Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Rational Paranoia

The old joke has it that you may be paranoid, but that doesn't mean that people are not out to get you. In Russia's case, a look at the historical map of the western side of the country, especially from 1999, would show a growing group of countries aligned with NATO. This is not the only explanation for Russia's intervention in Crimea, but it puts in context their opposition to the EU's (and the US's) overtures to Ukraine.

The table shows the current memberships of NATO and the EU, each coincidentally of 28 countries. Membership overlaps are striking. Twenty-two of the EU's 28 countries are formal NATO members, five others are part of NATO's 'Partnership for Peace' programme that was set up in 1994 (shown as PfP in the table). This means that they can cooperate with NATO 'on their own terms'. In Sweden's case, for example, it means taking part in 'peacekeeping' in Bosnia and Kosovo, and in advancing 'political and economic stability' in Afghanistan. Only Cyprus is in neither group. However, there is a British military base on Cyprus ...

Tony Norfield, 2 April 2014

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