Russia responds to U.S. missile plans for Poland

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy | Posted on 22-01-2010

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I’ve tried staying away from foreign policy, because I’m a recovering neo-con. I must ask though, what are we trying to accomplish by agitating Russia? Didn’t the cold war end 20 years ago? Then why are we still fighting it? Who is benefiting from it continuing? (I have some ideas, but I’ll save that for a conspiracy blog)

Russia will strengthen its Baltic fleet in response to U.S. plans to deploy Patriot missiles in Poland, Russian state news agency RIA reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed senior navy official.

“The surface, underwater and aviation elements of the Baltic Fleet will be strengthened,” RIA quoted the unidentified Russian navy official as saying.

The United States is dispatching the missiles to Poland after dropping an earlier plan to deploy interceptor missiles in the NATO nation as part of an anti-missile system in Europe.

“In connection with the plans to install the Patriots on Polish territory in the next 5 to 7 years, there may be significant changes in the approach to define the tasks and the military potential of the Baltic Fleet,” RIA quoted the same source as saying.

Moscow has expressed concern about what it calls U.S. military encroachment and threatened to respond to any change in the current military balance on its western borders with NATO nations.

President Dmitry Medvedev had previously warned Moscow would station Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if Washington went ahead with its original anti-missile plan. U.S. President Barack Obama‘s decision to revise it pleased the Kremlin.

But the plan to install Patriot missiles has resurrected longstanding Russian suspicions about the motive for the strengthened NATO presence near its borders, said Alexei Fenenko of the Institute of International Security Studies in Moscow.

“Russia was very concerned about the anti-missile system being installed in Poland and the Czech Republic and didn’t understand the need for it in these locations, if it was intended against Iran,” he said.

“If it’s not against Iran, then who is it against? The new missiles will be now be close to the territory of both Kaliningrad and Belarus” (a Russian military ally that borders Poland), he said.

via Russia responds to U.S. missile plans for Poland – Yahoo! News.

How long do we think we can keep this up? Reagan’s strategy was to bankrupt the Soviet Union, and he was successful. Instead of being humble and trying to build a long lasting relationship with Russia, we have constantly slapped them in the face. This is the latest example. Unfortunately, because we decided after the Cold War was over that we needed to be an empire, we are now moving towards bankruptcy ourselves.

We can no longer be the protectorate of all the world. Most of the world does not even have to spend their own money to protect themselves, because they let us be the useful tools to do it. We are not only doing this in Eastern Europe with Russia. We do it to China with the Koreas, Taiwan and Japan. We do it in South America with Columbia. Look at this map of our military footprint. How long can a country that is aging, becoming less free and less capitalistic sustain such an empire?

While I would love to believe that our intentions are good and we only want to promote freedom around the world, I cannot see how building up militarily in every corner of the earth does that. It isn’t the threat of military force that drives people to want freedom. It is in the human spirit to want freedom, and it was the American example of liberty that inspired much of the world.

I am not arguing that we should weaken ourselves as a nation. We should have a ferocious homeland defense. Our second amendment rights should be reaffirmed as unquestionable by any legislation whether domestic or foreign. A heavily armed citizenry would dissuade any tyranical government from becoming our oppressors, including our own.

History is full of dead empires who thought they could control the world beyond their borders. George Washington warned us not to fall for it. In his fairwell address he said:

“If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

George Washington was right too when he said “I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish..“. We long ago forgot his warnings. Maybe it’s about time we take up these “counsels of an old and affectionate friend”.

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