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Another Famous Victory for Condi
Friday August 22, 2008
By Gwynne Dyer
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, is a remarkable case of institutional survival in the face of changing circumstances.
It was created in 1949 to protect Western Europe from the Soviet threat, and in 1989 the Soviet threat vanished. Yet Nato not only survived the collapse of the Soviet Union but expanded, taking in all the former satellite states of Eastern Europe and even the Baltic republics that had been part of the Russian empire for more than 200 years. But the Georgian debacle could break Nato.
In those Eastern European countries that were so recently ruled from Moscow, the presence of Russian troops in Georgia has reawakened the old fears. Poland has just hastily agreed to let the United States place anti-ballistic missile sites on its soil, on condition that there must also be a full-fledged US military base in the country. Why?
Because then, if Russia attacked Poland, the United States would automatically become involved. What drives all this is historical memory, not genuine strategic calculation - Russia is not planning to attack Poland - but the emotions it evokes are very powerful. That's also why 50 Estonian military volunteers have now arrived in Georgia (although nobody knows quite what to do with them)