It's now called Russia, but really, it's the same old same old. Yesterday President Putin went on board the nuclear submarine Arkhangelsk out at sea, and stood on the bridge with the captain to witness - as live television recorded the event - the test launching of two intercontinental missiles "capable of destroying an enemy city." Peter Baker of the Washington Post reported the story from Moscow.
After nothing happened for 25 minutes, naval officers announced what had become painfully obvious: the launch had not taken place, and would not. Putin left without a word.
I must say, he doesn't look real happy in the pic accompanying the Post article, taken as he stalked off the sub. That guy in the photo's background, by the way, is the sub's captain, saluting the end of his career.
Russian news organizations promptly reported that a malfunction had scuttled the launch.
Then, a few hours later, the navy's top admiral denied that any launch had been planned. "A 'virtual launch' had been intended from the start," he explained, "and it had been a success."
If you don't like it, hey, there's a former Iraqi information minister now residing in Jordan who'll bring you up to speed.
One last question: what "enemy city" were those missiles supposed to destroy? I thought the Cold War ended a while back. Not back in the U.S.S.R., I guess.
Reminds me of those Japanese soldiers they find every few years hiding in caves in the Philippine jungle, who think World War II's still going on.