Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nuke the Polish

Not content with decimating Georgia, and refusing the recognise their territorial integrity in any peace agreement, the Russians have now taken to sending rather threatening messages in the direction of the Polish. More than the regular variety of threat that is; according to the Guardian, they have "reserved the right" to launch a nuclear attack on Poland if they agree to host US rockets. Just an idle comment? Something twisted by a paper looking for a sensational angle? Sadly not. A senior general has (no doubt with political approval) been quoted as saying

"By deploying, Poland is exposing itself to a strike - 100%,"

And went on to add, as if that wasn't clear enough, that

Russia's security doctrine allowed it to use nuclear weapons against an active ally of a nuclear power such as America.

A little worrying that. Generally, invading your neighbours is considered to be slightly bad form, but blowing them up altogether really isn't looked upon kindly. Russia have been flexing their muscles like an Olympic greco-roman wrestler for some time now, resuming long-range bombing flights and making noises about, well, just about everything. That they have progressed to using their military instead of their press department is deeply worrying, and should not go unchecked by the international community.

I think the Economist are on to something when they talk about increasing the power of the G7 to the exclusion of the Russians and preventing their progress in attempting to join the WTO. While the Guardian are right to a certain extent that
"Western governments should think long and hard before enacting measures to exclude Russia from the international arena"
their assertion that
"NATO members.... should rebuild, extend and enforce Russia's international obligations. They should not be wilfully tearing them down."
seems to totally ignore the situation on the ground. Allowing Russia to join the in with the G8 and movements towards allowing them to join the WTO were both based on them acting responsibly and becoming more democratic and accountable. When they move in entirely the opposite direction, it seems rather silly to reward them for their behaviour. Their newfound buoyancy is based around a massive influx in oil and gas revenue. Their reliance on natural resources makes them vulnerable to trends in the global markets, and therefore more susceptible to international pressure.

That seems to be the line that America are taking, with Bush making a reference to the G7's role in a speech yesterday. There is a bizarre brand of Anti-Americanism which derides America no matter what they do, good or bad. It was in evidence on the Drive Time radio panel yesterday, with one of the panelists asking ''why do we allow America to say they're the world's policeman in these kinds of situations''. (The same woman moments later deriding Bush's trip to China and his failure to stand up for human rights) What the world should really be asking for is decent leadership and a way to help bring to an end, or at the very least minimise, Russia's aggression towards their neighbours. Unless there are consequences for their actions, that's highly highly unlikely to happen.

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