Tag Archives: NATO

Germany Moves Toward Russia Diplomatically

Germany’s increasingly close relations with Russia may well damage efforts by the Ukraine to enter the European Union. Ukrainian deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Yeliseyev warned that two or three members of the EU are not strong supporters for having the Ukraine enter the body, and he is particularly concerned about the attitude of Germany toward his nation’s quest for membership. Germany is interested in working with Russia to construct a new gap pipeline that will meet the needs of Germany for the coming years. Thus, it is in their self interest not to antagonize Russia at this critical juncture when many nations are furious at what happened in Georgia. The Ukraine is also seeking membership in NATO, an action that will antagonize Russia.

On one hand, Ukraine officials are arguing anything less than its membership in the EU or NATO will send a message to Russia that bullying behavior will be rewarded. However, there is a prior question– how best can the EU work with Russia to allay fears the outside world harbors aggressive actions against its territorial boundaries.? Perhaps, the dialogue with Russia should begin with assurances there will be no membership in NATO for any nation that formerly was a part of the old Soviet Union.

Or, NATO might formally request Russia to enter the body and thus end fears of aggressive actions by NATO against Russia.

Is Saakashvili Winning Over European Leaders?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quite skeptical about the performance of President Saakashvili in the initial stages of the war in Georgia, but there are some signs he is winning over European leaders. The Georgian president has portrayed himself as a “victim,” as the fighting leader of democracy against the evil brutal Prime Minister Putin of Russia and as a hero to all Europeans. He insists all European leaders who visited him like President Sarkozy of France or Chancellor Merkel of Germany “all perfectly understand the situation here.” Is his evaluation an accurate one?

Chancellor Merkel followed events on CNN and other TV channels and her initial reaction was Saakashvili had blundered by attacking South Ossetia and that he was an impulsive man who took bold risks that were out of place in modern times. However, once Russian troops entered the war, her attitude changed. She flew to Georgia and was soon photographed with the president and uttered warm words of support. Somehow, Saakashvili used his charm or his intelligence to win over the German chancellor who has no become a leading advocate of Georgia membership in NATO.

In the end, Chancellor Merkel is supporting Georgia’s membership in NATO but not until the nation is a true democracy and he agrees to behave more rationally and avoid future war actions in the region.

Russia Lays Down Gauntlet– Georgia Or US!

The Russian government made clear it regarded Georgia as the instigator of recent events that resulted in their armed forces moving into South Ossetia and then invading Georgia. Foreign Minister Segei Lavrov noted his nation does not wish to “slam the door” on NATO but the West must make a decision–is it support for Georgia or is there a genuine desire to deal with Russian concerns? “Everything depends on NATO’s priorities,” said Lavrov. “If the priority is blind support for the bankrupt Saakashvili regime and if they are ready to pay the price of a break in relations with Russia, then that is not our choice. We are not planning to slam the door on NATO.”

NATO is insisting Russia honor its agreement and withdraw its forces from Georgia and the organization has suspended a cooperation council with Russia until it changes behavior in Georgia. In response, Russia said it was pulling out of a joint naval exercise with NATO.

If nations could step back for a moment and examine the overall consequences of Georgia’s decision to use military force in South Ossetia, it would become clear Georgia is not an innocent victim, but a nation led by individuals who deliberately provoked an angry reaction from Russia and now wish to involve NATO in dealing with problems it created. There are no vital issues at stake other than making certain Georgia ceases provoking any further crises.

NATO To Russia–We Will Accept Georgia!

The formal process to accept Georgia as a member of NATO has begun partly because of Russia’s occupation of Georgia. British Foreign Minister David Miliband said Georgia has been give a “route map to membership…It’s an important signal but there is also important substance to it.” The British Foreign Secretary rejected the view of some European nations that the membership should be placed on hold and rethought in light of events in South Ossetia and Georgia. However, Miliband says NATO”is offering close cooperation with the Georgian government and the Georgian military. That means helping the Georgians build up their capacity.”

The bravado of leaders such as David Miliband sounds wonderful as a statement on the six o’clock news, but is he prepared to support having NATO troops meet Russian soldiers in combat? He insists “it’s right to see Georgian and Ukranian membership” although in so doing Russia will regard such efforts as a provocation and a threat to their security.

Russia struts its troops around Georgia and acts defiant while NATO reacts with its own show of force. Perhaps, it is time to end the political rhetoric demonstrations and return to the bargaining table in order to create a Europe in which no nation fears for its security. Step one would be putting a halt to building missile bases in Poland and working with Russian leaders to reassure them there is no intent to threaten their security. It is time for wise diplomacy to take over and angry words to cease.

Condi Rice Warns Russia To Respect Georgia Borders

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned the Russian government the world would not stand by idly and watch it redraw the boundaries of Europe. “A new line in europe where Russia somehow asserts that there are those who cannot pt for a trans-Atlantic ffuture is unacceptable.” She demanded that Russia withdraw its forces from Georgia while NATO reaffirmed its offer of membership to the Georgians. NATO insisted it would send aid to help restore conditions in Georgia to what existed prior to outbreak of hostilities. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said relations with Russia would be limited until its troops withdraw from Georgia. “There can be no business as usual with Russia under the present circumstances.”

There is talk of observers to monitor the situation in Russian occupied Georgia. Somehow, lost in the rhetoric of anger is any awareness of how the United States and NATO helped create conditions for discord. Georgia does not belong in NATO at this juncture in history. It is time to end construction of military bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and to extend membership in NATO to Russia.

Resurgent Russia– Divided West

Vladmir Putin and George Bush area tale of two leaders who seek to stride across the world as powerful figures for whom the world must treat with respect. Putin just performed a cool, analytical and calculated dismantling of a small country which removes that nation from being able to play any role in the Caucasus area. George Bush blundered his way across Iraq leaving in his wake, death, confusion and a sense of American impotence. Putin has instructed Russian forces to destroy factories, ships and oil facilities so Georgians will think twice before trying to defy Russian power in the region. Dimtry Rogozin, Russian ambassador to NATO summed up America’s latest humiliation under the administration of George Bush by exclaiming with glee, “America’s favorite child is now going to hell.” Bush tried to out fox a cold, calculating man who would not hesitate to use the full force of his nation to attain victory. Bush lost.

The West is divided. Europe needs Russian energy and Europe is in no mood for military confrontation with the newly defiant Russian government. Dimitry Medvedev, the new president, has proven he is a stooge who may express a few liberal ideas but, in reality, he does not oppose his mentor.

As China celebrates its emergence on the world scene as a dominant economic power, Putin is resorting to military action to demonstrate the leading role his nation intends to play. The bottom line is Bush challenged Russia by pushing for Georgia entry into NATO and proceeding with missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. The end result of this provocative action on the part of Bush was disaster for the nation of Georgia. Will any small nation now take the risk of listening to American advice if they know the US is powerless to do anything other than express words of regret? Frankly, NATO is a paper tiger and the USA is stretched to its military limits and unable to use force in any new situation. The legacy of George Bush will linger for many years.

Why Are We Fighting In Georgia?

The United States has been urging NATO to extend its influence into eastern Europe on the assumption, as Kurt Volker, assistant secretary of state put it: “it is the right of the Georgian people are Georgian government to determine their own security orientation.” The British government voices platitudes expressing support for the Georgian attack on South Ossetia insisting President Saakashvili had the right to lead his government in regaining control of breakaway areas. As Geoffrey Wheatcroft notes in The Independent, the world already knew Putin led a ruthless government that would not hesitate to use power, but the verbal bellicosity of Western officials raises questions as to the goals of American and NATO in response to aggression.

The world is aware when Kosovo broke away from Serbia, the United States and NATO fervently insisted a people had a right to break away from a government that it despised. Apparently,the people of South Ossetia do not enjoy that right. President Bush saw no problem building bases on the border of Russia although he would most probably have authorized an invasion of Cuba if that country offered military bases to Russia.

Western media is filled with angry voices which insist the forces of democracy must be respected and which condemn violence toward innocent people. Darfur has seen the death of over 200,000 people and the Congo has witnessed the death of 5,000,000 but no cries come from Washington D.C. about the plight of those people.

Russian has twice been invaded in the 20th century with the death of over 40 million of its people. The Russians withdrew missiles from Cuba in 1962 when President Kennedy objected but the United States under Bush in 2008 believes it is OK to establish missile bases near Russia.

Western nations have no business building up the Georgian military and urging its leaders to take action to support their goals. If the Western world supports independence for Kosovo it has no right to prevent breakaway provinces in the caucus area. We do not condone brutal Russian actions toward Georgia, but recognize that Georgia provoked the warfare.

If hypocrisy was a virtue, George Bush would be a saint in heaven.

Turkey Caught In Middle Of Russian-Georgia Conflict

Turkish official expressed concern about the Russian-Georgia conflict which is creating tensions within its own country. Ethnic groups residing in Turkey which have connections to
Georgia or South Ossetia are placing pressure on the Turkish government to take its side in the dispute. On one hand, Russia is a major trading partner of Turkey, but, on the other hand, Turkey is a member of NATO which opposes the invasion. Experts in Turkey point out the current violence can be traced back to fragmentation which occurred when Kosovo broke away from Serbia which made the Russian government appear to be impotent in dealing with smaller areas that once had connections to the Soviet Union.

Turkey can not take sides without suffering economic punishment or creating internal tensions as ethnic groups in their own country seek to have Turkey take sides. The Turkish military has most probably given supplies to Georgia and rumors are circulating in Russia of potential further military support.

Georgia may well have had legitimate grievances against South Ossetia, but the decision to invade will eventually prove to have been a disastrous one. Georgia can not stand up against the might of Russia without the help of western nations. If such help is provided it will only result in creating a new Cold War.

Coalition Forces Attack Pakistan Areas

NATO led forces in Afghanistan launched an attack on militant positions inside Pakistan after receiving hostile fire from those locations. Coalition troops used helicopters and artillery to fire into Pakistan after coming under rocket attack from the Pakistani side of the border. An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) “received multiple rocket attacks from militants inside Pakistan” said a statement, and they responded with a combination of firing from attack helicopters and shooting artillery into Pakistan.” Claims by Pakistan sources earlier this week about a NATO build up angered local inhabitants who vowed to take up arms against foreigners.

Despite attempts to cooperate between both sides of the border, Afghan leaders have blamed the Pakistani Intelligence Agency for supporting militants who are attacking into their country.

Taiban militants took over the US base which was abandoned after nine American soldiers were killed. As summer approaches, Afghanistan can expect further attacks from the ever increasing more powerful Taliban forces.

Putin Encourages Separatist Areas

President Putin has decided to push for closer ties with the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Osssetia which are attempting to become independent nations. The country of Georgia is furious at Putin’s actions since they regard Russia as interfering in their internal affairs. Putin insists his decision is designed to strengthen security and stability and does “not mean that Russia is making a choice in favor of confrontation with Georgia.” The government of Georgia believes the Putin ploy is an attempt to slowly move the breakaway areas into some form of collaboration with Russia, it not becoming states in the nation of Russia.

The United States and the European Union immediately joined in the Georgia protest against Russia’s action. The US State Department announced: “Our commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity is unshakable.”

Perhaps, there is another reason for Putin’s actions. He is sending a message to the United States and NATO that while missile bases can be constructed on the border of Russia, his nation can also play the role of regional destabilizer. Putin warned Bush at the recent NATO meeting that he could cause trouble. Are the missile bases worth the cost of creating tension in eastern Europe?