When I heard the news earlier today that Russia is about to loan Iceland $5.4 billion (the equivalent of 1/3 of Iceland’s GDP) to bail out the financially crippled country’s ailing banks, I thought to myself:
“Hmm, when I get home tonight I think I’ll write a tongue in cheek post wondering how long it will be before the media condemns the deal, and raises the spectre of evil Russia taking over the tiny, defenceless Iceland.”
I genuinely thought it was going to be a slightly daft post that no-one would take seriously.
Then I read this editorial, published an hour or so ago in British newspaper the Daily Telegraph:
“[The loan would] create strategic ructions. Iceland is a NATO member, but Russia would want something in return for a loan equal to almost a third of the tiny states GDP. The US would fret this could eventually mean a Russian military presence in the North Atlantic.”
Update: The Icelandic Weather Report sums up Iceland’s decision to make friends with Russian pretty succinctly:
a] The US pissed off Icelandic authorities two years ago, when they unilaterally pulled their military out of Iceland, with the accompanying job losses and whatnot.* b] The US pissed off Iceland a few weeks ago when they purposely left them out of a currency swap agreement. c] Iceland has gone looking for new friends. d] Russia is Icelands new best friend.
A closer relationship between Russia and Iceland certainly looks on the cards, although I still think the chances of a Russian military base in Iceland are pretty slim!