geopolitical events warrant a comment or two. This is one of those
times. With things still quite unsettled in the Russia-Georgia
conflict, it would seem like a good time to take a deep breath and let
some subtle diplomacy do its work. Unfortunately, this approach is well
outside the of the skill set of the U.S. executive branch.
Let’s check two articles separated by only 3 days time.
Russia threatens nuclear attack (August 17 – Au.com)
RUSSIA warned Poland yesterday it faced a nuclear attack if it accepts a US missile interceptor base on its soil.
ominous rhetoric came as Moscow signed a treaty to stop the fighting in
neighbouring Georgia, another US ally which is seeking to join NATO
US, Poland sign missile shield deal amid Russian opposition (August 20 – AFP)
Warsaw and Washington signed a deal Wednesday to
deploy a US missile shield in Poland, in the face of deep anger and
threats of retaliation from Moscow.
"This will help us to deal
with the new threats of the 21st century, of long-range missile threats
from countries like Iran or from North Korea," said US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice shortly before inking the accord with Poland’s
Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.
provocative move comes at a very puzzling time, if your intent is to
stabilize an explosive situation. Of course, if your intent is
otherwise, then perhaps this move makes more sense. There is a lot of
evidence (and a fair bit of speculation) concerning the role of the U.S.
and Israel inside Georgia prior to the onset of the conflict. If you
have not looked into this conflict and wish to know what happened, I
would strongly urge you to read outside of the US press for your
insights. Briefly, Georgia initiated the conflict on August 7th and
barraged a completely civilian town in South Ossetia with
indiscriminate rocket and artillery fire, killing between 1000 and 2000
civilians and provoking a Russian response.
In the face of this,
the U.S. decided to rush through a missile defense pact with Poland, who
needs protection from missiles like a rugby player with the ball needs
protection from spectator insults.
One thing that amuses
me here is the impression that the U.S. political leadership isn’t even
trying anymore. If they were, they’d have spent more time coming up
with a more plausible reason for the anti-missile installation than
helping Poland to deal with “long-range missile threats from countries
like Iran or from North Korea.”
I mean, seriously. Poland? Under threat from North Korea and Iran? Say what?
They just aren’t even
trying anymore. I doubt the speech writer even bothered to stub out his
or her cigarette before submitting that one. Taken another way, this
gives us a pretty clear insight that U.S. intentions in the region have
nothing at all to do with the safety and security of Poland, who is now
a pawn in a much larger game. For my money, I cannot imagine that the
prize in this game is anything other than energy. Although exactly how
provoking Russia furthers that interest is a point well outside of my
grasp. I will continue to monitor developments, and I wish Europe a
very calm and warm winter.