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Missile defense in Eastern Europe - the sum of all follies | The Agonist
Missile defense in Eastern Europe - the sum of all follies

By Hannes Artens

The deal is done. Yesterday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg signed a treaty on a missile defense system in Prague despite forceful Russian opposition. The response from Moscow wasn't a long time in the coming. Just hours after the ceremony the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a warning that "we will be forced to react not with diplomatic but with military-technical methods."

Now the shit hits the fan. Russia's possible reactions reach from aiming its own ballistic missiles against the US system in the Czech Republic and Poland, to re-deploying them to Belarus or the exclave of Kaliningrad, situated between Poland and Lithuania. Thanks to neocon delusions of unipolar grandeur and an obsession with nipping a Russian revival in the bud from day one on, together with an understandable - but in this case counterproductive - historical fear of Russia in Eastern Europe, we'll again have batteries of intercontinental ballistic missiles facing each other off in the heart of Europe twenty years after the end of the Cold War. Now that's for a legacy for George Bush and a fitting parting gift for Europe from an American president who has already done so much damage to this continent.
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And yet this lamentable development is Europe's own fault - as usual. Not only that NATO countries green-lighted Bush's idiotic missile defense initiative on their summit in Bucharest earlier this year, it's also a prime study in petty egoisms and contemptible haggling for one's own gain. The biggest cake here takes Poland - also as usual. The government of Donald Tusk knows darn well that George Bush will pay any prize to finalize the deal before the end of his tenure and is salivating to add this fateful project to his legacy. Consequently, it demands $1 billion in military aid to modernize its air force and permanent control over a battery of Patriot missiles as a bridal prize for hosting the battery of interceptor missiles. Czech politicians, not to rank behind in making indecent proposals, are rumored to bribe the parliamentary opposition into agreeing to the treaty - which they, as in Poland, oppose together with two thirds of the populace - by ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon in exchange - which the government opposes, and the opposition supports. Given this ignoble horse-trading no one should be surprised how easily the Bush administration manages to exploit inner-European differences and to play EU member states off against each other.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 10th, 2008 at 09:27:51 AM EST
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