Is this just more unbridled hubris, simply another case of sheer stupidity or both? Perhaps it’s just a grandstand move, like the recent Mid-East ‘Peace’ effort to try to balance the historic record of Dubya’s administration.
Bush went to the NATO summit in Romania to campaign for the admission of the former Soviet states, Ukraine and Georgia, into the ranks of NATO and to pressure allies to increase troop commitments in Afghanistan.
First of all, the war there should have been resolved years ago. With the full assistance of the UN and NATO and clear, concerted attention to the stated objective of capturing Bin Laden and neutralizing Al-Qaeda, it quite probably could have been.
The grand distraction of the illegal war in Iraq allowed the primary mission to fail as it was turned over to Pakistan to fulfill; Pakistan which had fully supported the Taliban before and after 9-11. That failure allowed the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to become resurgent by escaping, regrouping, rearming and reinforcing in the Tribal Areas along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border from which they launched a campaign to re-take Afghanistan. (Mullah Rashid Akhond, the overall military commander of the Taleban in Wardak, a central province bordering Kabul, claims to have 2,000 active fighters ready for a spring offense.) Hence, Bush is using what little clout is left him as an out-going president at his last NATO summit to insist on additional military assistance from NATO countries.
In his own little world of Biblical import, Bush also chose to take several punches at Putin, the out-going president of Russia by promoting missile bases and radar installation in Russia’s front yard and the pushing for the admission of two former Soviet states, Ukraine and Georgia, as NATO members.
Putin, obviously not understanding that Bush serves a higher power, counter-punched with a combination of logic and reason. He first questioned the reason for the very existence of NATO, saying the purpose of the alliance was to counter the perceived threat during the Cold War of a country which doesn’t exist anymore, the Soviet Union. He added, "This thesis is rather strange – if one is a member of NATO, there is democracy, and if not, no democracy. This is nonsense. NATO is not a democratizer," he said.
But Bush is the ‘Democratizer’ bunny who has never let reason or logic stand in his way and he wants the Ukraine and Georgia to join the ranks of the newly ‘democratized’ NATO countries which were formerly Warsaw Pac members. There are already ten such members and two more waiting in queue. Bush would like to ask them all to supply troops to the fight in Afghanistan.
Evidently, he and his advisors have forgotten what took place in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989. It is unlikely that the people of the Ukraine, Georgia, Romania and the other former members of the Soviet bloc which are now NATO members have forgotten.
Nearly 14,000 Soviet soldiers and officers were killed and nearly half a million suffered wounds, injury and debilitating illness before Moscow withdrew its forces in defeat. It is generally accepted that the collapse of the Soviet Union, at least in part, came as a result of that war.
I would doubt that any of the former Soviet Bloc would want to go through that again, especially given the dire situation in Iraq and the state of the US economy. The fact that the hat-in-hand request is coming from Dubya, the lame duck would be enough to give them pause. Time will tell.
NATO, responding to the strong objection from Moscow, rejected the admission of Ukraine and Georgia. More troops from Canada, Spain and France will be headed to Afghanistan, though, so the quagmire will mire on. That should make Dubya and the other remaining neo-cons happy; two never-ending wars spiraling out of control at the same time. That must be an historical first.