Devon Island Expedition

Devon Island Expedition
This blog features educational updates on my Devon Island Expedition of July 14-20, 2007. Other sites:,

Sunday, August 31, 2008

US-Russian Relations

I'm back in Moscow for a few meetings this week. It's always nice to come back, having lived a second life here during the years of training for Expedition 10.

It's interesting to see the Russian news coverage of the continuing events in Georgia. Not surprisingly, it paints a different picture than western news coverage.

In thinking about this, it seems to me obvious in hindsight that this conflict was not about South Ossetia or Abkhazia. The West, led by the US has been working to bring Georgia and other former Soviet Satellite countries into NATO for some time now. It is easy to see how this would make Russian leaders uncomfortable. The Russians were sending the US and Europe a message with the invasion. Even though the invasion appears to have had a negative effect for Russia (driving countries like Poland and Ukraine into the arms of the US), the message was clear. I doubt the Russian leaders expected anything else.

The Soviet Union lost the cold war and the resulting Russian Federation had a difficult time getting on it's feet through the Yeltsin years. There is a national sense of resentment and Putin reestablished Russian pride in the population. Now, Russia is striving to again be seen as a superpower.

It is important to consider all sides in any situation. If we can understand how the other guy feels, we should be able to more effectively engage them and come to a solution. However, It is difficult to see how the current crisis might end well. Russia is a significant part of the world economy (the Russian stock market felt the pain of the invasion) and our space programs are inextricably linked for at least the next few years. The US Presidential candidates have to come across as being forceful and strong against Russia at least before the election.

Russia is flexing it's newfound muscles. There are calls in the US Congress to punish Russia. An effect of this might be the end of US astronauts flying aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. As soon as the Space Shuttle is retired in 2010, the US would then have no way to get astronauts into space. Members of Congress are now calling for an extension of the Space Shuttle, but this would be very expensive at this point, since the system has been going through a systematic dismantling since 2005.

The US has backed itself into a corner on this one. How do we get out of it? I don't think anyone really wants a return to the cold war. But, stay tuned, that may be the result.

Leroy Chiao

1 comment:

marketing said...

Russia is a Superpower again as the United States, CNN (as stated here on CNN August 1, 2008) and other news media's have admitted, this is an NATO expansion war. US former president Ronald Reagan promise Russia there would be no NATO expansion into post Soviet Union countries back 1989 which has clearly been violated. NATO is the new cold war, they are expanding and we cannot trust NATO. NATO is evil and Russia is the ally here. People need to Google the truth about what NATO means and what relation is NATO, EU & Bilderberg together. I support Russia and I am against NATO, NATO is the enemy here. NATO wants to expand membership and spread every they can into more countries. NATO is about building a military block and when countries apply for NATO membership, they wave their rights to protect themselves or governored themselves but are under the rules of NATO. It is a communist movement on a private sector by NATO and this is wrong. Russia & China has been dead set against NATO and this is why. I want Russia to make its stance and stand against NATO, this evil lying agency that has no business taking countries rights away.

Who start this conflick? Georgia, NATO & the US, read link by Pat Buchanan : and this video link here:

And read what Ron Paul has said about NATO pushing into Russia:

Here is a couple of Americans living in Georgia admitting Georgia & the US started the conflicts with Russia and that Georgia was indeed killing Russian people inside of Georgia. Something the US bilderberg media is not going to air on US television news channels.

We have to understand that Russia is protecting itself from NATO.

NATO is an organization whose purpose ended with the end of its Warsaw Pact adversary. When NATO struggled to define its future after the Cold War, it settled on attacking a sovereign state, Yugoslavia, which had neither invaded nor threatened any NATO member state.

This current round of NATO expansion is a political reward to governments in Georgia and Ukraine that came to power as a result of US-supported revolutions, the so-called Orange Revolution and Rose Revolution. The governments that arose from these street protests were eager to please their US sponsor and the US, in turn, turned a blind eye to the numerous political and human rights abuses that took place under the new regimes. Thus the US policy of “exporting democracy” has only succeeding in exporting more misery to the countries it has targeted.

NATO expansion only benefits the US military industrial complex, which stands to profit from expanded arms sales to new NATO members. The “modernization” of former Soviet militaries in Ukraine and Georgia will mean tens of millions in sales to US and European military contractors. The US taxpayer will be left holding the bill, as the US government will subsidize most of the transactions. Providing US military guarantees to Ukraine and Georgia can only further strain our military. This NATO expansion may well involve the US military in conflicts as unrelated to our national interest as the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia. The idea that American troops might be forced to fight and die to prevent a small section of Georgia from seceding is absurd and disturbing.

By Congressman Ron Paul:

So I have provided these facts below to state Russia is indeed a Superpower.

The Russian empire strikes back 16/08/2008

Russia confident they are a Superpower again

The Christian Science Monitor
By Helena Cobban from the August 22, 2008 edition

Georgia: a return to superpower misbehaviour
The First Post August 21, 2008,opinion,georgia-a-return-to-superpower-misbehaviour

Merkel's Most Serious Foreign Policy Crisis: Superpower Flexes its Muscles: 08/18/2008,1518,572726,00.html
U.S. worries Russia returning to its past
Bush administration struggles for right response to Russia's aggression
Updated 9:39 a.m. PT, Sun., Aug. 17, 2008

Russia Attacks Neighbor; Return of a Superpower; Interview With Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister
Aired August 11, 2008 - 11:00 ET

A Superpower Is Reborn
The New York Times
By RONALD STEEL Published: August 24, 2008

Superpower swoop : New Statesman
Misha Glenny
Published 14 August 2008

US worries Russia returning to authoritarian past
By the Associated Press

Russians are confident their nation is back as a Superpower
Superpower Russia
Published: 8/12/2008

John Roughan: So much for sole superpower
5:00AM Saturday August 16, 2008 New Zealand Herald

Danger of Cold War
August 18, 2008: The FINANCIAL

Washington Acknowledges Russia as Superpower
May 27, 2007

Putin's Paranoid Bear Sharpens Its Claws
The Scotsman: August 18, 2008

The Red Army marches again: Dailymail
Last updated at 22:48 10 May 2008

Washington Acknowledges Russia as Superpower
Kommersant: May 26, 2007

Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower,M1
Global Warming, the Arctic Thaw and the New Cold War
Why Russia's Incursion Into Georgia Bodes Ill for the Climate
August 18, 2008

U.S. No More The Only Super Power
Michael Webster, Investigative Reporter: American Chronicle