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Friendship test: in thick and thin

Posted by Sudeep Pandey on November 4, 2008

Remember the Russia-Georgia conflict few months back?? Every nation in world has border-conflicts with its neighbours, especially the one who have undergone partition. What was so special about this? The special thing is the deliberate attempt by NATO (read Bush administration and US) to increase their influence in Caspian-sea region and Eastern Europe. NATO itself has an interesting history of twist-and-turns. Formed in 1949 by few European countries to counter Russia (then USSR) and Germany, for they still had memories of WW-II afresh, has given US a chance to check USSR, sitting right next to them and far away from their own boundaries. The famous quote from the first NATO Secretary General Lord Ismay stated the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. The fact that USSR offered in 1954 to become a member of NATO to strengthen it, has been unanimously declined out of fear that they would actually work to weaken the organization shows the actual agenda of the formation. NATO has always been dominated by US though most of the member countries are European. US has selectively and gradually used this tool to work its influence to deeper and deeper towards eastern Europe and to reach till middle-east Asia. The below map shows how they have expanded:

NATO Expansion

NATO Expansion

With growth towards east, US can check more and more geography of its traditional enemy, Russia. The other fueling factor is “Oil”. To have its presence felt in oil-rich middle-east Asia. By presence felt, it’s the use of air-bases and land, deploying missile systems, and to have goods be transported through land safely. We have seen in the past that dominant NATO countries (like US and UK) never give any ear to UN if it does not sing the song they want to hear. I believe it was only France amongst the member countries who has the strength to shot back at US/UK alliance inside NATO, who, in 1958, refused to use its soil by “foreign military nuclears”, withdrawn its military from NATO forces, and created a defense system of its own when it was not given enough rights inside the organization as was given to US and UK. France understood that this organization will only serve the interests of US/UK as it denied the coverage of Algeria which kept France bleeding for quite sometime. France even always tried to get any retaliation by NATO be approved by UN security council but US/UK feel that taking permission from UN undermines the purpose of the alliance and that Russia and China have veto power in security council. Incidentally Eastern Europe and USSR too joined their hands (1955 Warsaw Pact) and interestingly the East Germany was a part of Warsaw pact and West Germany with NATO. After the collapse of USSR and dissolution of Warsaw pact in 1990; for reunification of Germany in 1991, to get Russia’s approval in “Two plus Four treaty” (two being East Germany and West Germany and four being US Russia UK and France), it has been agreed upon that Russia will walk out of East Germany, this will be permanent non-nuclear state and in turn, its said to be decided, there wont be anymore nuclear deployment further East by US and NATO. But NATO never ended its expansion in East (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania were invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague Summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004. Similarly in April 2008, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and invited them to join. As this is being written, following four countries are engaged in an Intensified Dialogue with NATO: Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro).

 

That’s pretty much the history. So the organization came into existence with sole mantra “save yourself from communist attack”. And now we look at the current conflict. After the dissolution of USSR, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have claimed themselves a separate country but Georgia never accepted it. Russia has now recognized them as independent nations (only after this aggression by Georgia), a step which has been widely criticized by West (unlike what they themselves did for Kosovo). The whole point of conflict started with clashes between Georgian and South Ossatia forces and Georgia launching full aerial and ground attack in the month of August. Russia stepped in and poured its troops inside South Ossatia and targeted internal cities of Georgia as well. The reason for Russia to step in is told as more than half of South Ossetia’s citizens are said to have taken up Moscow’s offer of Russian citizenship. Russia says its actions were designed to protect those citizens. Also told is the story that some peacekeepers from Russia working in South Ossetia died in Georgia’s attack. US has a close companionship with Georgia (a Western-sponsored Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline has been pumping Caspian oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast). Georgia had sent its army to Iraq, US has trained Georgia’s army and helped them fly back to Georgia from Iraq in the period of this conflict. And as already stated, NATO has agreed to extend its membership to Georgia. That’s about the whole conflict).

 

The question is why am I writing all this? How does it matter to India?

 

Only one point: While all this was happening in Eastern Europe, we were organizing joint naval exercise with US, allowing US aircraft carriers in Arabian Sea!!! How can we forget the sending of nuclear carrier “USS Enterprise” by President Nixon and US government in Bay of Bengal during 1971 war to threaten us? How can we forget the Russian support of dispatching their fleets armed with nuclear weapons to follow “Enterprise” thereby neutralizing the nuclear threat? Is the current Indian diplomatic community blind enough not to understand the meaning of how the presence of such carriers in a region changes the leads in war-zones? The presence would mean US planes can fly right from Arabian Seaand carry nuclear weapon down to south ossatia in a matter of minutes and can land back dropping them in matter of hours. And we call ourselves Russia’s strategic allies? I am thoroughly disappointed with such an action by my elected government. I am not a strategy expert nor I claim myself to be too good in international affairs, but Russia has been our long-time ally and a major arms supplier. It has given us support in various international issues including the one mentioned above. If we cannot support them (due to any reason whatsoever), we should at least not try to increase the threat imposed on them.

 

I might have not seen the more compelling reasons for doing/not doing what is written up here, but that’s how I, as a common man, feel about it and I believe friendship is a gesture which should always be returned.

 

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6 Responses to “Friendship test: in thick and thin”

  1. sanjayoscar said

    hello friend,
    visit at : sanjayoscar.wordpress.com
    -Sanjay Nimavat

  2. FrostBite said

    the only things i can say is that the arms supplier focus is shifting to Israel and US. But yeah, long time ally, undeniable. But now that India is a civil and military nuclear power, i think its time to take a fresh stand.

  3. Sudeep Pandey said

    To FrostBite> Since you agreed on friendship, lets not talk about it…. Shifting focus is okey.. but what would you do with existing sukhois as you are not getting any F16 and that you are in process of getting Akula class Russian nuclear submarines in 2009. You should at most be neutral where things are at stake on both sides.

  4. pankaj said

    very well written…

    I think, its been a problem with Indian politicians/government from start. US is not a country on which India could rely on. They just worry /think about themselves. They will look for their profit only.

    I won’t blame Russia if they won’t support/help India if US does anything. And why would they help then?

  5. dreamcatcher said

    The tiger always sleeps. Passive fuckin nation.

  6. dreamcatcher said

    The tiger always sleeps. Passive freakin nation.

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