East Europe pushing for strong measures against aggressive Russia

August 18th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug.18 (ANI): East European countries are pushing for strong measures against an aggressive Moscow in view of the situation prevailing in Georgia.
A Christian Science Monitor report, from Poland to Ukraine, the Czech Republic to Bulgaria, Russia’’s invasion of Georgia with tanks, troops, and planes is being described as a test of Western resolve.
Five presidents from East Europe traveled to Georgia last week to show solidarity and to challenge Russia. East European states are reexamining their policy of allowing dual passports that can be used by Russia as a reason for entering their country, as was done in South Ossetia.
These nations apparently see an opportunity to get rid of the “Russia-phobic” tag placed on them by the West during the height of the Cold War.
The strength of Polish feeling against Russia is measured by the quick completion of a US missile defense pact last week, after 18 months of wrangling in Warsaw and Washington.
While the US has stoutly argued that the missiles were meant as a shield against rogue attacks from Iran, their strategic value here has apparently shifted. Polish opposition to hosting 10 proposed missile silos dropped by 30 percent in the week after Russia’’s military move in Georgia, according to polls in Warsaw.
Ukrainian officials now say they encourage talks with the US on a similar shield. The suggestion over the weekend came despite Russian deputy military chief Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn’’s warning that Poland’’s missile shield would expose it to a Russian attack.
Former Soviet states now in NATO argue that Western ideas about liberal reform in Russia were naive at best and self-serving at worst.
Most see Vladimir Putin’’s Russia as disparaging civil society, reverting to brute strength with small nations, seeking empire, and exploiting divisions inside Europe, and between Europe and the US.
Most Poles will agree that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a serious mistake in trying to enter South Ossetia with force. But they feel it was an error that Russia seized upon in a planned operation to annex Ossetia and Abkhazia, where they say a new millionaire class in Moscow is rapidly buying up coastal property.
The question of NATO membership remains sensitive in East Europe. Many Poles say they understand the aspirations of Georgians to join, and feel sympathy that those aspirations have been dashed. (ANI)

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