The announcement was made by Wolf Blitzer. The news had come in that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Raul Castro had just signed a defense agreement whereby the Russians will supply a Missile Defense Shield that would help defend Cuba from rogue dictators arising in the unstable nations of Central and South America. Both men assured the United States that these measures were not to be considered offensive weapons. These missiles were strictly for defense.
All the protestations of both the Cuban and Russian officials failed to calm the fears that were felt by everyone here in the states. The fact that the Russians were making efforts to restore "traditional ties" with a nation just 90 miles from our shores was most troubling.
Most of the experts in this area of foreign politics who have been following the Russians closely since the break up of that "Cold War" enemy agree that this is the Russians' way of saying to the United States, "If you play in our backyard, we will play in yours." The Russians know full well that the military forces of the United States are stretched far too thin to respond, even if the USA felt that such a "defense shield" was a threat.
All of a sudden I awoke with a start, drenched with a cold sweat. It took several seconds for me to get my bearings. After I was fully awake, I realized that it was all a bad dream and that I need not fear.
In most circles around Washington D. C., there seem to be at least two accepted facts about the pre-emptive strike we made against Iraq. It is clear that the fact, as one administration official put, that "Iraq is sitting on a sea of oil" assured an act of force. Alan Greenspan, safely out of office as the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, wrote in his memoir, "Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
It is also accepted as fact that the administration knew that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction and had no delivery system that amounted to a threat to us or the Middle East, and Secretary of State Rice's statement about the "smoking gun" being a "mushroom cloud" was nothing more than scare tactics.
All my life, I have been taught to "put yourself in the other guy’s shoes," "look at an issue from as many angles as you can," "do unto others," and similar admonitions. Taking this to heart, I can understand why the Russian government would feel it necessary to invade Georgia.
There is an important oil pipeline that runs through Georgia directly to a seaport on the Black Sea. If the Russians do not need the oil flowing through this pipeline, they are certainly interested in who gets the oil when it leaves the seaport. They are very interested in who controls the pipeline. It is not hard to understand their fear and their action.
The people who make the decisions in Russia are not fools. They have proven that time and time again. They know that the protestations of President Bush are, as Shakespeare puts it, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." While Mr. Bush was making his feelings known, like a petulant child, Ms. Rice was next door working out an agreement to place a missile shield at Russia’s front door. This was provocative behavior and totally unnecessary, as many have said.