The bear awakens: Russia resurgent

While President Bush tries to soothe Russian fears about the mini-Star Wars system he plans in central Europe, the bigger picture still seems to be lost on a lot of people: Russia is no longer the bit player on the world stage that it's been since the end of the Cold War.

And Bush himself has done much to bring about this state of affairs, writes Toronto Sun columnist Eric Margolis:

Ironically, George Bush’s invasion of Iraq caused worldwide oil prices to surge, bringing Putin’s “new Russia” a huge financial windfall.

Russia, which exports more oil than Saudi Arabia, is flush with cash from its current oil, gas, and mineral bonanza, which has revitalized the nation's defense budget.

Read the whole thing, including Margolis's take on why Bush's policies seem almost by design to be poking the Russian bear with a sharp stick.  Then read the special report from Strategic Investment's Dan Amoss about how Putin might respond…along with the provocative moves some other rogues around the world have in store.