‘s government, the crisis has been a marvelous target of political opportunity. President Yeltsin in an unguarded moment asserted that a U.S. attack on Iraq could trigger World War III. The public reaction to this charge of American recklessness was so favorable that when aides tried to water down the remark, he repeated it. Indeed the government’s aggressive diplomatic challenge to the United States has won applause across all of Russia’s wide political spectrum. The enthusiastic domestic response ensures a prominent place for America-bashing in Russian political life for many years to come. In that respect, the Iraq crisis, however it develops from this point forward, has already permanently raised the coefficient of friction in Russian-American relations.