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Analyse... this Russia
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-08-26 09:24:15
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While the Russian troops have left Georgia on schedule, while the American administration is leading its relationship with Russia into a …cooler era with Condoleezza Rice, Ms. Frosty of the American foreign policy putting her cool touches, and while American investors are threatening to leave Russia, Putin looks as cool as ever… and the new Russian president Dmitry Medvedev looks very confident.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili continues to hysterically threaten Russia provocatively with personal illusions like …NATO is going to attack Russia proving that he is the man with strange voices in his head. And finally the EU is watching totally numb, incapable to handle the crisis or to even understand what’s going on, plus they are divided, unable to use the chance and promote her geopolitical interests. Britain is waiting for the Americans to make their move and Germany, with France waiting for Britain, so they can move to the opposite side; after all, both European giants have great interests in good relationships with Russia.

In the meantime, the ones who were supposed to get the message they got it. Poland signed the agreement for the missiles on Polish ground but with a lot of ‘buts’ and a series of guarantees that I’m afraid America cannot really keep in the real world. Patriot missiles are the new issue the Poles asked and they will get them but experience and recent history has shown that this will not be enough to keep the Russians at bay if they decide to move and, at the same time, will not force the Americans to risk a WWIII for a case that they know that has gray areas, especially after George W. Bush’s neo-conservatives move out of the White House.

Ukraine and the rest of the former Soviet democracies got the message loud and clear and the message even knocked upon the door of the EU, actually a very thin door, the Baltic door of the EU. In Tallinn the ministers' meetings came one after the other with the Estonians wondering what more could they do for the Russian minority in the country and whether the time to start serving them breakfast in bed has arrived.

The funniest thing of all is that the Russian confidence has a reason as well and the reason is Russia’s nemesis for a period, Afghanistan! NATO allies, whether they like it or not, have failed in Afghanistan, especially now with the confusion and the wonder for a future Pakistan. It is NATO's and America's Afghanistan experience - one that even the Russians try to forget - that complicates the situation. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan are the key paths to Afghanistan and they are controlled by states depending on Russia. Russia knows it and uses it. However, Russia also knows something far more important, the failure in Afghanistan will mean the final cut for NATO.

This is the mistake of George W. Bush’s administration, especially Dick Cheney, and they placed the future of NATO, its transformation from the anti-USSR alliance into the international peace, into doubt. This transformation was put to the test in Afghanistan, despite all the doubts from inside the alliance, yet it’s really weird how things are going around and end up back at Square One. The responsibilities of the Bush administration and the neo-conservatives have happened over the last few years and it is just unbelievable that it will make the White House successor's life hell, whether they are Democrat or Republican.

Who doesn’t see that the Americans were behind Saakashvili’s stupidity testing the Russians? It might sound like another conspiracy theory but if you think about it, it does make sense. Georgia had no chance at all and aside from all the western friendly things Saakashvili might say, he’s an idiot known to Georgians only for his womanising stories who doesn’t give a damn so long as he’s ruling and spending the money of the Georgian people, that’s his only worry; he's a real opportunist of the many that came out after the fall of the wall in the former Soviet democracies.

The readiness, awareness and confidence of the Russian military and political machine, except for rumours, remained a mystery and analysts and profilers can not work with rumours, they need raw data, which is why Georgia worked as a …test drive or better a crash test for all those analysts and profilers - it is a pity that once more the innocent paid the cost. However, did they learn anything? My opinion is that the only thing they learned or verified was how good a poker player Putin is.

What remains for all of us is waiting to see and stop taking all the rowdyism from the American administration seriously. I think the games have only just begun and it will take us a long time until we can analyze …this Russia!!!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-08-26 15:11:14
As I remember “Analyze This” was a movie starring Robert De Niro intended as a parody of the Italian Mafia wherein a ruthless gangster with emotional problems and panic attacks consults a psychiatrist. There was a sequel to the movie titled “Analyze That.” If I understand the metaphor of the title to this piece, NATO, the psychiatrist, is now dealing with an anxious Russian Bear which is under panic attacks at the loss of the former Warsaw Pact nations bordering Russian territory and, most importantly, the loss of international respect as a great nuclear imperialistic power. The specialist doctor Signor Machiavelli might have to be consulted here. I suppose in Europe one would say “analyze this,” while in America one would say “analyze that.”

Be that as it may, the question naturally arises: has NATO found its long lost mission again? Should it re-examine its identity together with the EU? One who thinks that all NATO member nations ought to have a comprehensive review of the deeper international peace and security implications of the NATO Alliance expansion in the former Warsaw Pact nations is current Canadian Green Party International Affair Critic Eric Walton. He has called on OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to examine alternative models of peaceful coexistence, especially the Finnish model: "As current country Chair of the OSCE, Finland has an invaluable role in offering Georgia a real example of an alternative model of peaceful coexistence and economic development on the border of the Russian State. It is far from an ideal arrangement, but is certainly better than the current scenario unfolding in Georgia,"

Jack2008-08-27 00:00:21
Well said Emanuel when wrting:

"Finland has an invaluable role in offering Georgia a real example of an alternative model of peaceful coexistence and economic development on the border of the Russian State."

Tis true. I can not agree more that an re-analysis of the existing peace and security policies are, and wht common political ground with which they stand...and finally, what are the implications of these security policies if breeched?

I am not certain the Cold War ever went away. It may have been like the proverbial tip of the iceberg (said to have shrunk with global warming & all...Democracy will do that!) only to bob up again to "test the waters" it appears and to again, chill things up a bit (even if it's up a spine).

Emanuel Paparella2008-08-27 13:33:49
Indeed, Jack. What I find intriguing in this particular forum is the deafening silence of the Finns on the issue. You would think they had an opinion based on experience on the matter.

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