Hopefully, the next president, whoever he is, will have sense enough to realize that an anti-missile site in Eastern Europe is not worth rekindling the Cold War with Russia.
Though the press pays little attention to it, the Bush administration has already practically wrecked relations with Russia by insisting on adding the Eastern European countries to NATO and siting his anti-missile system in the Czech Republic and in Poland. The Russians are right that it represents a threat to their security.
President Bush's lame excuse that the system is designed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles is no doubt another deliberate lie. I can't think of any reason whatsoever for Iran to attack Europe, and I'm sure the Iranians can't, either. Iran hasn't attacked anybody for more than 100 years. They would have absolutely nothing to gain by firing a few missiles at Europe. It doesn't make any sense at all.
Nor does it make any sense to add the small countries of Eastern Europe to NATO. This was a war-fighting alliance set up at the end of World War II specifically to deter and, if necessary, go to war with the Red Army. The Soviet Union set up its own alliance, the Warsaw Pact.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia withdrew its army from Eastern Europe and dissolved the Warsaw Pact. The United States should have dissolved NATO. Its sole purpose vanished with the Soviet Union. It has no enemy, unless fools in the U.S. create one. The American politicians have used it in the Yugoslavian Civil War, and now has it involved in the Afghanistan insurgency. Why the Europeans put up with this nonsense is beyond me.
As for including little countries, that's a strategic blunder. Do you think that if the Russians one day launched nuclear missiles at the United States that Poland and Lithuania would go to war against their large neighbor? Will France become a nation of teetotalers?
In fact, including small countries in military alliances is worthless posturing. All you do is allow the little country to get you into trouble by its bad behavior. The little country is confident that its big ally will rescue it if it goes too far in antagonizing its larger neighbors. It's like a spoiled brat with a bodyguard. Sixty years after its founding, Israel is still at war with most of its neighbors precisely because it has no incentive to make a sensible peace. Why should it? It has its American attack dog. The only peace treaties it has signed are with Egypt and Jordan, both of which the U.S. bribed to make peace. Bribe or not, in both cases it's a cold peace.
Believe it or not, we are not at war with any nation at the present. We made war on Iraq, but that has long since become nothing but an occupation. We are occupying or trying to occupy Afghanistan, but other than that, we are not at war. Why then do we need military alliances? Why do we need troops in Korea, Japan and Germany? Or, I hasten to add, Iraq and the Persian Gulf?
President Bush's war on terror is a false metaphor, and a dangerous one at that. There is no terrorist army or air force. There are some gangs of criminals. What the president did when he adopted this specious metaphor about a war on terror was to commit the United States to perpetual war. Ask your local warmonger how he defines victory in the war on terror. Ask why when Iraq was very violent we couldn't leave, and now that it's less violent, we can't leave. Ask him how he defines victory in Iraq or in Afghanistan.
We really have neither a republic nor a democracy. We have a war state and an empire. We should pull the plug on both.
July 29, 2008
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2008 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.