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View Full Version : An unusually balanced editorial



quincy
29-08-2008, 21:27
Russia and the west
London Guardian August 29 Latest news, sport, business, comment and reviews from the Guardian | guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk)
Belligerent bluster
Something shattered when the Georgian artillery opened up with a massive barrage on Tskhinvali on August 7 (Colonel Arsen Tsukhishvili, chief of staff of the Artillery Brigade said with pride that 300 of his gun barrels fired at the enemy simultaneously). What broke was not only the columns of Russian tanks the Georgian artillery was aiming at. It was a 16-year post-Soviet consensus about the power of Russia to affect the course taken by its neighbours. The cold, unspoken western calculation was that, the quicker we pushed eastwards with a combination of political, oil and military projects, the less Russia could resist. Even an economically resurgent Russia was still judged to be either too weak, too poor or just too ramshackle to stop it.

To claim, as David Miliband did yesterday, that Nato did not have a sphere of influence and that the eastern expansion of the military alliance was merely an expression of individual democracies exercising their new-found sovereignty, was breathtakingly disingenuous. In May, a subcommittee of the Nato Parliamentary Assembly, a body that brings together parliamentarians from Nato members and its partners visited Romania and Bulgaria, two of the six states along the Black Sea and the latest members of Nato. The topics discussed on this visit strayed far from its brief - energy and environmental security. The committee heard how Romania and Bulgaria occupy a strategic position between Europe, the largest energy consumer, and the oil-producing countries. Two rival oil and gas pipelines, the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline and the South Stream project backed by Russia, arrive here. Talk of oil and gas led seamlessly on to the military role Nato could play in securing this supply. Paragraph 28 of the executive summary of this visit reads: "Nato has not traditionally played a role in energy security matters ... It can however play a more active role defending energy infrastructure and the flow of oil and gas on the high seas ... Nato might also provide security for infrastructure in energy-producing states facing unrest."

Nato yesterday brushed aside Russian claims that an naval exercise in the western part of the Black Sea had anything to do with the crisis going on in the eastern shore. The Nato parliamentarian's visit held before the Georgian crisis erupted says otherwise. If this is not a "sphere of influence" being constructed and planned by Nato's existing members along Russia's most sensitive border in the South Caucasus and right though Russia's most sensitive sea, what is?

The cold war was a nuclear standoff between two military superpowers with mutually opposed economic systems and ideological beliefs. The new period we could be entering lacks many cold war ingredients. Russia is weaker militarily than the Soviet Union was and its reach is not global. It can sell arms to Syria or Iran, but it can no longer restart the revolution in Angola or Cuba. Russia is unashamedly capitalist. But it is also now allergically anti-western and free to form its own alliances. That was evident in the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev flying eastwards to Tajikistan on Wednesday for a summit with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, an assembly which includes Russia, China and four former members of the Soviet Union.

The way to counter the forces unleashed on August 7 is clear: stop rearranging the furniture on Russia's sensitive southern border; stop militarising the Black Sea; stop pretending that this is only a conflict about loftier goals, a simple struggle between authoritarianism and western liberal democracy. The ethnically driven post-Soviet map is more complex than that. Local conflicts should be kept local. As things stand, everything is being done to widen them out to the regional level. As a result, Russia and Nato are sleepwalking into a confrontation that neither needs, and neither has planned for.

DDT
29-08-2008, 22:05
And what was unbiased about that?

Transparent Theatre
30-08-2008, 14:52
And what was unbiased about that?

You wouldn't recognise balance if it hit you on the head.

Go back on your porch. No-one wants your murderous views here.

Gypsy
30-08-2008, 15:23
Russia and the west
London Guardian August 29 The ethnically driven post-Soviet map is more complex than that. Local conflicts should be kept local. As things stand, everything is being done to widen them out to the regional level. As a result, Russia and Nato are sleepwalking into a confrontation that neither needs, and neither has planned for.
Well what the f*** are we paying our taxes for?

I should bl**dy well hope all sides have been planning for this as well as a hundred other scenarios.

MickeyTong
30-08-2008, 15:45
I should bl**dy well hope all sides have been planning for this as well as a hundred other scenarios.

Our lives in their hands......and they aren't accountable:
"The same group of economists that led the economy into this catastrophe still has its hands on the wheel. Holding them accountable for their disastrous performance is simply not on the agenda."

ZNet - Housing Bubble Villains (http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18615)

MissAnnElk
30-08-2008, 16:01
How about this one:

How Russia's economic ties to the West diminish the possibility of a new Cold War. - By Daniel Gross - Slate Magazine (http://www.slate.com/id/2198319/)

Adamodeus
31-08-2008, 01:37
And what was unbiased about that?
Of course, "Russia is evil and needs to be stomped on" is much more unbiased, but that's been the general theme of 90% of the articles out there, so I'm sure the "fair and unbiased" people have managed to get their point across already.

Adamodeus
31-08-2008, 01:44
How about this one:

How Russia's economic ties to the West diminish the possibility of a new Cold War. - By Daniel Gross - Slate Magazine (http://www.slate.com/id/2198319/)
Wow, THANK YOU, five stars! This is EXACTLY what I've been saying all along. War is just much too expensive and unprofitable for all parties, so for all the posturing, nothing real has or will be done about this from either side. In fact, the faster it blows over, the happier everyone will be.