If you think that aggression consists of the threat of rocket attacks, and that building 'anti-rocket' defences is a legitimate form of defence, consider this: If you have thieves all around you and you build a fence to protect your home, you're the aggressor.
It is a long time since Slovakia's entry to NATO was described as a threat, and Slovaks were asked in a referendum whether they agreed with NATO's stationing nuclear missiles and military bases on Slovak soil, even though the country had never been invited to join NATO and never been offered any military bases. Thus does the expelled student reject the offer to graduate from his former school. Let's call this student Lapdog 1. He too did everything he could to please Russia.
Ten years later, someone else - let's call him Lapdog 2 - is starting to copy the policies of his fore-lapdog, and is parroting the views of the president of all Russians. Instead of condemning threats to use ballistic nuclear missiles, he is criticizing his neighbours for daring to resist their former master. The same master that wanted to punish Estonia for removing the symbols of the replacement of one totalitarian system with another.
Yes, Russia is still powerful. It is the last colonial empire in Europe, and in the last few years has lost thousands of soldiers fighting separatism in Chechnya. It is truly touching to watch how Lapdog 2 is fascinated by the imperial struggle to retain influence in former satellites.
Let's take a closer look. The anti-rocket system is aimed at Russia, says the master of all Russians, and Lapdog 2 growls in agreement. "The Americans" did not consult it with us, and that is not done. But while the lapdog is barking at Prague and Warsaw, he fails to ask himself whether the EU is not partly right when it says that Iran is pursuing an illegal nuclear program and threatening other states for the simple reason that they continue to exist. Today it is Tel Aviv; tomorrow it could be Berlin or Brussels. Security is not just about immediate threats, but also prevention.
Russia claims that about 10 anti-missile rockets weighing about 75 kilograms threaten its sovereignty. Meanwhile, Russian military experts know full well that even if these rockets were meant as a defence against Russia, they would be useless against the thousands of nuclear missiles that Russia has, not least because they would be placed too close to the Russian border.
Nor are the complaints that the project was not consulted in order. It was discussed between the Council of NATO and Russia. The general in charge of the project, Oberan, travelled to Moscow for talks on it. Both former US defence secretaries (Rumsfeld and Gates) not only discussed the issue with Russia, but Rumsfeld even took the Russian defence minister to a rocket base in Alaska to show him that the US fears someone else than Russia. Anti-rocket defence was also mentioned in the communiqué from the NATO summit in Riga.
Both Putin and Lapdog 2 should also learn that Poland and the Czech Republic are sovereign states, and that no one can dictate to them what they should do in their foreign and security policies.
Sme, May 14
21. May 2007 at 0:00 | Ivo Samson