March 01, 2003

What Goes Around...



In early February, Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Germany to inaugurate the “Year of Russian Culture in Germany.” During that trip, after Putin stressed that Russia sided with France and Germany against a war in Iraq at this time, reporters asked him if this meant that a Franco-Russo-German coalition would oppose the US in a new balance of power in world affairs. Putin replied that “I do not want to incite anti-Americanism in connection with the Iraq situation.” He later added that a split between Europe and the United States “would be a bad option for world development — bad for the United States and for Europe.”

For forty years, in the era of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, Russia did all it could to force a wedge between the US and its European allies. Now Putin wants to do everything he can to keep the alliance together. This while the president—formerly a KGB spy resident in Eastern Germany—opened a year of pro-Russian festivals in a Unified German State, 60 years almost to the day from the German surrender at Stalingrad.

How much more can things change?


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