Posted by: lucylastic | April 4, 2008

Caught in the middle……..?

President Bush isn’t very well regarded in the circles I move in, but I think we ignore his actions and decisions at our peril.  The man may appear a blithering idiot – but he’s a powerful idiot, with some strange ideas.  This coming weekend, Bush is on a Baltic jaunt where he will meet outgoing (but not really going very far) Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Mr Putin is infinitely more dangerous than Bush in my view – he’s no idiot, but has very grand ideas and a well publicised desire to grow his world influence and the position of Russia on the world stage.  While these two parley, we are inclined to forget that we are geographically right in the middle of them.  

Ongoing attempts by Bush to place US missiles on European soil, (we’re pointing them at Iran & Iraq, Vladimir, old chap, not at you) are looking more likely to succeed, as the US government is offering more and more concessions to Russia in order to gain their approval and NATO has approved plans for the ‘missile shield’ to go ahead – starting in the Czech Republic and Poland.  At the same time, the US want former Soviet Republics Georgia & Ukraine to join NATO – this has been approved in principle, but not only the Russians, but also Germany and France have big reservations and the timings are far from imminent.  I would very much like to be a fly on the wall at their discussions – the decisions they are taking are only in their own interests, we are kidding ourselves if we think anything else.  In a little reported announcement from the same meeting, France’s President Sarkozy pledged 1000 elite troops for Afghanistan – no doubt they’ll be welcomed with open arms by our boys over there, but it’s not a signal that the war is being won, is it?  

Interestingly, Germany, Italy, Spain and Turkey are all refusing to send troops to Afghanistan, because of the ‘unpopularity’ of the war in their home countries – popular or not, it seems that the tail is wagging the dog in these instances – I don’t pretend to know what the solution is, but surely as a coalition, NATO members should be sticking together?

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