S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Russia & US muscle in European Union

In South by Southwest, a previous post, "Friedman's Flat World" (7/19/05), discussed how small the world has become, and how very interconnected. For that reason I try to post about the European Union once a week. Current news stories emphasized a couple of things to me: First, the United States does not hesitate to tromp around the world acting in what is claimed to be its own foreign policy interests. And our former nemesis, Russia, is doing the same thing in Europe, which should not surprise us. Each nation must be prepared to be resented by EU countries, who have the right to say, "mind your own business." To begin, Italy appears to be resentful enough of U.S. intelligence actions to charge our CIA agents with a crime. Here's the story.
USA tracks in Europe - The Bush administration's view is that there is a world wide "war on terror." Thus the Central Intelligence Agency has a European presence. That presence may be curbed for a number of agents who are now "wanted men" in Italy. Tom Friedman's view that the world is flat is vindicated with this strange spook story:
Escaped to the United States - "CIA agents ordered to stand trial for Italy kidnap" from Yahoo! News(2/16/07). Quote,
A Milan judge on Friday ordered 26 Americans, most of them believed to be CIA agents, to stand trial with Italian spies for kidnapping a Muslim cleric and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.
. . . The trial of the Americans will almost certainly be in absentia, since Washington is not expected to hand them over.
Prosecutors say a CIA-led team, with SISMI's help, grabbed terrorism suspect Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, off a Milan street in February 2003, bundled him into a van and drove him to a military base in northern Italy. From there, prosecutors allege the CIA flew him via Germany to Egypt where he says he was tortured with electric shocks, beatings, rape threats and genital abuse. Nasr was released from prison on Sunday and says he would like to return to Italy, where an Italian judge has issued a warrant for his arrest over suspicion of terrorist activity.

Missiles could leave really big tracks, says Putin. NATO disagrees - (Image:
Despite Russian Premier Vladimir Putin's recent very strong speech in Munich, "NATO says Russia should not fear U.S. missile shield" - headlined Yahoo! News (2/16/07). Quoting from the story,
Russia has nothing to fear from a planned U.S. anti-missile system in central Europe, NATO Supreme Allied Commander John Craddock said on Friday.
Russia opposes placing elements of the U.S. project in its former satellites, Poland
and the Czech Republic, saying it would distort the post-Cold War balance of
power in Europe.

Further pressure on Russia if NATO expands - A recent headline, "U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee passes NATO expansion bill," in RIA Novosti (2/15/07), reports that A congressional committee is in favor of NATO's proposed expansion. To quote from the article,
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a draft document Thursday promoting future NATO expansion eastward. According to the draft, the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007 reaffirms U.S. support for the continued enlargement of NATO to democracies able and willing to meet the responsibilities of membership. The draft legislation calls for the timely admission of Albania, Croatia, Georgia and Macedonia to NATO, and authorizes security assistance to those countries and Ukraine in fiscal 2008.

Russian also opposes this EU expansion - Ukrane seeks early admission to EU- President Yushchenko from (2/10/07) Russian News & Info Agency Novosti. Quote,
Ukraine will strive to integrate into the European Union and NATO as soon as possible, the country's president said Saturday. . . . Yushchenko, who swept into power on the back of the 2004 "orange" revolution, is determined to take Ukraine into NATO and the European Union, but his efforts to forge closer ties with the West have been staunchly opposed by pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Russia backs Serb nationalists - The situation in the troubles former Yugoslavia remains rather fluid. Russia, not surprisingly, is also keeping her hand in this area. Tensions remain between the EU and Russia. This is the headline, "EU undeterred by Serb hardliners' poll lead" from Yahoo! News (1/22/07). To quote,
The European Union on Monday put a brave face on the lead of Serb hardliners in a key general election, insisting pro-West parties could still hold sway in parliament and go on to form a new government.
. . . The EU wants any transition wrapped up by mid-year with a U.N. resolution also giving the bloc a major hand helping to run the province. It is concerned the process could be derailed by Serb nationalists backed by U.N. Security Council power Russia.

(Image: A UK treasure's soon to be on the line -perhaps by the end of the month. For the sake of the Crown, the surge in Iraq had better work very rapidly. The headline reads, "Prince Harry set for Iraq deployment: report" - Thanks to Yahoo! News.
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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about books and reading.

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