Monday, May 11, 2009

"Dire consequences for war games" ... Wait, this is Russia?

Usually when we hear of a member of the Six-Party Talks calling war games by the US and its allies "an open provocation," we imagine it's North Korea. 

And then Alex Trebec would lop $800 off your score, because the correct response is "What is Russia?" (If "Jeopardy" were that up-to-the-minute.)

That's right, Moscow is furious that the US and other NATO partners are going ahead with 1000-strong war games planned long ago to take place in Georgia (the country, not the state), which leader-for-life Putin President Medvedev and his government  seem hell-bent on bringing back to the loving embrace of Mother Russia.
NATO war games got underway in the nation of Georgia on Wednesday, pushed ahead despite a furious outcry from Moscow and a bloodless but embarrassing mutiny at a nearby Georgian military base earlier this week.

More than 1,000 soldiers from the United States, Europe and elsewhere have gathered at a military base near Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, for several weeks of training and simulated peacekeeping exercises.

The games, part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace program, had been planned before combat broke out last summer between Georgia and Russia.

Russian leaders have issued fervent calls for the alliance to cancel the exercises and keep its troops out of Georgia, warning of dire consequences if it didn't. Conducting military maneuvers in what was recently, albeit briefly, a war zone could only serve as an "open provocation," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week.

Tension swelled further Wednesday when Russia stripped accreditation from two Canadian diplomats stationed at NATO's Moscow office. Their ouster is payback for the booting last week of two representatives from Moscow's permanent mission to the alliance, Russian officials said.

The ouster and fiery rhetoric are the latest in a series of flare-ups between Russia and NATO. Formal ties between Moscow and the Cold War-era military alliance resumed this month after a break caused by the fighting between Georgia and Russia. But relations, paradoxically, have deteriorated sharply.
Lovely. I hate to imagine what the "dire consequences" would be, but I find it disturbing that an increasingly nationalistic, flailing, and desperate Russia is taking a page out of the Pyongyang IR Handbook. 

[above: An anxious Medvedev and Putin await the judges' scores on last week's "Dancing With the Tsars."]

1 comment:

  1. Russia also got pissy when NATO proposed setting up a missile defense system in Poland, when Lithuania wanted to join NATO, and pretty much any time Ukraine tries to develop closer ties to anywhere other than Moscow. The upper echelon politicians are acting just like a toddler who throws a fit any time he (or she) doesn't get his (or her) way. Which yeah, as you pointed out, sure sounds a lot like North Korea at times.

    But hey, at least Belarus is still a staunch Russian ally, right?


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