Bret Stephens writes that it’s time to view Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an enemy of the United States. Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, he writes, has become openly hostile to America.
Some examples: Last summer, Russia signed a billion-dollar arms deal with Venezuela; Hugo Chávez wasted no time fantasizing aloud about using the weapons to sink an American aircraft carrier. Last week, Russia began deliveries to Iran of highly sophisticated SA-15 anti-aircraft missiles, at a value of $700 million. Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanov claims the missiles will "have no influence on the balance of power in the region." But the purpose of the missiles is to defend Iran's nuclear sites, which do threaten the balance of power. Mr. Ivanov also says he is "absolutely sure" the billion-dollar Bushehr reactor that Russia is building for Iran could not be used to build nuclear weapons. This is false, and Mr. Ivanov must know it: The spent plutonium from the reactor can easily be diverted and reprocessed to produce as many as 60 bombs.
At the United Nations, Russia has consistently opposed U.S. efforts to sanction Iran and North Korea for their nuclear programs and diluted the effects of the resolutions that were passed. The Russians say they oppose the use of sanctions because they "don't work." It's an odd claim coming from a government that in October brusquely imposed trade, travel and postal sanctions on neighboring Georgia.