leaving as president. Instead, Kasparov thinks Putin wants to become a spiritual leader, almost an ayatollah. Putin has said he might become PM, Kasparov added, but whatever he promises or indicates never happens. Could the same reverse logic apply to missile defense? Will Putin fight it tooth and nail only to accept it in the end? Don't bet on it. The offer presented in Prague yesterday by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is certainly attractive for Russia (a threat-based deployment that gives Putin a virtual veto, plus an on-site observer). But the radar and interceptors would still be there, whether active or not, and Russia would still be losing a slice of its sphere of influence. Putin's disciples wouldn't want a spiritual leader who ceded territory as their empire was growing once again.[Czech Republic Iran prime minister]


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