Into the Obama Presidency elect and already Russia is stirring the pot. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that his country was going to deploy missiles in the Russian region of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland. In case you missed it, Poland is to be the site of the anti-missile interception defense shield, a system to be set up by the United States so that they can stop missiles launched from Iran (at least that is the official statement). Russia has expressed deep concern over the shield, and fear that the US could (will) use it to launch missile strikes into Russia itself. I can understand their fear, after all we’ve been launching missiles into Pakistan and Syria, all without the help of a missile defense shield pre-text.
It is unknown how many missiles will be shipped to Kaliningrad, nor is it known if they will be nuclear equipped. What is known is this whole mess scares the hell out of me. I live in the Czech Republic, which borders Poland and is to be the site of the defense shield’s radar site. Now, I don’t think that the Russians, or the Americans for that matter, are going to do more than saber rattle on this issue. We bring in the shield, they bring in missiles, tensions run high and everyone is unhappy, but no one is really going to launch anything (at least I hope not).
What worries me, though, is the what if. What if someone launches a missile at Poland, the Czech Republic, or any other country friendly to the US from Russia, the US sees the act as one of Russian aggression,? Do they then launch missiles from the so called defensive site? Does Russia retaliate if someone launches or detonates a missile in their territory and they believe the US is responsible?
I know these sound like doomsday, Cold War scenarios, but the fact of the matter is they are possible. And if they do not happen, there is always the threat that Russia will once again try and reclaim what it had under Soviet Rule, and by that I mean going after previously owned provinces like Poland and the Czech Republic. Granted, those nations belong to NATO now, but it would be interesting to see if Russia is willing to provoke the West to reclaim lost territory. I don’t think they will, but we are living in a whole different world of possibilities now that the US has elected its first black president.
I am not too worried though, as I do not think anyone (Russia or the US especially) wants a return to the Cold War and the Eastern Europe vs. the West attitudes found in that age. Still it is disconcerting, as is the news that Medvedev has put forth the idea of expanding the Russian presidential term from four years to six years. It’s only two more years, sure, but it is two more years of the same policies, which may not be good policies. I mean, just imagine if George Bush had been president for twelve years instead of just eight? Can you even think of it? I can’t; it’s just too damn scary.
So now we know what one of the first international issues Obama is going to have to address once he becomes president because you know that Bushco aren’t gointo to do a damn thing about it. I’m not worried though, in this election Obama showed that while he could be a polarizing force, he has the ability to bring people together, and that is what we will need as we head into the second decade of the 00’s.