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.
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.
Posted in Asia, Europe, George Bush, Germany, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Georgia, Germany, NATO, Schroder
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.
Posted in Asia, Europe, Human Rights, Military, Multicultural, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, air attacks, NATO