Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, met with [Sens. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) yesterday in Washington—but they probably won’t be meeting again anytime soon…
“Today in the Senate, I met with Senators Jon Kyl and Mark Kirk. The meeting is very useful because it shows that the alternative to Barack Obama is a collapse of all the programs of cooperation with Russia,” he said. “Today, I had the impression that I was transported in a time machine back several decades, and in front of me sat two monsters of the Cold War, who looked at me not through pupils, but targeting sights.”
Rogozin was sauced because of the GOP’s longstanding opposition to US-Russia cooperation on nuclear weapons and missile defense, as evidenced by the party’s initial attacks on the new START treaty late last year. (As FP‘s Josh Rogin points out, it could also be because Russia doesn’t appreciate the US insistence on human rights reforms or its support for neighboring Georgia.) For his part, Kirk didn’t take the criticism so well:
“You could say that we’re just not that into him,” Kirk said. “In a potential missile combat scenario between NATO and Iran, Russia is thoroughly irrelevant. So Russian concerns about what we do and not do about the Iranian threat are interesting but largely irrelevant.”
Regarding Rogozin’s comment that Kirk and Kyl were “radicals” and “monsters of the Cold War,” Kirk said, “He should probably moderate his caffeine intake.”
As Ink Spots blogger Gulliver argues, calling one of the most-heavily armed nuclear powers in human history irrelevant to a missile war is pretty nutters. But then, Mark Kirk never was one for getting military matters right.