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Thread: World War Three Thread....

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    HOLY FREAKING COW!!

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g...RMpJAD92Q53VO0

    Russia threatens military response to US missiles

    2 hours ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is warning his country may respond to a U.S. missile shield in Europe through military means.

    Medvedev says that the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders "will of course create additional tensions."

    "We will have to react somehow, to react, of course, in a military way," Medvedev was quoted as saying Tuesday by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

    Russian officials have already warned of a military response to the U.S. plans, but the statement by the Russian leader was likely to further aggravate already tense relations with the West. The comments come after Medvedev recognized two Georgian regions as independent nations, prompting criticism from the U.S. and Europe.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    David Miliband builds 'coalition against Russian aggression'
    Times Online ^ | August 27, 2008 | Philippe Naughton

    David Miliband is expected to deploy his fiercest rhetoric yet in the West's showdown with Russia when he makes a keynote speech in Ukraine over the conflict in the Caucasus.

    The Foreign Secretary will also use the occasion, and meetings with both President Yushchenko and Yulia Timoshenko, the Prime Minister, to give Nato aspirant Ukraine a strong message of solidarity.

    The day after President Medvedev formally recognised the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Mr Miliband said that would use the visit to assemble the “widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia”.

    Mr Medvedev was yesterday accused of “inflaming” the crisis by insisting that the two regions should be recognised as independent. He said: “We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War. But we don’t want it and in this situation everything depends on the position of our partners.”

    The Russian President said that the West would have to “understand the reason behind” the decision to recognise the regions if it wanted to preserve good relations with Russia.

    This morning a US coastguard ship arrived on Georgia's Black Sea coast carrying aid for victims of the country's brief conflict with Russia, but the United States backed down from a plan to send a warship into a Russian-controlled port.

    The cutter Dallas had been due in Poti, where Russian troops are manning checkpoints since pushing into Georgia proper this month after a war over the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Instead, it docked 80 km (50 miles) south in Batumi, well clear of the conflict zone.

    (Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    South Ossetia conflict: Russia seeks Chinese support as West warns of new dangers
    Russia sought to bolster its diplomatic position in its stand off with the West over Georgia today by dispatching President Dmitry Medvedev to meet his Chinese counterpart.


    By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
    Last Updated: 12:48PM BST 27 Aug 2008

    Photo: AFP/GETTY



    Russian president Dimitry Medvedev


    Mr Medvedev was to meet President Hu Jintao at a Central Asian security summit in Tajikistan in an encounter that is unlikely to yield the sort of criticism that Russia has attracted from Europe and America over its actions in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    China has kept a diplomatic silence over events in Georgia so far. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang refused to endorse Russia's decision to recognise the two enclaves. "We have noted the latest developments of the situation, and we hope relevant parties find a proper resolution of the issue through dialogue."

    But Russia also continues to play its military cards in the region. A senior military spokesman said that Moscow had ordered the navy to monitor Nato vessels in the Black Sea.

    Russian relations with the West continue to deteriorate. A Kremlin statement hinted that President Medvedev held a tense telephone call with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Dmitry Medvedev gave an exhaustive explanation in relation to questions Angela Merkel had on this issue, confirming Russia's commitment to realising agreed principles," it said.

    Afterwards the German cabinet said it would send an additional 15 military personnel as observers to Georgia.

    The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, declared that Europe could never accept the Russian-backed independence declarations by the two regions and warned that Moscow would set its sights on Ukraine if it was unchallenged over Georgia. "That is not impossible," he said. "I repeat that it is very dangerous, and there are other objectives that one can suppose are objectives for Russia, in particular the Crimea, Ukraine and Moldova."

    David Miliband, the foreign secretary, arrived in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev today for a visit designed to demonstrate Western support for the former Soviet republic, which hosts Russia's Black Sea fleet at the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

    Russia's ambassador to another divided country in the former Eastern bloc, Moldova held up the example of Georgia as a warning over its internal divisions. Valeri Kuzmin told the Moldovan leadership to avoid a "bloody and catastrophic trend of events" in a separatist region of Trans-Dniester. It broke away from Moldova in 1990 and is supported by Russia but is not recognised internationally. Russia has 1,500 troops stationed there to guard weapons facilities.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russia, America Step Up Their Hostile Rhetoric
    By BENNY AVNI, Staff Reporter of the Sun | August 27, 2008

    http://www.nysun.com/foreign/russia-...hetoric/84729/

    UNITED NATIONS — President Medvedev of Russia is threatening a military response to the deployment of an American missile defense system in Poland, which was once within the Kremlin's zone of control.

    Mr. Medvedev, who yesterday recognized the independence claims of two separatist Georgian provinces, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that, though Russia is not seeking a resumption of the Cold War, it is "not afraid" of such an outcome.

    President Bush condemned Mr. Medvedev's decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, and Western diplomats and politicians said Russia was risking international isolation and other consequences. However, while Mr. Medvedev is warning of a possible military response to America's missile defense system, Western and Georgian officials said they are searching for diplomatic means to answer Russia's aggression in the Caucasus region.

    Even as Russian officials yesterday invoked a Soviet-era law as the legal basis for recognizing the two regions' independence, they dismissed as no longer relevant the U.N. Security Council resolutions that confirm the regions' status as part of Georgian territory.

    Russia also accused America of supporting Georgia beyond diplomacy and humanitarian assistance. "What the Americans call humanitarian cargoes — of course, they are bringing in weapons," Mr. Medvedev told the BBC, referring to the arrival of a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS McFaul, at the Black Sea port of Poti.

    A deputy White House press secretary, Tony Fratto, said the ship contained "purely humanitarian aid shipments" and "nothing else."

    To underline the importance of the war in the Caucasus for America, Mr. Bush is dispatching Vice President Cheney on a trip to Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine early next month. Senator McCain's wife, Cindy, is visiting Georgia, and his presumed Democratic rival for the presidency, Senator Obama, said in a statement that America should "further isolate Russia internationally because of its actions."

    "At a time of high energy prices and instability in global markets, it is important to understand that events in Georgia, part of a strategic energy corridor, affect individual lives far beyond the Caucasus," Mr. McCain said in a statement.

    If the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which supplies Europe, "were destroyed or controlled by Russia, global energy supplies would be even more vulnerable to Moscow's influence, with serious consequences on the world energy market," he added.

    European leaders announced yesterday that they would convene a summit on the crisis next week. The European Union strongly condemned Russia's decision to recognize the two regions' independence, which is "contrary to the principles of Georgia's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," France, which is serving as E.U. president, said.

    The decision to recognize the independence of the two breakaway regions "exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations," Mr. Bush said in a statement released by the White House. "In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions that remain in force, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia, and they must remain so."

    In response, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said actions by President Saakashvili of Georgia in effect voided the Security Council provision relating to the country's territorial integrity. Georgia's aggression "dashed all these previous resolutions," Mr. Churkin told The New York Sun at a press conference.

    At the same time, "the law of the USSR" entitled "autonomous entities" to secede from Soviet republics such as Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday, adding that Georgia "prevented Abkhazia and South Ossetia from exercising that right."

    "There is no way you can dash, or cancel, or terminate a Security Council resolution by force," a French U.N. ambassador, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, told the Sun. "The only body that is able to change a resolution of the Security Council is the Security Council itself." He acknowledged, however, that after yesterday's "dramatic change," there is a little the council can do, and he characterized the Kremlin announcement as a "far-reaching decision that will have wide-ranging implications, I think even beyond the Georgia situation."

    Russia moved a large number of troops and tanks into Georgian territory on August 8, after Georgian forces shelled South Ossetian positions held by Russian-backed separatists. Russia now controls a major highway that cuts across Georgia, as well as the country's main port, Poti. It also is refusing to negotiate with Mr. Saakashvili, and the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed in its statement yesterday the hope that the Georgian people "will eventually find worthy leaders" to replace him.

    Mr. Churkin said he also hoped that more countries would extend diplomatic recognition to the breakaway regions, and that "eventually" the two new countries would become members of the U.N. General Assembly.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russian Black Sea fleet shifts position - Feature
    Kiev/Moscow - Elements of Russia's Black Sea fleet shifted locations on Wednesday in an possible move to avoid a confrontation with a growing NATO warship flotilla near Georgia. Russian naval vessels operating off of Georgia's coastline had moved fro...

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/s...--feature.html

    Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2008 09:22:47 GMT
    Author : DPA

    Kiev/Moscow - Elements of Russia's Black Sea fleet shifted locations on Wednesday in an possible move to avoid a confrontation with a growing NATO warship flotilla near Georgia. Russian naval vessels operating off of Georgia's coastline had moved from a station in the vicinity of the Georgian port Poti into "Abkhazian territorial waters," said Sergei Menialo, commander of Russia's Novorossisk naval base, according to an Interfax news agency report.

    The shift took a group of some six to eight Russian warships that had been patrolling near the Georgian port of Poti out of the path of US warships reportedly planning to make a humanitarian aid delivery to the same location.

    American officials on Tuesday said elements of the US 6th Fleet would bring humanitarian aid to Poti for delivery to Georgian refugees from the Russo-Georgian war.

    The announcement put Washington on track for a Cold War-style naval confrontation with Moscow, as elements of Russia's Black Sea fleet have been enforcing a partial blockade on Poti since early August.

    The Russian squadron now off shore and tied up at Abkhazia, a renegade Georgian province adjacent to the Georgia-owned port Poti, was delivering humanitarian and other forms of aid via the Abkhazian port Sukhumi, Menialo said.

    The Russian guided missile cruiser and Black Sea fleet flagship Moscow cancelled a planned return to its hope port Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, was at a Sukhumi pier as part of the Russian naval operation, he added.

    The Moscow, the largest warship operating on the Black Sea, visited Sevastopol over the weekend, reloaded armaments and supplies, and returned to sea immediately, Ukrainian naval intelligence sources reported.

    NATO led by the US began a dramatic increase to its naval presence in the Black Sea in mid-August, after Russian refusal to abide by a Russo-Georgian ceasefire plan engineered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    The agreement among other conditions obliged all Russian and Georgian forces to return to pre-war positions - a stipulation the Kremlin has in some cases ignored.

    Russian forces landed in early August near Poti now conduct patrols into the port and continue hold road checkpoints inland. The Russian occupation has made impossible most sea shipments between Georgia and the rest of the world.

    The NATO flotilla led by the American destroyer USS McFaul already has exceeded ten warships and will reach eighteen vessels in coming days, Kremlin officials citing Russian intelligence said Tuesday.

    German, Polish, Spanish, and Canadian warships are among the members of the multi-national squadron being assembled in the Black Sea, according to Georgian media reports.

    Russian admiral Sergei Kasatonov admitted the growing NATO naval formation would soon be stronger than the Russian Black Sea warships off Georgia and Abkhazia's shore, but added the Kremlin could in case of a confrontation deal with the western vessels "using other forms of combat power, including aviation assets."

    Kasatonov's comments made in Moscow were among the first public statements by a top Russian official of possible naval combat between Russian and NATO forces in the Black Sea.

    The motivation for the increasing NATO naval presence in the region was "primarily political and not military," he added.

    Copyright, respective author or news agency
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russian media in all-out attack on the West over Georgia crisis as Medvedev declares: We are not afraid of a new Cold War


    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 3:01 PM on 27th August 2008

    • Miliband demands coalition stand against Russia
    • France accuses Russia of 'ethnic cleansing'
    • Russian diplomat compares spiralling tensions to 1914
    • Moscow recognises breakaway Georgian provinces
    Enlarge Defiance: The front page of Tvoi Den today makes no secret of what it thinks of the West



    Russian media have made it clear what the country thinks of the West's response to the Georgian crisis.


    One newspaper ran the headline 'Tak You!' above an image of a fist with its middle finger raised - a play on words that will be read as 'F**k You' by its millions of readers.
    The Tvoi Den (Your Day) newspaper ran the headline today.



    'You' is written in English, not Cyrillic, and 'Tak' is like a stronger version of 'serves you right' - and will be taken in this context as even stronger.


    The strap below states: 'For the first time in many years Russia has clearly shown to the West that we're not going to live by its order.'


    Other newspapers express similar sentiments, cheering Russia's defiance as it finally stands up to the hated West.


    As Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said his country is unafraid of a new Cold War and a diplomat compared spiralling tensions to the unstoppable events that sparked off the First World War, many papers make the point that the world is on the brink of new danger.



    There are also warnings that Russia has contributed to this.



    Yesterday Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said his country is 'not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War'.


    His defiance came as Foreign Secretary David Miliband called for a new 'coalition against Russian aggression' today while on a trip to support the pro-Western government of Ukraine.





    Foreign Secretary David Miliband warned Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that recognising breakaway States 'further inflamed tensions in the region'


    Hitting back at Moscow's decision to recognise the independence of the two breakaway regions in Georgia, Mr Miliband said he was visiting Kiev to protest at the 'unjustifiable and unnacceptable' move by the Kremlin.



    Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko warned overnight that his country was a 'hostage' in Russia's war in Georgia.


    Russian president Dmitry Medvedev deepened the Georgia crisis yesterday by insisting that South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be independent nations, saying: 'We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War.'



    Ominous Russian threats of a world war set off alarm bells in the West last night after Moscow formally recognised the two breakaway republics in war-torn Georgia.

    In a move that is likely to increase tensions even further, the Russian president later warned that his country may respond to a US missile shield in Europe through military means.


    And a senior Russian diplomat compared growing tensions in the Caucasus to the unstoppable events of 1914 that triggered four years of conflict.



    In a speech today, Mr Miliband said Russia's recognition of the two regions further inflamed a tense situation.


    'It will also not work. It is contrary to the principles of the peace agreement, which Russia recently agreed, and to recent Russian statements,' he said.


    Fears: Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin compared tensions over Georgia to the First World War


    'It takes no account of the views of the hundreds of thousands of Georgians and others who have been forced to abandon their homes in the two territories.'


    He said that he wanted 'the widest possible coalition against Russian aggression'.


    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner accused Russia of breaking international law by recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.


    Kouchner said the EU 'cannot accept these violations of international law' and other agreements, including U.N. resolutions.


    The minister also warned on Europe 1 radio today of the danger of ethnic cleansing by Russian forces.



    He says there is 'evidence that the armies are pushing away the Ossetians that favoured Georgia, and in a certain way, yes, an ethnic cleansing is taking place'.

    David Miliband's call for the coalition to stand against Russia was backed by US President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.



    Mr Bush condemned Mr Medvedev's decision as 'irresponsible' and called the move 'inconsistent' with UN Security Council resolutions and the French-brokered ceasefire plan. 'Russia's action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations,' he said.

    Ms Merkel condemned Russia's decision as 'absolutely not acceptable' but said Europe must keep open channels of communication with Moscow.


    Tensions have spiralled as Russia recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia



    Britain led a chorus of condemnation after Moscow overruled international appeals to announce the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two separatist regions in Georgia.



    The move posed a direct challenge to British and American pledges of support for the beleaguered democracy's territorial integrity.




    There have been fears that Moscow is preparing to make the two rebel enclaves part of Russia.



    EU leaders are due to meet in Brussels next week to discuss their response to the growing crisis.


    Downing Street said yesterday that the gathering underlined the 'strong interest' of the EU in tackling the issues.


    But Russian president Dmitry Medvedev showed no sign of heeding warnings from western countries that the move was a flagrant breach of international law.



    He said Georgia's attempt to seize back the two regions by force earlier this month had killed all hopes for their peaceful co-existence in one state with Georgia.



    He said Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili had chosen 'genocide to solve his political tasks', adding that his country did not seek a new Cold War - but was not afraid of one.



    Mr Medvedev also said the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders 'will, of course, create additional tensions'.


    He said: 'We will have to react somehow, to react, of course, in a military way.'



    Russia's actions brought jubilant scenes in the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi where residents fired shots into the air, and uncorked champagne bottles.



    Similar celebrations were seen in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali.


    Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over the breakaway region of South Ossetia earlier this month after Georgia sent in troops to try to retake the province by force.


    Russia responded with a massive counter-attack by land, sea and air.



    In Brussels Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin compared the position to the eve of World War One, saying a new freeze in relations was inevitable.




    Russian troops pictured in the town of Gori last month during the country's brief war with Georgia


    'The current atmosphere reminds me of the situation in Europe in 1914 ... when, because of one terrorist, leading world powers clashed,' he said.



    'I hope Mikheil Saakashvili will not go down in history as a new Gavrilo Princip,' he added, referring to the man who in August 1914 killed Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, triggering the First World War.



    Russia also yesterday halted planned visits by senior NATO officials and joint military exercises with the alliance.




    However, Moscow stopped short of ending co-operation in Afghanistan. But Mr Rogozin warned: 'If NATO start smashing the dinnerware, then we can add more to the list.'


    Moscow was last night ' negotiating' diplomatic relations with the two enclaves, which have been effectively in Russia's control since the fall of the U.S.S.R.



    The separatist regime of South Ossetia has offered a military base to Russia, it was reported.



    Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia are recognised under international law as being part of Georgia.



    Mr Medvedev further cranked up the rhetoric last night as he accused U.S. naval vessels in Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti of delivering arms.


    Asked if Russia was mounting a blockade of ships off Poti, Mr Medvedev replied: 'Any ship can get in, American and others are bringing in humanitarian cargoes.



    'And what the Americans call humanitarian cargoes - of course, they are bringing in weapons.'



    The White House said the U.S. would use its veto power on the U.N. Security Council to ensure that Abkhazia and South Ossetia remain part of Georgia in the eyes of the world.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russia - Strong earthquake hits Siberia (9.0 magnitude on Richter scale)
    Reuters (excerpt) ^ | August 27, 2008

    excerpt -

    MOSCOW, Aug 27 (Reuters) - An intense earthquake measuring nine on the Richter scale hit the Lake Baikal area of eastern Siberia on Wednesday, triggering reports of panic, but there were no casualties or major damage, officials said.

    ~ snip ~


    (Excerpt) Read more at alertnet.org ...
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    From The Times

    August 26, 2008
    Russian threat to Nato supply route in Afghanistan



    Nato imports about 70 per cent of its food, fuel, water and equipment from Pakistan via the Khyber Pass






    Jeremy Page in Kabul



    Russia played a trump card in its strategic poker game with the West yesterday by threatening to suspend an agreement allowing Nato to take supplies and equipment to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia.


    The agreement was struck at a Nato summit in April to provide an alternative supply route to the road between the Afghan capital and the Pakistani border, which has come under attack from militants on both sides of the frontier this year.


    Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan, told The Times in an interview that he believed the deal was no longer valid because Russia suspended military cooperation with Nato last week over its support for Georgia.


    Asked if the move by Russia invalidated the agreement, he said: “Of course. Why not? If there is a suspension of military cooperation, this is military cooperation.”


    Mr Kabulov also suggested that the stand-off over Georgia could lead Russia to review agreements allowing Nato members to use Russian airspace and to maintain bases in the former Soviet Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


    “No one with common sense can expect to cooperate with Russia in one part of the world while acting against it in another,” he said.


    His remarks are likely to alarm Nato commanders because the Taleban have been targeting the supply routes of the alliance this year, mimicking tactics used against the British in 1841 and the Soviet Union two decades ago. Nato imports about 70 per cent of its food, fuel, water and equipment from Pakistan via the Khyber Pass, and flies in much of the rest through Russian airspace via bases in Central Asia. It has not started using the “northern corridor” because the deal – covering nonmilitary supplies and nonlethal military equipment – has yet to be cleared with the Central Asian states involved.


    The need for an alternative route was highlighted by recent attacks on Nato supply convoys, including one that destroyed 36 fuel tankers in a northwestern Pakistani border town in March. Four US helicopter engines worth $13 million (£7 million) went missing on the way from Kabul to Pakistan in April. Last week militants killed ten French soldiers on the same route 30 miles from Kabul.


    Western officials fear that such attacks could increase in the power vacuum in Pakistan created by the resignation of Pervez Musharraf as President last week and the collapse of the coalition Government yesterday.


    Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President-turned-Prime-Minister, was the first foreign leader to telephone President Bush after the attacks on September 11, 2001, and has supported the War on Terror ever since. The Kremlin has fears about the spread of Islamic extremism into Central Asia and Muslim regions of Russia, especially Chechnya, where it fought two wars with Muslim rebels in the 1990s.


    However, many Russian officials have bitter memories of the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and strong reservations about the US presence in Central Asia, which they see as their strategic backyard.


    “It’s not in Russia’s interests for Nato to be defeated and leave behind all these problems,” Mr Kabulov, who worked at the Soviet Embassy in Kabul from 1983 to 1987, said. “We’d prefer Nato to complete its job and then leave this unnatural geography.


    “But at the same time, we’ll be the last ones to moan about Nato’s departure.”


    A Nato spokesman declined to respond to Mr Kabulov’s comments and said that Russia had not informed the alliance officially of any decision to annul the northern corridor agreement.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Moscow’s Actions in Georgia Have Undermined Russia’s Ties with Serbia
    Window on Eurasia ^ | Paul Goble | August 26, 2008

    Vienna, August 26 – The Kremlin’s claim that Moscow has the right to unilaterally recognize Abkhazia ad South Ossetia because of the West’s recognition of Kosovo has left Serbia, a traditional friend of Russia and the supposed victim of that Western action, in a difficult position, one likely to drive Belgrade ever further from Moscow and ever closer to the West.

    In an essay posted on the Polit.ru portal today, Sergei Romanenko, a senior scholar at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Economics, notes that developments in the Caucasus over the last month and Moscow’s involvement in and response to them has created real problems for Belgrade (www.polit.ru/analytics/2008/08/26/rus_serb.html).

    Serbia is clearly being driven in three different directions. First, from a purely “logical” point of view, Belgrade “should have supported the territorial integrity of Georgia,” a step that would have put it at odds Moscow. Second, the Serbian government is limited in expressing that view because of Kremlin promises to help it recover Kosovo and Moscow’s supply of oil. And third, because Serbia has declared its desire to join the European Union, Romanenko says, it can’t afford to take any position on Georgia which would so directly contradict “the positions Brussels and Washington have taken, lest it slow its progress toward integrating with the West.

    More generally, the Moscow analyst continues, “the sharpening of relations between Russian on the one hand and the US, the European Union and NATO on the other raise questions about the ability of President Boris Tadic to achieve the policy goals” he has announced. And if these tensions grow, Serbia “will be forced” to make a choice, something it has tried to avoid.

    First of all, Romanenko argues, “Serbia both economically and geopolitically cannot be oriented toward Russia alone,” a country with which it does not have common borders and which is in the process of “self-isolating itself” from the major countries of the world. In short, Serbia needs Europe more than it needs Russia. And as ever more people in Belgrade recognize, Russia now lacks the leverage in major capitals to do much for Serbia to recover Kosovo, however often Moscow says otherwise. The Russian veto in the UN Security Council won’t do the job, and “many governments prefer not to support the Serbian-Russian tandem.”

    On the one hand, they have their own political reasons for not doing so, and on the other, Russia’s position is increasingly “contradictory – a ‘no’ to the independence of Kosovo and a ‘yes’ to the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” a stand that “does not elicit trust” from other powers.

    Moreover, Romanenko argues, Moscow’s moves in recent days “will not help Serbia to insist on its territorial integrity, neither formally and legally nor in political practice,” whatever Russian officials may say. And consequently, “official Serbia has preferred to maintain diplomatic silence” over the events in the Caucasus. That silence, the Moscow expert continues, in fact highlights “the growing difficulties in relations between Moscow and Belgrade,” problems that were publicly reflected by the postponement of a visit to Serbia by Sergei Shoigu and comments in the Serbian media about Russia’s predatory pricing policies for oil.

    According to media reports, he says, Moscow has “expressed its dissatisfaction that Serbia and also Bosnia and Herzegovina apparently have sold arms to Georgia. While Belgrade and Sarajevo deny this and regardless of whether Russia’s claims are true, the fact that Moscow made such a statement shows that relations are not good.

    Clearly, trust between the two sides has broken down, a trend that was exacerbated Romanenko says by the handing over of Radovan Karadzic to the Hague court, something that generated “considerably more dissatisfaction and anger in Moscow than in Belgrade,” especially given Moscow’s failure to hand over to Serbia people Belgrade has charged with serious crimes.

    There are already many collateral victims of Russian aggression in Georgia and the West’s response, but the undermining of “the historic friendship” between Moscow and Belgrade is clearly one of the most unexpected and quite possibly may prove to be one of the most significant, particularly if it tips the balance in the Balkans further to the West.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Syria, Iran warm to Russia as US tensions grow

    Syria takes advantage of Russia-U.S. tensions; Iran may be next

    SAM F. GHATTAS
    AP News

    Aug 26, 2008 12:27 EST

    Syria's President Bashar Assad has publicly stepped up his outreach to old ally Russia in recent days, seeking aid to build up Syrian military forces and offering Moscow help in return — in an apparent effort to exploit a new Russian-American rift.

    U.S. officials have noticed: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Mideast leaders this week that they should worry about Syria's efforts to gain more sophisticated weapons.

    Syria's long-term aim, however, remains unclear, in part because Assad also continues to pursue peace efforts with Israel — a key U.S. and European goal — even as he makes overtures to Russia that are sure to antagonize the West. Syria has a long history of apparently contradictory diplomatic moves as it maneuvers to find options and balance its interests.

    Yet the latest Syrian moves feed directly into larger Western fears that the Russian-American standoff — prompted by Russia's invasion of Georgia — could lead Russia to provide more military and diplomatic aid to a host of countries and militant groups the United States sees as troublesome.

    "The Russian move into Georgia has begun a tectonic shift in the (Mideast) region," said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert in the United States. "It has emboldened Syria, Hezbollah and Iran to push harder against Israel and the U.S."

    Some military officials in Iran have, like the Syrians, openly supported Russian actions in Georgia, although Iran's Foreign Ministry called the clashes merely a result of miscalculations by "powers" and called for dialogue.

    Some Iranian media have gone further, asserting Russia is now less likely to back U.S.-led efforts to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear program.

    The Russian ambassador to Iran, Alexander Sadovnikov, told the official IRNA news agency this weekend that Moscow won't support a new round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran. But that position did not appear to be a direct result of the new Russia-U.S. tensions, because Russia often calls publicly for dialogue.

    "Russia is never after a new (sanctions) resolution. We hope constant contacts between Iran and the IAEA (the U.N. nuclear agency) will lead to a realistic solution, guaranteeing that Iran is not after nuclear weapons technology," IRNA quoted the ambassador as saying.

    Lebanon's Hezbollah is another worry for the West and for Israel.

    The Iranian- and Syrian-backed militants have long hoped for weapons systems and greater diplomatic backing from Russia, Landis said, although there is no evidence Russia has shown more warmth toward Hezbollah lately.

    Hezbollah does not disclose its weapons sources, except to say they are bought on the international market. But it receives money and much hardware from Iran through Syria. Israel complained to Russia that Hezbollah used Russian anti-tank missiles in its war with Israel in 2006. Russia says its sales comply with international rules.

    For now, Syria is the most public example of Mideast fallout from the Georgian fight.

    "Syria's bad negotiating position (with Israel) is leading it to look for more weapons and to try to grow more teeth before returning to the table with Israel," Landis said.

    Both Iran and Syria have long-standing ties with Russia, leading some to play down the recent moves as having little significance. Russia has sold Syria weapons systems in the past, including the advanced surface-to-air Strelets system, and its warships already had been calling on Syria's northern port of Tartous. Many of Iran's weapons systems also have long come from Russian suppliers.

    Yet Assad clearly aimed for deeper ties during last week's Moscow visit.

    He asked Russia for weapons, and Moscow's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said his government was prepared to sell Syria arms with "defensive character" that would not upset the Mideast's strategic balance — a reference to Israel, which holds military superiority over its Arab neighbors.

    Syria reportedly is interested in air defense missile systems and aircraft. Notably, Assad also told the Russian business daily Kommersant that Syria was "ready to cooperate with Russia in any way that can strengthen its security," including discussing deploying Iskander missile defense systems on Syrian territory to strengthen Russia's security.

    Assad also said Syria was ready "in principle" to help Moscow respond to the planned U.S. missile defense shield in Europe, although the Russians have not asked for such help, the newspaper said.

    As that news grabbed headlines in the Mideast, Syria's government swiftly denied that Assad had made such an offer to host Russian missiles on Syrian land, or even discussed it with Russia.

    The swift denial apparently came because Syria does not want to overly antagonize the United States. Assad has long wanted to regain the strategic Golan Heights from Israel, and his only chance of that is through a peace deal with Israel. He has long sought more robust U.S. involvement in the negotiations with Israel, maintaining progress is unlikely without it.

    Syria is holding indirect low-level peace negotiations with Israel through Turkey, a U.S. ally.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    McCain asks Bush to stop dismantling shuttle infrastructure
    posted by Robert Block on Aug 26, 2008 1:55:13 PM
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    John_mccain Sen. John McCain -- joined by Republican colleagues Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and David Vitter of New Orleans -- sent a letter to President Bush this week, saying that in light of tensions with Russia, the White House should tell NASA to stop any further dismantling of the shuttle infrastructure for at least a year to keep open the possibility of more shuttle flights beyond 2010.

    "We believe it is imperative, as NASA continues the transition from the Space Shuttle to the successor vehicles, that the means for producing additional flight hardware and obtaining additional flight engineering and support services, not be completely and irretrievably lost though destruction or deterioration, at least until a clear path to alternative launch capabilities is in hand," the letter said.

    The letter marks a major new initiative on space by the McCain presidential campaign and the Republicans. McCain was just in Florida soliciting advice on the future of the American space program. During the meeting, he was asking for alternatives to relying on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to keep American astronauts in space if the shuttle is mothballed as scheduled in 2010.

    The request, if backed by the White House, paves the way for the shuttle to keep flying beyond its scheduled retirement date and would prevent any more contracts from shuttle suppliers, contractors and subcontractors from being turned off. A big round of layoffs is expected in October at NASA's Michoud tank assembly facility in New Orleans. The facility makes the giant orange external fuel tanks, without which the shuttle could not fly.

    NASA's former shuttle program director Wayne Hale said that the point of no return for the shuttle program would be when giant welding equipment and other tooling machinery is ripped out of Michoud to prepare for making the next-generation NASA rocket. The final dismantling of Michoud is scheduled to begin this fall and finish sometime next year.

    The Republican request -- if granted -- would certainly endear McCain to the space vote in Florida, which is deeply worried by the prospect of huge job losses when the shuttle ends. It would also provide an additional option for the next administration as it wrestles with what to do about the looming gap between the end of the shuttle program and the first flight of the next rocket, now scheduled for 2015.

    Many in Washington and beyond are unhappy at the thought of having to rely on Russia to fetry astronauts to space during the gap. And space supporters have been wondering why it's necessary to rush dismantling shuttle infrastructure if Ares and Orion are running behind schedule.

    The White House and NASA have repeatedly said that they need to end the space shuttle program to be able to free up funds to develop the next moon rocket. If shuttle continues beyond 2010 then the overhead costs of the program would consume funds for Ares and Orion.

    But in their letter, dated August 25, 2008, the three Republican senators said that the Russian incursion into Georgia raised concerns about the reliability of Russia as a partner for the international space station and as the sole means for U.S. astronauts and scientists to reach the orbital complex once the shuttle is retired.

    While the three senators acknowledged that the decision to retire the shuttle to free up funds for the Ares I rocket and Orion crew capsule was a necessary first step toward returning U.S. astronauts to the moon, they added that there was a need to rethink that decision in light of recent global events.

    "Our concern is that we do not have a guarantee that such cooperative and mutually beneficial activity will continue to be available [from Russia]," the letter said.

    It added: "We continue to believe it is essential to both speed the availability of the Ares I rocket and Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, and to help spur the development of a robust commercial U.S. spaceflight industry. The fact is, however, that neither of these efforts offers a clear near-term solution to ensure that U.S. astronauts and scientists are able to make use of the U.S. segment of the ISS – which has been designated as a National Laboratory.

    "Given all of these considerations, we believe it is imperative, as NASA continues the transition from the Space Shuttle to the successor vehicles, that the means for producing additional flight hardware and obtaining additional flight engineering and support services, not be completely and irretrievably lost though destruction or deterioration, at least until a clear path to alternative launch capabilities is in hand. At a minimum, we request that you direct NASA to take no action for at least one year from now that would preclude extended use of the shuttle beyond 2010."

    However, there was no mention in the letter of another concern McCain voiced last week during his visit to the Space Coast: the recommendation by the Columbia Accident Investigating Board that the shuttle be re-certified if NASA intends to fly it past 2010. A full-blown safety recertification would be hugely expensive -- and it can't be done overnight.


    Here is the complete letter: Download mccain_vitter_hutchison_letter_on_russia_space.pdf
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/DonaldsR/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-27.jpg[/IMG]http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/files/mccain_vitter_hutchison_letter_on_russia_space.pdf
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Breaking News...

    FOXNEWS is reporting that Russia is stating "We are ready for war in Poland if the US Missile Shield goes in place".


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russia threatens military response to US missiles
    AP via Google ^ | August 26, 2008

    Russia threatens military response to US missiles

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is warning his country may respond to a U.S. missile shield in Europe through military means.

    Medvedev says that the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders "will of course create additional tensions."

    "We will have to react somehow, to react, of course, in a military way," Medvedev was quoted as saying Tuesday by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

    Russian officials have already warned of a military response to the U.S. plans, but the statement by the Russian leader was likely to further aggravate already tense relations with the West. The comments come after Medvedev recognized two Georgian regions as independent nations, prompting criticism from the U.S. and Europe.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    US warships scrap visit to Georgian port-source
    26 Aug 2008 20:23:22 GMT
    Source: Reuters
    (Adds U.S. comment)

    TBILISI, Aug 26 (Reuters) - U.S. warships have scrapped a plan to deliver relief supplies to Georgia's flashpoint port of Poti on Wednesday, a source close to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.

    "The ships will not dock in Poti tomorrow," the source told Reuters, referring to a planned mission by the USS McFaul and another vessel.

    Their presence would have been sure to enrage Russia, which has troops patrolling the port following a brief war with Georgia.

    "There was a possibility that the McFaul might go to Poti but no-one has given us a final decision. We're not sure (if it's coming)," a US navy source told Reuters.

    Pentagon did not confirm or deny scrapping the Poti visit.

    "We're evaluating all ports for what makes the most sense for delivering relief supplies expeditiously," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters.

    Whitman said the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas was due to reach Georgia within 24 hours and that the USS McFaul had left the port of Batumi after unloading its aid supplies. He did not say where it had gone.

    U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Tamsen Reese said the Dallas is in the Black Sea and that the USS McFaul would remain in the area as the command vessel for the Navy's segment of a U.S. aid mission dubbed "Operation Assured Delivery."

    A third vessel, the Navy command ship USS Mount Whitney, has also been loaded with aid supplies and has left its home port in Italy, Reese said.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has earlier accused Washington of delivering weapons to Georgia by sea, but made clear Russian ships deployed near the Georgian coast will not obstruct the operation.

    "What the Americans call humanitarian cargoes -- of course, they are bringing in weapons," he told the BBC in an interview, adding: "We're not trying to prevent it."

    The White House spokesman later rejected Medvedev's accusations of U.S. ships bringing in weapons as "ridiculous". (Additional reporting by Washington bureau) (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; writing by Jon Boyle; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Kosovo Precedent Prevails
    The National Interest ^ | 08.26.2008 | Ted Galen Carpenter

    When the United States and its key European allies ignored Russia’s protests and recognized Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blithely insisted that the Kosovo situation was unique and set no international precedent whatsoever. Prominent members of the foreign policy communities in Europe and the United States echoed her argument.

    Moscow’s August 26 decision to recognize the independence of Georgia’s separatist enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia demonstrates the arrogant folly of that position. In just a matter of months, the Kosovo precedent has backfired on the United States and generated dangerous tensions between Russia and the West.

    It is difficult to imagine how Washington and its NATO allies could have more egregiously mishandled the Kosovo situation. Western policy has been a debacle from its beginnings in the early 1990s. When Belgrade attempted to suppress the secessionist campaign by the Albanian majority in Kosovo, NATO intervened with air strikes to compel Serbia to relinquish control of the province to an international occupation force. NATO’s actions ignored Moscow’s vehement objections and showed contempt for Russia’s long-standing interests in the Balkans. The Clinton administration also bypassed the UN Security Council (and, hence, Russia’s veto) to launch that military operation, exhibiting further disdain for Russia’s prerogatives as a permanent member of the Council and a major power in the international system.

    Russian leaders fumed, but Moscow was too weak to do anything but issue futile protests. Ultimately, the NATO powers offered Moscow the sop of a belated UN resolution that professed to recognize Serbia’s territorial integrity, which included Kosovo, even though that province had been put under international control. How much that resolution was worth became apparent in 2007 and early 2008 when the United States and the major European Union governments pressed for Kosovo’s independence without Belgrade’s consent and—once again—without UN Security Council authorization. Moscow warned at the time that such action would set a dangerous international precedent; countries as diverse as China, India, Indonesia, Spain and Greece expressed the same concern. Most ominously, Russian officials specifically cited Abkhazia and South Ossetia as places where the Kosovo precedent could apply.

    Russia has now demonstrated that two can play the game of using military force against another country to detach discontented ethnic enclaves. And the United States and NATO are not able to do much about it.

    Rather than escalate the already alarming tensions with Russia, Washington needs to walk back its policy on Kosovo and seek a deal with Moscow. The U.S.-EU position on Kosovo is untenable from the standpoint of both wise diplomacy and basic logic. American officials have put themselves in the awkward position of arguing that quasi-democratic Georgia’s territorial integrity is sacrosanct while fully democratic Serbia’s is not. Moreover, despite the expectation of leaders in Washington and Pristina that the vast majority of countries would quickly recognize Kosovo’s independence, only a meager forty-seven have done so—and most of them are long-standing American allies and clients. The rest of the world still worries about the broader implications of the Kosovo precedent and withholds recognition.

    Washington should propose a mutual diplomatic retreat to Moscow, in which the United States would rescind its recognition of Kosovo’s independence and urge the Kosovars to accept Belgrade’s proposal for a negotiated status of “enhanced autonomy,” which comes very close to de facto independence. Russia would be expected to adopt a similar policy with regard to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

    If U.S. leaders do not suggest this course, they will face the unpleasant prospect of further demonstrating NATO’s inability to do anything effective to reverse Russia’s conduct in Georgia. American miscalculations have already underscored the alliance’s impotence; it is not a lesson that officials should want to reinforce. Moreover, if Washington and Moscow do not back off from their tenacious positions, relations between the two countries—already in bad shape—may degenerate into a new cold war. Conversely, some common sense and flexibility on the twin secessionist issues could be a catalyst for repairing that important relationship.

    Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of eight books on international affairs, including Smart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America (2008). He is also a contributing editor to The National Interest.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    EU leaders condemn Russia in shadow of Kosovo
    EU Observer ^

    EU leaders have condemned as illegal Russia's decision to recognise the Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, while Georgian rebels compared the move to the creation of Kosovo earlier this year.

    "Georgia's independence and territorial integrity ... cannot be changed by decree from Moscow," UK foreign minister David Miliband said, while announcing he will visit Ukraine on Wednesday to build the "widest possible coalition against Russian aggression."

    The French EU presidency called the move "regrettable," while Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini departed from Rome's normally Russia-friendly tone, saying "It's a unilateral decision that doesn't have international support that makes it legally binding."

    Nordic states also blasted Moscow, with Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt calling the act a "deliberate violation of international law," and Denmark's Per Stig Moller declaring "unconditional support for Georgia's territorial integrity."

    Eastern European capitals lined up in support of Georgia, with the Czech republic in a statement calling Russia's action "an attack on the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia."

    With an emergency EU summit on EU-Russia relations tabled for next week, Estonian President Andrus Ansip said NATO should now offer road maps for the membership of both Georgia and Ukraine and called for a break in relations with Russia.

    The proposal clashed with Germany, however, with Ms Merkel also saying Europe should maintain contact with its eastern neighbour despite events.

    Georgia also reacted furiously. "This is an unconcealed annexation of these territories, which are a part of Georgia," said Georgia's deputy foreign minister, Giga Bokeria.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    I probably should not have watched Thirteen Days last night. It didn't make me feel any better about everything going on now.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russian, Chinese presidents discuss Georgia crisis

    1 hour ago

    DUSHANBE (AFP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed the crisis in Georgia with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Wednesday, as Moscow looked to bolster support in its diplomatic stand-off with the West.

    "The Russian president informed his Chinese colleague about the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said after the talks, referring to two Georgian rebel regions at the centre of the crisis.

    The meeting in the Tajik capital Dushanbe was Medvedev's first foreign trip since Russia and Georgia fought a brief armed conflict this month over the two regions, which Medvedev recognised as independent on Tuesday, drawing fierce criticism.

    The West immediately slammed Medvedev's move, with US President George W. Bush warning that Moscow must reverse the decision and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner saying: "We fear a war."

    On Wednesday, China said it was "concerned" about Medvedev's move but otherwise refrained from criticism.

    "China is concerned of the latest development in South Ossetia and Abkhazia," the official Xinhua news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying.

    "We have a knowledge of the complicated history and reality of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia issues," Qin said.

    He added that China hoped for "dialogue and consultation" to resolve the issue.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia are internationally viewed as part of Georgia and no country has yet joined Russia in recognising their independence. The regions broke away from Georgian control after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    The stand-off threatens to have far wider repercussions for already fraught relations between Russia and the West. Russia has frozen military ties with the NATO alliance and has accused the United States of rearming Georgia.

    In a televised address, Medvedev said his decision was needed to protect the lives of Abkhazians and South Ossetians and was in line with international law, adding: "Russia calls on other states to follow its example."

    But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later said "we will not be roaming the globe, twisting people's arms for them to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

    Medvedev met with China's Hu ahead of a Thursday meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security grouping dominated by China and Russia that includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian countries.

    The Russian and Chinese leaders talked about boosting the SCO, which was set up in 2001 as a counterweight to NATO influence in the strategic Central Asian region.

    "The two sides talked about Central Asia and the need to strengthen the SCO in order to bolster security in the region," Kremlin spokeswoman Timakova said.

    They also discussed trade and economic and energy ties, she said.

    During his trip to Dushanbe, Medvedev was also due to hold bilateral talks with the leaders of Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

    Central Asian countries have been reluctant to express support for Russia in its confrontation with Georgia. As well as its fear of harming vital economic and security ties with the West, the region has its own separatist concerns.

    Medvedev on Friday was also due to visit a Russian military base in Dushanbe. Moscow has troops based in three military installations in this mountainous former Soviet republic, which borders Afghanistan and China.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Funny, I have never seen that movie. However, it was a topic of discussion at my desk yesterday afternoon for about an hour.

    It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union. -- John F. Kennedy, 22 October 1962 in his first public speech regarding the crisis
    Further stated in the same speech....

    To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation and port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.
    John Kennedy set the precedence for what is happening now.

    Both us, and the Russians are pushing the envelop this very moment.

    Why people are utterly refusing to believe that we're in the midst of a crisis is throughly beyond my comprehension.

    However, today we and Russia are facing a completely different issue.

    They don't like the "missile shield".

    They are misquoting and mis-stating the use of missile defense as "aiming at our cities".

    This is blatantly untrue and the Russians KNOW and have been well versed in what our systems do. They have looked them over in person, so they know the capabilities and limitations. Thus they are the ones pushing this out of proportion.

    However, if they want to play the game, we need to play it and not let them win this one.
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