Sunday, September 20, 2009

No linkage

This past week, after President Obama announced that he was not going to go ahead with plans for a radar and missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, opting instead for a "marine-based" and "portable" deterrent, Russia responded by saying it will scrap plans to base missiles in its enclave of Kaliningrad. Sounds like good news, right? After all, both the US and Russia are concerned about an even bigger problem -- the stubborness of Iran and its push for a nuclear weapons program of its own that could target much of Europe.

No, it's not good news. It's appeasement, and at a time when the world can ill afford it. Iran is not trustworthy, but neither is Russia. Its slide back from democracy and into dictatorship should alarm anyone and everyone who is familiar with Moscow. While ostensibly aimed at Iran and other wannabe crackpots in the Middle East, the system would also have ensured that Russia doesn't keep pushing it with the EU and the tools Moscow has at its disposal to cripple further the European economy, especially with natural resources.
The world is safer when more countries are democratic. But democracies can only be protected when they stand up against those which oppose democracy and free speech. So until Russia gets back in line itself and restores the kind of openness and freedom that existed under Gorbachev Yeltsin (but was stripped away piece by piece after the rise of Putin) and returns, then unfortunately there needs to be a deterrent against rogue elements within Russia itself who may force that country's leadership to push the button.
Obama may have bought the West some time, for now -- but he will have no choice but to have some kind of strategy to have a land-based system on European soil at some later date. Short term expediency can have long term ramifications.

Just as the world agreed there could be no linkage between the Palestinian issue and Kuwait two decades ago, we must also agree there can be no linkage between defending free Europe and deterring Iran. Period. When Western Europe, Canada and the US took its hard line stance against the Soviets during the 1980s, communism fell and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist. By being just as hard against Russia, the only conceivable result is freedom for the Russians. A free West and a free Russia working together to contain Iran will have much more credibility and chance of success long term, than a ragtag marriage of convenience without conditions.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

1 comment:

Home Staging Toronto said...

You are right, the radar system is needed but what makes the US the one that should supply it. Is EU a small child that can't take care of itself and build their own system? Sometimes I think the US protects the whole world and is kind of like the police of the world. What would we do if Iran tried to destroy half of the Europe...nothing. So why is the US under so much criticism when they literally can't afford the system and would like to focus on the mess in their own country too a bit.

Take care, Ella