Stop poking the Russian bear, Mr. Bush
This Bush administration has lost its collective mind. Placing a ballistic missile interceptor defense base in Poland, a radar system on Czech Republic territory and military bases in both Romania and Bulgaria serves nothing but to rightfully inflame the passions of the Russians.
President Bush’s excuse is that such a move defends Europe against rogue states. Only three possible rogue nations come to mind: Syria, North Korea, and Iran.
Syria hasn’t now, nor will anytime soon in the long-term future possess the necessary ballistic missile technology, nor the delivery system to threaten or initiate a missile strike on the territory of any nation in Europe.
North Korea has no interest in, nor would gain any benefit from attacking Europe. China holds the necessar y geopolitical and economic leverage over the North Koreans to keep that leadership in its place. Moreover, China holds no reason to attack Europe, given its commercial, trade and infrastructural projects and relationships with the European Union.
Iran will not attack Europe given its close commercial interests and ties with France.
So, what is the real reason behind this administration’s provocative behavior against Russia?
Is Mr. Bush, in his evangelical mindset to spread democracy throughout the world, punishing Russian president Vladimir Putin for Russia’s recent retraction of its democratic reform even though such an issue is a Russian internal affair?
Russia has not been belligerent nor provocative against the U.S. in these post Cold War years. Mr. Putin has been quite reticent, has left Mr. Bush alone, and has not taken him to task over this Iraq mess, although Russia historically had been a close ally of and held commercial interests with Iraq. In these times, Mr. Putin has not only reduced Russian forces by 300,000 from the Eastern European sector of Russia, but also has directed a redeployment of heavy weapons from the region to a point eastward beyond the Ural Mountains.
Apparently, all the man wants is to have the U.S. and NATO nations sign an amended version of the 1990 Conventional Force Europe Treaty limiting these heavy, non-nuclear weapons deployments throughout Europe.
If Mr. Bush wants Russia as an ally, then he must treat Russia with the necessary respect deserving of such an ally, and stop this apparent encirclement tactic and containment policy of that nation. Eastern Europe is in Russia’s sphere of influence.
The U.S. has no business meddling in Russia’s affairs in such a sphere. The administration should stay-out of it, give Mr. Putin some breathing room, and not back Russia into a corner. Otherwise, the Big Bear will become very threatened and very dangerous indeed. Earl Beal Terre Haute, Indiana