Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Soviet crimes are thoroughly documented and well known to anyone wanting to find out about them, atrocities in the USSR itself, where the Soviets murdered not only Polish officers at Katyn but also their own people, and in annexed territories like Estonia as well as in countries once under Soviet domination like Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

The Second World War, however, sucked in participants of every stripe, including some who were not supportive of their respective government. A major unifying factor of postwar Europe was the sacrifice in human life in every country where the war had raged, including in the European perpetrator itself, Germany, where millions of innocent people were among those who endured incredible suffering.

In the aftermath, two age-old enemies, France and Germany, reached out their hands to each other in reconciliation, which, in my opinion, is one of the miracles of the twentieth century. Now, Poles and Russians are neither French nor German, and there's not going to be any reconciliation there anytime soon because there's an overriding element of hysteria in Russian-Polish relations that's not going to go away. An advisor to the White House could easily give tips to the US government about how to send both Russians and Poles into a hysterical tizzy and clawing at each other's throats in order to keep the Kremlin's attention riveted on Poland.

Miniature Estonia is an issue of no less magnitude. It would have been magnanimous of Estonia to leave the Soviet monument in central Tallinn as a poignant reminder of Estonia's bitter past and as a tribute to men who lost their lives in the war fighting for their homes and their families. Moscow, for its part, should have done everything in its power to diffuse the crisis over removal of the monument and the graves it marked. And the Estonian government should have distanced itself long ago from the former SS-men in Estonia who have proudly marched in recent years in their SS uniforms.

It's going to be a very long time before the advent of European unity poses any kind of a challenge to what the US thinks is best for Europe.

by Anthony Williamson on Sun May 18th, 2008 at 11:23:40 AM EST
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