Monday, October 13, 2014

Eastern Europeans are bowing to Putin’s power

By Jackson Diehl, Deputy editorial page editor, October 12 at 6:49 PM, WashPost

To grasp how Vladi­mir Putin is progressing in his campaign to overturn the post-Cold War order in Europe, it’s worth looking beyond eastern Ukraine, where the Kremlin is busy consolidating a breakaway puppet state. After all, Ukraine, as President Obama likes to point out, is not a member of NATO — which has extended Western security and democratic governance to a dozen nations that had been dominated by Soviet dictatorship.

So let’s consider Hungary, a NATO member whose prime minister recently named Putin’s Russia as a political model to be emulated. Or NATO member Slovakia, whose leftist prime minister likened the possible deployment of NATO troops in his country to the Soviet invasion of 1968. Or NATO member Czech Republic, where the defense minister made a similar comparison and where the government joined Slovakia and Hungary in fighting the European Union’s sanctions against Russia. Or Serbia, a member of NATO’s “partnership for peace” that has invited Putin to visit Belgrade this month for a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s “liberation” of the city.

Then there is Poland, which until recently was leading the effort within NATO and the European Union to support Ukraine’s beleaguered pro-Western government and punish Putin’s aggression. This month its new prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, ordered her new foreign minister to urgently revise its policy. As the Wall Street Journal reported, she told parliament she was concerned about “an isolation of Poland” within Europe that could come from setting “unrealistic goals” in Ukraine.

(More here.)

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