Sunday, August 24, 2008


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fred Kagan, the American military strategist, calls for beefed-up Baltic defences against Russia
Military strategist Fred Kagan has the ear of hawks within the US administration Photo: AP

by Damian Lataan

Fred Kagan, a senior neocon who instigated the idea of the ‘surge’ policy in Iraq that some have hailed as a success, is at it again only this time he’s looking to further provoke the Russians by insisting that NATO positively demonstrates it support and presence in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lest the Russians feel tempted to reinvade them as Kagan thinks they did in Georgia.

Kagan, a well known neoconservative propagandist, is deliberately attempting to recreate the atmosphere of fear and loathing that dominated during the Cold War years. The Baltic States that consist of three small European nations have historically, especially during the last century, been used as a bit of a political football due to their geographical position relative to Germany and Russia.

In 1939 the Baltic States were ceded to Russia as part Stalin’s deal with Hitler when they carved up Eastern Europe between them at the beginning of the Second World War. However, when Hitler turned on Stalin and attacked Russia, the Baltic States quickly fell to German control. Then, toward the end of the war as Russia advanced westward, the Baltic States reverted back to Soviet Russian control. It wasn’t until 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the Baltic States regained their independence. As a result of this predominately Soviet Russian control over the years, the people of the Baltic States had become extremely anti-communist and, far more importantly in the twenty-first century since the demise of communism, anti-Russian, and it is this fact that the likes of Kagan are exploiting for their own ends.

So, what’s behind Kagan’s thinking here? The answer lies in what Kagan has proffered as an explanation for this strategy; he ‘says that the West needed to match words with deeds if it was to stop Russia turning into an "intolerable, aggressive imperialistic" power’. The reality, of course, is that it is not Russia that is becoming an “intolerable, aggressive imperialistic” power, but the US.

The circumstances that led to the crisis in Georgia is totally different from the geo-political situation of the Baltic States relative to Russia, yet Kagan, in his relentless hatred of all things Russian, is quite content to place the Baltic States into the line fire yet again by abusing the Baltic States well-known resentment of the Russians to bolster the neocons anti-Russian rhetoric. Kagan knows that the Baltic States are unlikely to refuse Western help but would be far better off simply proclaiming neutrality or simply be non-aligned like Sweden and Finland.

Kagan’s stirring up of old Baltic-Russian antagonisms is transparent and belies the neocons trues objectives of reviving the old Cold War animosities that were the bread and butter of the US military-industrial complex which in turn ensured US predominance as a so-called superpower.

posted by Damian Lataan

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