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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Monday, June 04, 2007

A thumb in Putin's eye

The Russians are understandably upset about the US's abandonment of nuclear control treaties in the placement of missile defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland.

But, while the White House is trying to sound publicly amiable,
In a diplomatic poke in the eye at Putin, Bush bracketed the summit with stops in the Czech Republic and Poland — the two countries where the United States wants to build a missile defense system for Europe.

Later: Bush is planning a "democracy" speech in Prague that is expected to further upset the Russians. He's going to talk about democracy in the former Soviet bloc states, but more significantly,
"He'll talk a little bit about the challenge of promoting democracy in countries -- big countries, in particular, where we have a complex relationship and a number of interests -- countries like China and Russia," Hadley said.

They seem to want this enemy.

Later: And a very interesting criticism in the NYTimes piece.
Critics of the administration, including Mr. Brzezinski, say the decline in American-Russian relations is a byproduct of Mr. Bush’s heavy emphasis on building a personal relationship with Mr. Putin, instead of a strategic one.

“My message will be Vladimir — I call him Vladimir — you shouldn’t fear a missile defense system,” the president said.


  • It's like they actively and vigorously try to do the wrong thing... from doing the opposite of the ISG recommended, to trying to provoke Iran, to pissing on Putin's front door.

    What the frick is WRONG with these people!?

    Actually, I think there's a strain of Fight Club macho masochism running through these people and their supporters who just plain WANT to have a good ol' fashioned global death match. I wonder if when you're so afraid you'll be unmasked as a fraud for your complete dearth of constructive ideas, you intentionally create chaos as a distraction.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:20 PM  

  • They believe in this radical theory of diplomacy, that confrontation and hardline is effective.

    You would think the track record would have dissuaded them.

    Oh, and as for a lack of constructive ideas. One of the founding theoretical beliefs is Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction. Roughly, the idealistic notion that if you tear away existing structures, new, more efficient structures will return in their place.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:27 PM  

  • The theory may be true... but it may take severally millennia of formative, primordial chaos before new structures rise from the ashes. They probably didn't think of that.

    And as far as efficient is concerned, sharks are efficient. I'd rather have compassionate and uplifting structures, not coldly inhuman 'efficient' structures.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:33 PM  

  • Bush is here now, trying to negotiate the deal. There is widespread opposition to the plan here. (over 60% are definitely against).

    Did anyone think to ask Putin first? Or how about this: if the system is designed against rogue states like Iran and N. Korea, why not put the system IN Russia?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:59 AM  

  • EPM, it may be true, but it also may not. It has an overly idealistic belief in the idea that "markets" are inherently and unerringly good.

    It is an extreme extrapolation of the neoliberal capitalist "church" to encompass all things.


    Praguetwin. I'd read about the resistance in Czech. Interestingly, less so in Poland.

    They did try to talk to Putin about this and offer to include Russia in the project, but what that meant was never really detailed.

    My odd question, and I'll admit I'm not an expert on the technology, is how does a missile site in Poland act to stop missiles coming from Iran? That's certainly not a straight shot.

    Do the missiles need to come in from an angle?

    It seems like that would be wasted travel time when a nuke missile was coming from Iran, bearing down on Italy.

    Poland might be the best site for N. Korea targeting Europe, but what evidence is there for that? It would also be extremely strategic for Russia.

    Again. I don't know the technology, but drawing simple lines on a map seems to say it's not really for rogue nations.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 7:53 AM  

  • Just a quick thought... have you noticed who Bush talks about democracy, but his greatest support comes from leaders who act counter the will of their people, to wit, Tony Blair, Václav Klaus, Berlusconi, and the Spanish president before Zapatero (whose name I can't recall).

    By Blogger -epm, at 8:58 AM  

  • ...that should have been "have you noticed HOW Bush talks about democracy"...

    By Blogger -epm, at 8:59 AM  

  • Interesting point.

    I'm also finding it curious that the "freedom agenda" originally scripted for the middle east is now being applied to ex Soviet countries that were already democratic when he came into office.

    He's trying to show some kind of success in his signature foreign policy item.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 9:05 AM  

  • I'd love to hear what they actually offered Putin. That is the first I've heard of it.

    The whole idea that we need a missile defense against rogue nations right now is just so far fetched. India can't even reach Europe yet. In my mind that puts N. Korea and Iran a long, long way from it.

    Basically it is a system that protects Europe against a threat that doesn't exist.

    No wonder Putin is angry.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:14 AM  

  • It's part of the "I give you fear, you give me power" scheme. If Bush can scare the Eastern Euros into thinking they need to be afraid, very afraid, then he can get his jackboot in the door and increase his imperial death grip.

    I live in the US and I fear what this man well do to MY country... I can't imagine any informed citizenry inviting this man and his regime into their country. Nothing good comes from the seeds this man sows...

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:45 AM  

  • I have to admit the Prague speech was cleverly scripted. Anybody who doesn't go along with evangelical democracy is a communist or a terrorist.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 AM  

  • Praguetwin,

    I think North Korea could hit Europe with a missile. Now whether they could hit a particular country, I don't know. I doubt whether they could put some version of a nuke on it. Looking at the video of their control rooms, their nukes must be heavy and huge.

    In theory Iran could hit the southern edge of Europe with one of their missiles maxed out, but again, no nuke, and any one they developed would be huge.

    The only real non-Russian, Non-Chinese nuclear threat I can imagine would be a comandeered Russian nuke.

    One more clarification. I would wager that it's not to protect Europe, but instead the major US bases in Germany.


    EPM, I would certainly buy that it's part of widening the divisions between Russia and the eastern bloc countries, much like the controversial NATO memberships.


    Anon, I haven't read it yet. I caught a tiny bit of the introductionon CNN where Bush said that it was people secretly praying and worshipping in churches that brought down the Soviet Union.

    My head's been spining all morning about that one.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:52 AM  

  • The last time N. Korea tested a long range missile, it blew up like 50 miles after launch. Theoretically their missiles could reach Europe, but so far the tests don't back that theory up.

    And as you point out, both Iran and N. Korea are so far away from having a nuclear weapon that could be attached to their (unproven) missiles, the threat is pretty far-fetched.

    Did Bush really say that? So that means that the Reagan led arms build up was unnecessary? All that was needed was a lot of praying.

    Damn, if that is isn't religious fanaticism, I don't know what is.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:56 PM  

  • Paraphrased, but, yeah, it was in the first couple paragraphs of tthe speech.

    I was a little off.

    "In East Germany, families came together for prayer meetings -- and found the strength to tear down a wall. Soon, activists emerged from the attics and church basements to reclaim the streets of Bulgaria, and Romania, and Albania, and Latvia, and Lithuania, and Estonia. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved peacefully in this very room. And after seven decades of oppression, the Soviet Union ceased to exist."


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 4:01 PM  

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