Flash bang and smoke as Putin shows that wimp Obama that Russian leaders have the bigger balls.
We are getting used to that kind of neo-tsarist theatre, but I'm especially unhappy with his latest Speedo pose because it is upsetting folks in one of my favorite countries-I've-never-visited.
...according to several Estonian accounts, smoke grenades detonated at an Estonian customs post, and all radio and telephone signals were jammed as armed Russian men suddenly materialized and dragged away ... Eston Kohver.
Kohver is identified as a counter-intelligence official, but his main job seems to have been keeping an eye out for smugglers at the Luhamaa crossing to Russia. It could therefore look like one of those small-potatoes border squabbles dreamed up by bored local poobahs, more to relieve bureaucratic tedium than anything else.
Probably, though, it is more geopolitically significant. Or at least a credible plot line for whomever is doing Eric Ambler's work nowadays.
...Kohver's fate has now become entangled in a much bigger issue: the question of just how far Vladimir Putin's Russia is prepared to go to goad the Nato allies on its doorstep.
That is, Putin and his capos are getting their kicks humiliating the West in general and our president in particular by proving they can be utter nuisances -- and dangerous to boot, sometimes -- all the way from the Ukraine, where everyone is watching, to the Baltic, where hardly anyone is*.
As the Guardian has it:
The capture has been seen as particularly provocative because it came two days after the US president, Barack Obama, visited Estonia, a trip aimed at reassuring the Baltic states of the US commitment to the security of its Nato allies in the face of Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis. It followed the announcement of the creation of a "spearhead force" – a Nato unit of 4,000 soldiers to be tasked with defending Baltic countries including Estonia.
Putin had to grin when he heard that. Four thousand NATOians to defend Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania? "I mean, Hell, Barack, I purge more soldiers than that every couple of weeks or so. Wanna arm wrestle?"
*Except of course for the Estonians, including a smart and pretty lady named Kristin who keeps her Face book friends updated and rates a hat tip for this report.