September 5, 2014

Obama and Cameron playing dangerous games next to the other guy's turf

Sam Smith – The leaders of NATO are behaving in as dangerous way as we’ve seen since the heat of the Cold War. In threatening Russia at its very borders, these narcissistic politicians are trying to prove how tough they are at considerable risk to everyone else. They are being encouraged by the very force that created them in the first place, the media, and are treating this as though it was just another domestic political campaign.

Listen to the language, as reported b the Christian Science Monitor
Leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization member gathered in Wales pledged today to contribute troops to an alliance-wide "rapid reaction" force. The calls are prompted by what NATO members allege is Russian military support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

In a speech, British Prime Minister David Cameron complained that "Russia is ripping up the rulebook with its annexation of Crimea and its troops on the sovereign soil of Ukraine." Mr. Cameron vowed 1,000 British soldiers would be attached to the rapid reaction force.

"This would be part of a reformed NATO response force with headquarters in Poland, forward units in the eastern allies and pre-positioned equipment and infrastructure to allow more exercises and, if necessary, rapid reinforcement."
Over the last decade, NATO's expansion into eastern Europe has been a major point of friction with Russia. President Vladimir Putin has complained of a bellicose expansion of a Cold War alliance created to contain the Soviet Union that now appears to be targeting Russia. Moscow's view is that NATO countries funded the Ukrainian opposition and fueled the protests that toppled a pro-Russian leader in Kiev in February. It sees pledges to position more NATO forces closer to the Russian frontier as an escalation. 

And from the Guardian: 

The unit would be able to deploy a "spearhead group" within 48 hours to reinforce the Baltic states in the event of a Russian invasion, followed by reinforcements. But Nato officials said it could also be used anywhere else in the world.

The new force is aimed at meeting criticism that Nato is too slow and unwieldy and increasingly irrelevant. Nato hopes the main components of the force will be in place by the end of the year.

Here's one of the dangerous game NATO is playing:

Nato is reluctant to break a 1997 treaty with Russia that forbids placing permanent bases in the Baltic states and is getting round this by holding permanent exercises, which have largely the same impact of reassuring the Baltic governments.

And a reckless Obama and Cameron offer this to calm their domestic critics

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron ... challenged NATO to not turn inward in the face of the threat.Those who want to adopt an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century,” Obama and Cameron wrote in a joint editorial in the Times of London.
Sam Smith, 2012 - Fifty years ago, world attention was fixed on a U.S.-Soviet confrontation over the placement of Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba, probably the most dangerous and perhaps the most studied moment of the Cold War. What came to be known as the Cuban missile crisis raised, as never before and probably since, the specter of global nuclear war.

At the time I was a young officer in the Coast Guard, which I had joined to avoid the draft, not to fight World War III. For some months the possible consequences of the Cuban missile crisis became extremely personal.

But we got through it and I haven't thought about it in decades. Then the Ukrainian story broke and I had the sense I was seeing it again, only with the players reversed.

And the lesson to be learned was the same: don't play your macho games too close to the other guy's turf.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sam, they're undiagnosed psychopaths. That's what psychopaths in high places do: play status games with us as the chips.

"Psychopath" is not in the DSM, but it's the term used by, among others (like me), Robert Hare PhD, the acknowledged expert on the syndrome and the author of the standard assessment instrument, the PCL-R.

Not all psychopaths are identical of course, but diagnosis can be boiled down to the presence or absence of one feature: they routinely exploit other people (human and non-) without hesitation or remorse.

If we don't want to be the chips in their vicious power games, then we need to band together and make sure they go into confinement rather than high office.