The more things change...... Well, you know the rest of it. Nobel peace prize winner Barack Obama promises peace and pie in the sky. On the foreign policy front, hardliners in the U.S. worried the 'liberal' Obama would sell out the U.S. to all its enemies. As proof, they pointed warily at his 'reset' intentions with Russia. But reality is often at odds with rhetoric. In eastern Europe, the Obama administration continues to pursue an essentially expansionist policy not much different than the bumbling, footloose cowboy Bush Junior. Despite the flowery rhetoric, however, the essentials of the two U.S. leaders are almost indistinguishable. The latest proof? Romania has announced talks are now underway with Washington on deploying some 20 interceptor rockets on that eastern European country's territory.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
It's a story the media would seem to want to get its clacking fingers into. Spies, secret torture bases, alleged terrorists. Very sexy stuff. There's only one problem. The side alleged to have been engaged in this cloak-and-dagger stuff is the United States. Exposure of such inconvenient facts would belie the United States reputation as an upholder of law and order. That's why you won't find the Western press digging into the stories and rumors of CIA black sites in eastern Europe. It just doesn't jive with the accepted narrative. Despite that, bits and pieces of information do get out there, adding pieces to the puzzle. The latest being official records confirming that CIA flights did land in Poland, despite previous government denials in Warsaw.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
On February 14, 1945,the bomb raid sirens pierced the air of Prague, then the capital of the Nazi protectorate of Bohemia. Few paid any attention on that afternoon. After all, allied warplanes had flown over the city numerous times in the past on their way to drop their bombs in Germany. This time, however, things would be different. The first warning was the humming of the warplanes close over the city. Then the bombs began to drop, some 700 in total. Destruction was slashed across a good swathe of the city. Under the rumble of homes, churches and businesses, lay the corpses of 700. Oddly, 65 years after that tragic day, no one has explained why American bombers unloaded their payload on one of Europe's most beautiful cities.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
February 17 marked two years to the day when Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Since then, 65 countries, including the U.S. and most of its EU allies, have recognized Kosovo. Serbia, obviously, and a majority of the world's countries have not, including UN Security Council members, Russia and China, keeping Kosovo out of the UN. Regardless, Kosovo's Albanian majority partied Wednesday on the anniversary. But a closer look at the state of Kosovo begs the question what exactly were they celebrating?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Romania's foreign minister let go of a major gaffe that could cost him his job. On a visit to Paris, Teodor Baconschi let loose with a few choice comments not particularly complementary of his country's Roma community. His suggestion that some Gypsies are born criminals got the civil rights groups going ballistic. That Baconschi made his remark in France is no accident. The Gauls are handling their own Roma problem, like elsewhere in Europe.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Seems everyone in eastern Europe wants a piece of the anti-missile shield pie. Bulgaria is the latest former Warsaw Pact nation to voice its eagerness to President Barack Obama's slimmed-down, vague plan. But it's not only the Americans who are in demands. Now the Russians are finding eager parties as well to house their military hardware. Yes, it is only the sliver of a territory, the Moldovan breakaway region of Transdniester. But the news shows this U.S. project is stirring things up in the region, and could possibly lead to a new arms race.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The paperwork appears in order, let the construction begin. That's the message coming out of the Russian-led consortium to build the Nord Stream pipeline to ship Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Europe. On February 12, 2010 -- Finland approved construction of the pipeline under their territorial waters, 374-kilometers worth of tubing. Now, the Nord Stream consortium says construction on the 1,200-kilometer pipeline will begin in April.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
If only the world worked the way Washington wished it would. The United States could then do whatever it wanted and then spin it as either benign, or inconsequential. In that fantasy world, what Washington did would comport with what it said it was doing. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Though more and more of the world's countries are voluntarily entangling themselves in Washington's mega-military pact, NATO, there are still a few holdouts, among them, Russia. Moscow has been incorrectly interpreting U.S. actions, prompting Washington to set the record straight.
Monday, February 08, 2010
Over and over again, NATO, read Washington and its tag-along European 'allies", repeat the same boilerplate: the alliance is not Russia's enemy, and therefore any of its military maneuvers and plans should not spark suspicion in the Kremlin. So Moscow's purchase of a state-of-the-art warship from NATO member France shouldn't raise anyone's blood pressure inside the military pact, right? Afterall, NATO and Russia are friends. Yeah, right.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
A former member of the Communist party, a two-time felon, and a mechanic by trade. That is the short bio of Ukraine's new president Viktor Yanukovych. On Sunday, the 59-year-old got his revenge for his 2004 ignominy, when his election to the same post was snatched away by the "Orange Revolution." This time not only did Yanukovych win, but he defeated one of the main heroines of that 'revolution', Yulia Tymoshenko. For Moscow, the result is sweet as well. The Black Sea Fleet, Ukraine's energy pipelines are now on the block prepped for Moscow's bidding. For many, the biggest disappointment five years after the Revolution has been choosing between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko, two overly familiar figures both tainted by scandal. Anyway, out with Orange in with Blue.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Police in the fractured Balkan state of Bosnia have launched what is being called the largest raid against followers of the radicial Wahhabi branch of Islam since the end of the country's 1992-1995 war. Some 600 police from Bosnia's Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat federation took part in the Feb. 2 operation, codenamed "Light." Arrests were made and guns and explosives seized in the raid in Gornja Maoca, in the north. What are Islamic terrorists doing in Europe? You can thank Washington's and Brussel's Balkans policy for that.
Another piece in Washington's global military puzzle has been placed in a forgotten, poor country on Europe's eastern edges, Romania. That country's president, Traian Basescu has announced his country will host Washington's leaner, and meaner, missile 'defense shield.' Moscow, naturally, is angered by the move, which comes as Russia's military establishment has labeled NATO enlargement as one of the country's main threats. Astonishingly, NATO, which has expanded up to Russia's borders, can't understand why.
Monday, February 01, 2010
The standard boilerplate on Georgia is that the Caucasus country may be small but strategically important. Straddling the Black and Caspian Seas, Georgia is seen by Washington and Brussels as a key fossil fuel transit country. The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline attests to that. It's all part of the grand strategy to tug the region out of Moscow's orbit. Less know is the fact that Georgia has a little oil of its own and a Houston-based drilling firm is doing its darnedest to suck it out of the ground.