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NATO deploys wishful thinking against Putin’s tanks

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http://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/09/02/kelly-mcparland-nato-deploys-wishful-thinking-against-putins-tanks

Kelly McParland: NATO deploys wishful thinking against Putin’s tanks

Kelly McParland: NATO deploys wishful thinking against Putin’s tanks

The case for believing Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t risk a wider war while perusing his campaign in Ukraine is the assumption that no sane leader could be so reckless, foolhardy or mindless of history.

The Soviet Union lost 20 million dead in the Second World War, split evenly between military and civilian casualties. That followed nine million killed or wounded in the First World War. Thirty million people lost in two wars over three decades – that should be enough to convince even the most irresponsible of leaders that risking yet another European conflagration isn’t something to be joked about.

Yet Mr. Putin seems immune to such sensibilities. Visiting a youth camp near Moscow, Mr. Putin played the part he loves best, the macho strongman who likes to doff his shirt and show off his pecs.

“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he said. “We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.

“Russia’s partners… should understand it’s best not to mess with us … Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

Mr. Putin knew his words would be recorded and broadcast to the powers that are trying to halt his “incursion” – as Washington insists on terming it – into Ukraine. They’re the words of a madman, except, of course, we know Mr. Putin isn’t mad. He may be calculating, ruthless, vain, boastful and imprudent, but he’s not mad. That may be what’s most worrying about his Ukraine escapade. None of the people who unleashed the horrors of those two previous wars were mad either. Just reckless, foolhardy, and mindless of history.

While The West assures itself the Russian leader can’t be serious in his demands for Ukraine to submit to his dictates, Mr. Putin gives every sign of meaning what he says. He has yet to lose a challenge to western powers. He sent Russian tanks to the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and got away with it. He seized Crimea and got away with it. He allied himself with Syria’s President Bashar al Assad in challenging the U.S. and got away with it. And so far he’s managed to shrug of warnings against meddling in Ukraine, and is getting away with it. He treats efforts at diplomacy with contempt, pretending the Russian troops in Ukraine are “on vacation”, and just happened to take their tanks with them. None of the shaken fists and dire threats issued at his previous adventures has been followed up with action; why should he expect this one to be any different?

Ukrainians and Ukraine supporters demonstrate in front of the White House in Washington. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Re: Russia Blusters, NATO Cowers, editorial, Sept. 3.

Accusing Russia of attacking Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that, “This is the first time since the end of the Second World War that one European country has tried to grab another’s territory by force.” Maybe the Secretary-General has a case of amnesia, because, if memory serves, NATO countries themselves did just this just 15 years ago, when they attacked Serbia and grabbed the Serbian territory of Kosovo by force.

In the same speech, Mr. Rasmussen also said, “We strongly condemn Russia’s repeated violations of international law. This begs the question: Was he referring to the same international law that NATO countries violated when they attacked Serbia in 1999?
Stanko Vuleta, president, The Ottawa Serbian Heritage Society, Ottawa.

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Written by Mika

6. septembra 2014. u 22:53

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