Stop pok­ing the Rus­sian bear, Mr. Bush

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

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

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