I had this silly idea that Russia was no longer a threat to the West. Democracy was gradually (if a bit slowly) making its way into Russian politics and free enterprise was moving in. In fact I just read an article in BusinessWeek all about US & European investment in Eastern Europe and Russia. Call me naive, but it seems to me that when you have very strong trade and investment ties with a country that the likelihood of war with them is very low. When you actually know people from another country, when you deal with them all the time and when you actually visit that country and see what it is like, then the propaganda that gets spread in order to justify a war just doesn't convince you.
So I was shocked to hear that Pres. Bush is proposing to build a missile defense shield in former Iron Curtain countries: an anti-missile radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. I wasn't surprised when Putin made angry noises about this: it certainly looks rather threatening to me.
So today I read that the missile shield is actually to protect Europe from Iran. Iran? Since when did Iran have ICBMs? If this shield is to protect Europe from Iran then why isn't Europe doing it? What's it go to do with the US? And if protection against Iran is the goal then why are the missiles being put in Poland? Surely that's too far north. There are other European countries much closer to Iran.
Since 9/11 it seems to me that the Bush Administration has been hell bent on creating enemies for the US. As if Al Qaeda wasn't enough, we now have serious enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran North Korea and many newly pissed off people all over the Muslim world. So not content with that Mr. B seems to be aiming to add Russia to the list. Whether it's incompetence or part of some scheme to "protect American interests", it's bad statesmanship and it's creating a dangerous environment.
If any of this makes sense to you or strikes a cord then I strongly recommend you take a look at Ron Paul, who is running for President. He voted against the Iraq war and he voted against the Patriot Act. How many of the "peace" candidates running for President can say that?
Ron Paul is of the opinion that we should follow the Constitution and that the US should keep its nose out of the affairs of other countries. We should make friends and trade with other countries. We should use diplomacy and persuasion rather than force of arms.
Those sound like good ideas to me!