A Tactical Manoeuvre
by budgie Thursday, Apr 3 2008, 6:54am
international / peace/war / commentary
The following AP report announcing NATO’s endorsement of Bush’s missile defence shield in Eastern Europe is sure to create consternation in Moscow and Beijing – and I hope it does! If the Chinese and Russians are incapable of determining when they are under attack perhaps they too should join NATO -- though it is an invitation only military club. At least the offer to join would put the West on the spot and reveal its true intentions.
It is easy to overlook the fact that NATO is a military alliance, which was formed in the heat of WWII. But where is the WORLD WAR today or perhaps I should ask, who is the enemy? Surely not a bunch of Central-Asian guerrilla fighters or Arab camel herders!
Perhaps the formation of nations referred to by Bush as a ‘ring of freedom’ is merely a benign social club of nations. However, Bush’s comment clearly infers that something is being encircled! It couldn’t possibly be Russia, could it? To what end, the only invasive nations in the world today are members of NATO?
One can only wonder what the military men in Russia and China are smoking?
In the circumstances, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! But of course the West will not allow it – do you know why, Vladimir and Hu? It’s time to face what blind Freddy can see!
NATO to Endorse US Missile-Defense Plan
by Matthew Lee
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — NATO leaders have agreed to fully endorse President Bush's plan to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and to urge Russia to drop its objections to the shield, senior American officials said Thursday.
The endorsement is contained in a communique that the leaders of the 26-nation military alliance will adopt Thursday during their summit being held here, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the statement's release.
The document will state that "ballistic missile proliferation poses an increasing threat to allied forces, territory and populations." It also will recognize "the substantial contribution to the protection of allies ... to be provided by the U.S.-led system," the officials said.
The statement calls on all NATO members to explore ways in which the planned U.S. project, to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic, can be linked with future missile shields elsewhere. It says leaders should come up with recommendations to be considered at their next meeting in 2009, the officials said.
The document calls on Russia to accept U.S. and NATO offers to cooperate on the system, the officials said.
Russia vehemently opposes the plan, believing it will threaten its own deterrent force and upset the balance of power in Europe. The backing from NATO provides Bush with a powerful leg up in his negotiations with Moscow over the issue.
That development, and the commitment of more troops to Afghanistan's most dangerous areas, provided welcome good news for Bush at the summit on issues of strategic importance. He was all but certain to suffer a setback on another priority item, the further eastward expansion of NATO. The alliance was expected to reject his appeal to allow former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia to get on a path toward membership in the alliance, a topic that has been another source of bitter dispute with Russia.
On Afghanistan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Thursday that France will send as many as 1,000 troops to eastern Afghanistan, freeing up some U.S. forces to move to the south and keep Canada from pulling its soldiers from that area. Canada had threatened to pull out of the volatile south, the front line in the fight against a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida forces, unless its soldiers received 1,000 reinforcements from another ally.
"This will meet the Canadian requirement," one official quoted Bush as telling his counterparts at the summit's morning session.
This issue could have been a major point of contention at the summit. Some Europeans see the NATO mission as largely a humanitarian effort, while Bush and some others regard is a crucial element in the war against terrorism.
Bush was effusively complimentary of Sarkozy and his policies, which include at some point re-joining NATO's "integrated military structure" from which France withdrew in the 1960s, the official said. The official quoted the president as saying to fellow leaders that the French president's visit to Washington in November had a huge impact on the American people — "like the latest incarnation of Elvis."