We were happy to hear but also trepidatious about this news:
Russia will help Ecuador develop a nuclear energy program for peaceful purposes, according to a new energy cooperation agreement between the countries, Ecuador’s government said Thursday.
Nuclear, good, but why “peaceful purposes?” We mean, the phrase, not the intention, as we don’t generally consider Ecuador a bad actor on the international stage. Might it be that Russia has gotten a little tarred by its association with Iran?
Well, the Times’ little story doesn’t say. This one does:
Ecuador is building two hydroelectric stations in an attempt to end its dependence on neighbouring Colombia for power.
The two countries broke diplomatic ties in March 2008 after Colombian soldiers raided a leftist Colombian guerrilla jungle camp in Ecuadoran territory.
All right, so Ecuador has a beef with Colombia and wants to divest itself of its electricity dependence on it. Sounds like energy security – not a bad thing.
But then there’s this:
Ecuador's leftist president Rafael Correa, who last year said he intends to strengthen ties with Moscow, is scheduled to travel to Russia in October.
Correa — like his regional ally President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela — is also seeking closer military ties with Russia.
Russia is pushing to increase ties with leftist Latin American governments in a move that has renewed some Cold War-era tensions with the United States.
Gets better and better, doesn’t it? And it sounds like the anti-American slant taken by some Latin American countries – let’s leave aside discussion of whether such disdain is justified for the moment – has put Russia in the mischievous mode it seems to favor in such situations. We can’t imagine this is going to get anywhere without heavy IAEA participation, but do expect the story to heat up (so to speak) as it penetrates the news cycle and American voices start piping up.
As for us? We’ll wait and see. Nuclear energy si, stalking horse for a new cold war no. We didn’t enjoy the last one very much.
The Presidential palace in Quito, Ecuador.