Saturday, August 16, 2008

Don't Forget Poland

While most of the world watches the Georgian crisis unfold, another crisis is brewing, and the potential for another conflagration has risen considerably. Earlier in the week, Poland signed an agreement with the Bush administration to allow elements of the US missile defense system to be placed on Polish soil. Russia has made it clear that it will not tolerate any such placement right from the start, but that hasn't deterred the Bush administration. Russia, consequently, has just raised the rhetoric. From a Reuters report in the NY Times:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A top Russian general on Friday said Poland's deal with the United States to set up parts of a missile defense shield on Polish territory lays it open to a possible military strike, a Russian news agency reported.

Col-General Anatoliy Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the general staff, told Interfax that Russian military doctrine would allow for a possible nuclear strike.

Poland agreed on Thursday to host elements of a U.S. global anti-missile system after Washington agreed to boost Poland's own military air defenses.

"The USA is engaged in an anti-missile defense for its own government, and not for Poland. And Poland, in deploying (elements of the system) opens itself to a military strike. That is 100 percent," Interfax quoted Nogovitsyn as saying.

While a nuclear strike on Poland is highly unlikely, some form of military action is certainly a real possibility, which Russia's actions in Georgia make clear. Why the US didn't put a hold on talks with Poland while the Georgia crisis played out is somewhat of a mystery, although the current administration's history of fanning flames certainly provides the necessary back story.

What is especially maddening is that certainly at this point there is little evidence that the envisioned system will even work even if it is cobbled together. That hasn't stopped Mr. Bush. Apparently we are back to playing high stakes poker with our old nemesis.

I hope somebody blinks.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poland and Bush have acted irresponsibly by implementing a red flag in front of a mad bull. This, however, doesn't justify Putin's needs for a new Russian empire. With no red flag, Putin will find other reasons to try to recoup the Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe.

The EU's dependence on Russian natural gas is also an encouragement for Putin's appetite.

9:51 AM  
Blogger shrimplate said...

It's a very dangerous game.

What's the quid pro quo? What does Poland get out of this, aside from exacerbating its status as a military target?

11:57 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

What's the quid pro quo? What does Poland get out of this, aside from exacerbating its status as a military target?

Well, Poland did get some military aid from the US, including some assistance in updating their air defense system. I have a hunch they're going to need it.

12:37 PM  

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