Fri Apr 27th, 2007 at 04:39:38 AM EST
Turns out the Russians are causing trouble again, according to the FT: the editorial today opens with:
President Vladimir Putin has raised the stakes in Russia’s deepening conflict with the west over missiles, deterrence and security.
By suspending the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, the Russian leader hit at a key pact ending the cold war. Mr Putin complained the treaty was unfair because Nato states had not ratified it. Nato said it had not been ratified because Russia had not met key conditions – pulling troops from Georgia and Moldova.
Nasty Mr Putin up to his old tricks again. Except ...
The US is entitled to look after its own security. But it must accept security is often easier to build in partnership with others than alone. America, not Russia, was the first to pull out of a cold war arms pact when in 2001 it abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Washington’s recent effort to explain its missile defence plans to sceptical European states, including Russia, is long overdue.
That's later in the same article. So it's Russia's conflict with the West, not a US conflict with damn near everyone else?
Philip Stephens has a fluff opinion piece on the Europe-US alliance, Merkel's relationship with the US and how the security of the "American homeland" is going to be the "first, second and third" priority of any incoming US President, just as it is Bush's. He also opines:
And, for all the genuine clashes of strategic culture, the mutuality of interests and values between America and Europe far outweighs the differences.
Of course, he doesn't explain what those mutual interests are, or how they are specially shared with the US rather than Russia or China or whoever. That's a given.
Anyone want to explain what NATO is for to me, or the point of Atlanticism? Philips manages to recognise this much: " Since the end of the cold war, the relationship has been one of choice rather than existential necessity." He says it needs to be worked at: he's right, and the first thing to do is look to see whether both parties to the relationship are having their interests served. I don't believe they are.
How does a new Cold War with Russia serve Europe? Or a new Cold War with the Soviets, if you believe that fool Rice:
CONDOLEEZZA Rice, the United States' Secretary of State, spoke yesterday of the "Soviet" nuclear arsenal in a slip of the tongue as she urged Russia to abandon Cold War thinking.
Slip of the tongue nothing. The US-Soviet war is so deeply embedded in the psyches of elites on both side that it is easy for them to fall back into the old patterns. You can even see it in the left-wing US blogs, where the recent negative stories about Russia fell straight into pre-existing narrative structures.
In my world, Putin is pursuing a rational course of action in order to achieve rational and possibly even objectively fair goals: protecting the strategic balance of power without having to spend a large amount of money on the military. It would be simple, if expensive for Russia to overwhelm any possible missile defence shield, even if it worked as advertised. However, it is preferable to negotiate a settlement. It is quite clear that the current US regime doesn't negotiate unless it has no choice: it prefers bullying and exertion of manly raw power to girly talking. Negotiation is what you do after your opponent or victim has capitulated to your demands. To bring a party like that to the negotiating table you have to have a credible alternative to negotiation that is unacceptable. That's what Putin is trying to manufacture here - they've made it quite clear they don't want to do this and would prefer a negotiated agreement with NATO.