Friday, February 15

The New Cold War

Many people are highly critical of America’s current foreign policy. Our imperialist practices as a whole focus mainly on the Middle East, where these policies face, perhaps, their most violent opposition. It is, however, important to realize that the world is a very large place. While the international spotlight is shining brightly on current wars, it is imperative to look all around the world where the American government is pursing heavy-handed, instigative measures in our name.

Around spring of last year, George Bush announced his desire to place a missile interceptor system in Poland and radar systems in the Czech Republic, much to the chagrin of Russia. As they so often do for matters of imperial moxie, that darn “liberal media” parroted administration phrases as fact and denied their readership proper context. The administration touted the system as defense from “rouge states” (an obvious swipe at Iran/North Korea) and long range ballistic missiles sent to the United States. The LA Times framed Russia’s opposition to it, by referring to their “huge” missile force.

Most troubling about these pieces, besides the pre-supposition that it is our duty to define rouge statehood, is what isn’t being reported on. They didn’t report on the widespread opposition to these systems in the host countries. A poll conducted last year by STEM reported that 70 percent of Czechs are opposed to the base. Other polls average between 60-80 percent of “strong opposition.” Most newspapers make vague references to some opposition to the plan. It is also noteworthy that this vague rhetoric is frequently juxtaposed with several direct quotes from George Bush. They claim that this opposition is over the cost-effectiveness of the system, or at which date Iran will be able to acquire nuclear weapons. Since both Iran and North Korea are years away from developing technology to make long range ballistic missiles, it is quite clear that the real aim of this system to is intimidate Russia and China, both countries that frequently find themselves pitted against the West in their battle for supremacy. These battles often play out in areas such as Iran where China and Russia do business while the United States and Europe sanction them. Russia has been the most vocal in its opposition to the weapons systems.

This battle is not an old one. Since the Clinton Administration attempted to change the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Russia has stated that they will not stand for this, and will respond however they deem necessary. The issue was dropped in order to avert conflict. However, George Bush’s hubris has resurrected the idea with renewed vigor. It has become blatantly obvious that he skipped a few history classes while getting his ivy-league degrees. Although the Cold War was mostly an ideological battle over economic systems, the idea of mutual destruction has been widely credited for averting nuclear disaster. The idea is that if Russia launches nukes at us, we’ll decide to fire some back, other nations will join in and the world will end. Since this idea has come to prominence there have been many treaties signed to stop both the manufacture of nuclear weapons (we oppose/disobey most of them), and nuclear weapons defense systems.

The media, whether you decide to call it liberal or conservative, is above all a failure. They hype the danger of potential nuclear weapons in small nations with a fraction of the military power we have and hypocritically mention other nation’s huge nuclear arsenals while ignoring the United State’s support for “acceptable” illegal military powers such as Israel, Pakistan, and India. Meanwhile, our cowboy president makes more and more enemies around the world, and brings our nation one step closer to danger by breaking treaties and provoking sovereign nations.

The theme for this 2008 presidential election is change. We should be asking our candidates how they feel about our foreign policy in general and not just about Iraq, which is one small piece of the puzzle and realistically not much of a danger to us. While we bomb “insurgents” armed with $5 bombs and hand-me-down rifles over non-existence weapons of mass destruction, a much bigger threat looms in the horizon.

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