Tag Archives: NATO

Bush Administration Always Blames Russia

The Bush administration continues insisting any problems between the United States and Russia are entirely the fault of the Medvedev-Putin government. There was hostility towards Russia as a result of the war in Georgia, but most NATO nations are anxious to resume working with the Russian government rather than continuing hostility. The Bush administration, however, insists, “it is difficult for us to go back to business as usual, since the Russian military did actually attack another country. It’s hard when you have Russian troops in another country against its will.” This is the Bush view of reality, but, unfortunately, it is not reality.

As we recall, Georgian troops invaded South Ossetia and the Russians responded. As we recall, Russia offered to have missile bases installed in its land instead of having missile bases built in Poland against non-existant enemies, The Bush administration has constantly raised fears in Russia about its security. The Medvedev-Putin alliance has not restored democracy to Russia, but raising fears only allows them more freedom to deny basic democratic rights to opponents.

Ukraine And Russia Eye One Another In Black Sea

Over forty years ago during the Khruschev era, the Russian leader made a slight change in how the Soviet Union was organized by transferring the Crimea area to become part of the Ukraine. The Crimea had the Soviet Union’s only seaport in the Black Sea but no one at the time could forsee that decision would create problems in 2008. Today, Russian and Ukrainian ships share the seaport of Sevastopol. During the recent war in Georgia and South Ossetia, the Russian navy played an active role in dealing with Georgian ships. Russian Admiral Andrei Baranov, pointed out his ships played an important role during events in Georgia to protect the rights of Russian citizens, an interesting way of describing those living in South Ossetia.

Rumors are circulating in the Crimea that Russia is issuing Russian passports to thousands of Crimeans in order to create the impression Russians dominate the region. Many Russian political leaders want the 1954 decision to be reversed so Russia can once again claim ownership of the Crimea. Pro-Russia leaders in Sevastopol are furious that the Ukraine has invited NATO ships to dock in the harbor.

Now, is the time to deal with this issue rather than wait until some situation erupts that could have deadly consequences for Europe and the world.

German Leader Warns Against Georgia In NATO

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder warned NATO against allowing Georgia to enter the body because it might result in growing disputes with Russia that eventually could lead to war. He also expressed concern over President Saakashvili who he believes is an “unpredictable” leader if events concluded in tense relations with NATO and Russia. Schroder expressed shock at the one sided approach to the Georgia situation by NATO and President Bush indicating there was scant consideration for the interests or concerns of Russia. The German political leader was concerned that at some point failure to conduct foreign policy which took into account the Russian perspective could result in German soldiers becoming involved in the wrong war at the wrong time.

Schroder expressed the view of anyone who has followed the Georgia situation and been cognizant of Russian fears and concerns. The Bush approach of threats and constructing missile bases on the border of Russia reflects a provocative approach.

War Of Words Between West And Russia

Dueling words have replaced dialogue as the conflict between Western nations and Russia over the Georgia incident continues to escalate. Fortunately, at this time both sides are using words in their conflict rather than armed force. US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, warned Russia its actions would result in being isolated from the world while President Medvedev asserted his nation is not retreating into a war like stance but will continue working with other nations. Secretary of State Rice charged the Russian government has no friends other than leftist nations such as Venezuela and Cuba even as Medvedev made clear Russia was not returning to a Soviet Union sense of isolation from the world. He mocked NATO for being unable to provide support for Georgia during the crisis and sarcastically noted “NATO only provoked the conflict and nothing more than that.”

Charge and counter charges make headlines in the morning press but have nothing to do with resolving issues between nations. It is time for NATO to abandon Bush policies of deliberately provoking Russia and engage in comprehensive negotiations which would reduce Russian fears of being threatened by the West. In return there must be Russian evacuation of Georgia. It would help if Western leaders acknowledged the role played by Georgia in precipitating the entire conflict.

Finns Dubious Over NATO Membership

The Georgia war has raised new concerns among Finns as to the desirability of seeking membership in NATO. A basic majority of Finns have opposed membership in NATO for years and only about 20% are for it. The fiasco of Georgia invading South Ossetia and nearly precipitating a war between Western nations and Russia has only furthered the desire of most Finnish people to avoid becoming entangled in an alliance which might inadvertently result in a conflict with its large neighbor to the east. A majority of Finns currently do not regard Russia as a threat, but getting involved in NATO only increases possibilities of turmoil with the Russian bear.

The people of Finland are wise to avoid becoming a member of NATO as long as George Bush is president of the United States. His aggressive actions in building missile bases in Poland have only aggravated the situation and raised fear among Russians.

Medvedev Discusses Perils And Dangers Of Georgia

Once upon a time, a few months ago, Western experts looked to newly elected President Medvedev as an individual who would be less aggressive than Prime Minister Putin, but those days now belong to a fairy tale rather than to reality. President Medvedev in a meeting with a group of Western political and academic specialists laid out a strong line defending his nation’s recent actions in Georgia that were pure Putinesque. he denounced American support for Saakashvili and warned the world might encounter further consequences from a Saakashvili who would “go nuts” and once again make decisions endangering world peace. The Russian leader urged a return to 20th century standards of careful attention to one another’s security issues. He described NATO’s decision to extend membership to Georgia as “unjust,” “humiliating,” and “intolerable” to Moscow.

Medvedev urged the West to think about what might have happened if Georgia was a member of NATO and called upon its membership to come to its aid when confronting Russia. He raised questions as to whether Saakashvili had been used by the United States to create tension with Russia. The Russian president said Saakashvili had wanted to meet with him, but after a Rice visit, changed his mind. He also completely rejected the Bush claim missile bases in Poland were aimed at rogue nations, they are “directed at us. No other variant is possible.”

It is rather interesting that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama has raised the Georgia conflict as an example of Bush incompetence.

Putin Says Differing Things Concerning Ukraine

Prime Minister Putin of Russia has been sending mixed signals to the Ukraine regarding his views about that nation. Several months ago, while in a conversation with President Bush, the Russian leader was overheard saying, “You understand George, Ukraine isn’t even a state! What is Ukraine? One part of its territory is in Eastern europe, and the other party, the significant portion was a gift from us.” On the other hand, he was recently said his nation respects the boundaries of Ukraine, including the disputed area of the Crimea which Khrushchev turned over to the Ukraine in the fifties. “Russia has recognized the present day borders of Ukraine long ago” he said in an interview with a German radio station.

A major issue between Russia and the Ukraine is fear on the part of Russian leaders that a Ukraine which is a member of NATO could pose a military threat to its security. Perhaps, it is time to put aside talk of NATO membership and work toward creating a sense of stability and security for all nations of eastern Europe.

Georgia War Threatened US Security

American military leaders are still reviewing the implication to our security of recent actions on the part of the government of Georgia. President Saakashvili took an enormous gamble when he deliberately provoked Russia by invading South Ossetia. The US military would have confronted a serious problem if Georgia was actually a member of NATO because Article 5 of the NATO treaty says “an armed attack against one or more of them(members).. shall be considered an attack against them all.” It is quite clear to any sane person, the American military was not ready, prepared or capable of undertaking a war in Georgia against a Russian army. Many NATO members place “caveats” on how their armed forces could be used in a war which most probably would have resulted in the case of Georgia of America being placed in the position of carrying the burden of fighting. War is not an enthusiastic idea in nations like Germany or France or Italy.

At the heart of the Georgia episode are many unanswered questions. Why did the Georgia leader expect the United States would support his ill timed adventure into war? Did he misinterpret what President Bush told him? Or, did Bush actually tell him something about American support for a war in South Ossetia? Most probably we will not know the answer to these questions unless a Democrat is elected president.

NATO Rethinks Afghanistan Bombing Strategy

In light of recent air attacks which have resulted in the death of dozens of civilians, including numerous women and children, NATO has decided to revise the rules of engagement. General David McKiernan, NATO commander in Afghanistan. is reopening an inquiry into US drone strikes which have been responsible for numerous deaths of civilians. From now on, house searches will be led by Afghan troops and permission from homeowners first should be sought prior to entering homes. The size of bombs being used in Afghanistan will be reviewed. His order is to “sharpen tactical directives, to give more clarity to commanders on the ground.” He wants to re-educate officers about the need to exert greater care in employing deadly force when civilians are present in the area.

An ongoing problem is lack of sufficient troops in Afghanistan because Bush diverted attention from the primary object to the chaotic invasion of Iraq. As always, military rather than economic and political solutions form the basis of NATO and American policy.

Human Rights Watch Blasts US Military On Civilian Deaths

Human Rights Watch issued a blistering attack on US and NATO policies which rely extensively on air strikes in order to destroy Taliban forces in Afghanistan. In the first seven months of this year at least 450 Afghan civilians were killed in fighting related to armed conflict and at least 119 of these were killed by air strikes conducted by US or Coalition forces. “In response to increased insurgent activity, twice as many tons of bombs were dropped in 2007 than in 2006″ but the increase has become even more dramatic in 2008. The Human Rights Watch report believes “mistakes by the US and NATO have dramatically decreased public support for the Afghan government and the presence of international forces providing security to Afghans.”

The report also blamed American investigation of their own air strikes as “unilateral, ponderous and lacking in transparency, undercutting relations with local populations and the Afghan government.” Naturally, the United States government denies it ever makes mistakes. The Bush administration lied about the Iraq invasion and simply can not cease their lies.