16 August 2008

Prepare for WAR

Vladimir Putin has made it clear from the outset that he intends to restore the Russian Empire to its former glory. ("Peace in our time", Dec 18, 2007.) Now he has established a permanent military presence in Georgia, and threatened to attack Poland with nuclear weapons. According to a breaking Associated Press story, conquered Georgians are being subjected to forced labor.

America's response: Russian "bullying and intimidation" are "unacceptable".
Germany's response: "Some of Russia's actions were not proportionate."

Ever since Putin took power, he has continually bullied his neighbors and provoked the UN and NATO, apparently testing their resolve. These latest actions suggest that he has concluded the resolve is not there, that he is free to do as he sees fit without fear of repercussions.

The Economist ("Russia resurgent", Aug 14th 2008) argues:

Above all, the West must make plain to Mr Putin that Russia’s invasion of Georgia means an end to business as usual ... The European Union, which has too often split into camps of appeasers and tough-talkers over Russia, should drop negotiations on a new partnership and co-operation agreement. ... The EU should work harder at reducing its dependence on Russian energy imports and improving internal energy connections—and EU countries should stop striking bilateral deals with Russia..

I agree. The policy of appeasement must end, now.

Last December, I wrote: "World leaders need to get a sense of Putin's soul, and stop him before the tanks start to roll." Now the tanks are rolling.

Make no mistake, World War III (or IV) has already begun. It is unlikely that Putin will wait more than another year or two to annex those former Soviet republics that are not under NATO protection. Do we seriously think he will be content to stop there? I doubt it. It's only a matter of time before he initiates full-scale war with NATO.

Then what? Both sides have nuclear arsenals. Putin has emphatically and repeatedly stated that he is willing to use his. Is he bluffing? Are we willing to call his bluff? How much of Europe and Asia are we willing to abandon to the new Russian totalitarianism in order to preserve "peace in our time"?

At the very least, the Defense Department needs to drop its absurd claims that the age of large-scale wars against high-tech peers is past. Whatever happens, we are in for a war like nothing we have ever experienced before.

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