Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Europe Divided

I mentioned the other day that the dream of Europe as a single actor in foreign policy is just that--wishful thinking. Today's NY Times has a piece on yet another issue that could unite but is likely to divide Europe: Russia.

"Yesterday tanks, today oil,” said Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, a former head of Poland’s security service.

But officials in Central and Eastern Europe fear that while profits from the pipeline, a joint venture between Gazprom and a trio of German and Dutch companies, will flow to Russian suppliers and German utilities, the long trod-upon countries once under the Soviet umbrella will become more vulnerable to energy blackmail.
Last year, people died in Eastern Europe when Russia cut off the flow because of its dispute with Ukraine. As a result, you will find those with greatest focus on NATO's Article V to be residing where the Warsaw Pact was the alliance of non-choice during the Cold War. Why? Not only do the East Europeans fear the Russians, but they do not trust the Germans either.

Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, has compared the pipeline deal between Russia and Germany to the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Central Europe into spheres of German and Soviet influence. “Taking the decision first and consulting us later is not our idea of solidarity,” he said.
Unfortunately, the US also tends to decide and then consult--like when Obama chose McChrystal to replace McKiernan as COM ISAF.

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