Russia flexed its military might over the weekend, testing a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile. The tests come amid increasingly strained ties between Washington and Moscow, following US ally Georgia’s military offensive in South Ossettia in August. Author and Political Economist William Engdahl says ” Russia’s response to Georgia’s military offensive has sent shock waves throughout the region.”
US losing ground in Eastern Europe
Producer: Zaa Nkweta
ZAA NKWETA, TRNN: Russia flexed its military might over the weekend, testing a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile. The tests come amid increasingly strained ties between Washington and Moscow, following US ally Georgia’s military offensive in South Ossetia in August. The Real News spoke to William F. Engdahl about the state of US influence in the region.
WILLIAM ENGDAHL, AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ECONOMIST: The United States’ influence not just in the Caspian but throughout Eastern Europe has taken a dramatic setback because of the foolishness of Saakashvili’s adventures in Ossetia over the summer. The smaller countries, regardless of what they’re saying publicly, privately they realize that this is a high-risk, high-stakes game that they’ve been lured into by agreeing to join NATO. They had dreams of all sorts of benefits from drawing closer to the United States. Now they’re waking up realizing those dreams could be a nuclear nightmare. The situation’s highly fluid. Where we stand is that the military reaction by Moscow has created shock waves not just around Central Asia and the Caucasus and the Caspian region; it has also been a major background factor in the collapse of the pro-NATO government of Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine, which is a key part of the Rumsfeld-Cheney original strategy to encircle Moscow and surround it with missiles and missile defense. Now the Ukranian elections are going to be held on December 7, and it’s quite likely that Yulia Tymoshenko, who’s one of the coalition partners, is going to form a coalition with the ostensibly pro-Moscow party of Viktor Yanukovych, and that would bring Ukraine out of the NATO orbit. And the issue that led to the downfall of the government was the fact that Tymoshenko refused to condemn Russia for the events in Georgia over the summer. And I suspect what Moscow is doing is playing every card it has in terms of shifting the geopolitical balance, not only in Central Asia but worldwide. This kind of underscores the folly of this Cheney madness of trying to push missiles right up the nose of Moscow on every corner, from the Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, from Poland, from Czech Republic, from Bulgaria, Romania. These are all now NATO member countries, and installing missiles in Poland and advanced radar in the Czech Republic, this is literally a declaration of war. So to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, Russia warned against this repeatedly; Russia warned against the missile placements in Poland and the Czech Republic. Washington just ignored and went merrily on its way, turning the heat up every time. So now what the situation has resulted in is Moscow is reverting to some of its theaters of the Cold War, and that’s certainly something the world doesn’t need. The entire Russian Northern Fleet carried out military exercises in the Barents Sea around NATO member country Norway. So Russian air overflights, not in Norwegian territory but right up to the edge of that, take place now once a week. This says that we are really dangerously close to an all-out new Cold War. The Bush administration has managed very successfully to push the world into the brink of a new Cold War here with its lunacy around the NATO deployment. The Russians have been responding very, very calculated, not over-responding, but very calculating, putting pressure where the US can least afford to react to it, for example naval maneuvers and air maneuvers in the last three weeks off of the coastline of Venezuela, where Hugo Chávez has been repeatedly visiting Moscow. The Russians are quite within other Latin American, South American countries. That’s causing the United States military profile to expend energies in a place that they thought they had under their thumb.
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