Saturday, June 07, 2014

54th VR Live Panel: Eastern Europe between Russia and West - bridge or wall?

Exceprt from The Voice of Russia:

54th VR Live Panel: Eastern Europe between Russia and West - bridge or wall?

Speaking at the celebration of the anniversary of the first victory of non-communist parties at elections in Poland, Obama lashed out at Russia for what he called provoking violence in eastern Ukraine. He threatened imposing more sanctions on Russia and pledged to allot one billion dollars in military aid, which would increase NATO's military presence in Poland and other East European nations bordering Russia.

These remarks by Obama found an enthusiastic audience on the Castle Square in Warsaw, where he delivered his speech. He was applauded by not only the presidents of Poland and Ukraine, but also by the presidents of the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia.

But does it mean that the peoples of all of these countries actually view Russia as a threat to be countered by increased NATO military presence and by what Mr. Obama called "isolation"?

Francis Boyle, professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and a graduate from Harvard University, James Thacara, a novelist and a human rights activist, Peter Lavelle, a well known RT's  television host, and Srđa Trifković, the foreign affairs editor at Chronicles Magazine, participated in Radio VR 54th Live Discussion Panel to share their views on the issue.

Mr. Lavelle was puzzled by a rather belligerent speech delivered by Obama in Warsaw. "There are plenty of people like Victoria Nuland that continue this steamrolling of bringing military hardware and alliance that actually does use violence (we've seen it in Afghanistan, in Libya) and it gives NATO, in my opinion, a new breath on life. This is what they've been looking for. They need an enemy and Russia is the most convenient one," he said.

Francis Boyle noted the absence of Mikhail Gorbachev at the ceremony despite the fact that he played a much more important role in the events 1989 than some presidents of Eastern Europe present. "Gorbachev would have been an embarrassment, because, as you know, Jim Baker made a promise to promote the reunification of Germany, that NATO would not advance one inch to the east. And of course President Clinton immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union proceeded to violate that pledge. And now with what is happening in Ukraine, we are seeing a reorientation of the American foreign policy towards a direct confrontation with Russia," Mr. Boyle said.

He also added that it is a "dual confrontation" as the US seeks to take on both Russia and China at the same time, and that perhaps the fact that Obama was essentially Zbigniew Brzezinski's apprentice might be an important factor. "In the 2008 presidential campaign, and this really explains how Obama came from nowhere on the south side of Chicago to running for the president, Brzezinski was in charge of managing the entire foreign affairs and defense component of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. And then, he stacked the Obama administration with his protégés," he said.