Thursday, January 24, 2008

IAN: Russia's Nuclear Declaration, A Defense, Not An Attack

by David Storobin

We have no plans to attack anyone, but we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand ... that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, the use of nuclear weapons."
-Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky.This announcement was largely ignored by the American media as it debated what’s more important for the next President: the shape of the candidate’s genitals or the color. In more wonkish corners, the statement drew concerns and talk of a new Cold War. And yet, Moscow is not trying to threaten the world despite the panic that the word "nuclear" usually provokes. The General's statement is also not particularly extraordinary. Russia’s new stance is not a threat to the West, much less the beginning of a new Cold War.

To understand why Vladimir Putin’s administration made the statement one needs to go back to the Balkan wars in the 1990s since the “ally” Moscow was talking about was Serbia in the anticipation of the potential unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo Albanians and recognition of the new state by the European Union and the United States.

In the early 1990s, Yugoslavia fell apart along ethnic lines. The most contentious place was Bosnia where the Muslims clashed with Christian Serbs. Both sides committed atrocities, but as has been the policy of the West since the 1930s, the US and EU sided with Muslims. While some countries, at some points (France in the 1950s, US since the 1960s), made an exception for Israel, it has been a consistent pattern of American and West European foreign policy to support Islamic nations – Afghanistan against Russia, Pakistan against India, Turkey over Greece (though the US-Greek relations weren’t hostile, Turkey was clearly the preferred friend), Somalia against Ethiopia. The United States even had an arms embargo against Israel and sided with Egypt over not only Jerusalem, but also Britain and France during the 1956 war. It was not the United States that turned away from Muslims and towards the Jewish state, but rather it was the Arabs who abandoned the alliance and sided with Moscow, leaving the U.S. with little choice but to ally itself with Israel. When Egypt decided to switch sides again, Washington promptly issued it over $2 billion in annual aid and forced Jerusalem to give up Sinai.......IAN

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