Well the "Tiger Slayer" Vladimir Putin is at it again. This time it's not just US Naval ships bringing in weapons instead of humanitarian aid, it's that too may ships are in the Black Sea. The issue being raised is that of the Treaty of Montreux. I am not going to go into all of the details of the treaty but nations can only have so many warships, of a certain class, and must give Turkey advance warning of the transit of the straights. One clause states that ships can bypass the regulation to inform Turkey of the passage in the proper amount of time if carrying humanitarian assistance.
But there are a few issues here. The first is that no nation is in violation right now of the treaty. Yes, if you added up all the NATO ships it would probably top out over the acceptable limits. But, nations are not in violation right now. Russia is trying to bend the wording of the treaty to suit their wants. But, this isn't new. Back in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's there was a major problem with a country violating the treaty. Wait, it's not the US, not Britain; you guessed it, it was the USSR.
The treaty specifically talks about no aircraft carriers being allowed in the Black Sea. So what did the Russians do? They created "cruisers" with 12-13 VSTOL Aircraft and about 20 helicopters. Now, this doesn't sound like the USS Nimitz, and it wasn't, but within the language of the treaty it would be considered an aircraft carrier. The USSR routinely violated the treaty, causing uproars from the West, and fiery rhetoric from both sides.
The point of all of this is that the Russians are invoking a treaty that no-one is in violation of, and invoking a treaty that they spent years actually violating themselves. So what's really going on?
Well, if I was a betting man, this has just a bit to do with the BTC Pipeline and the Nabucco Pipeline. For the last few weeks we have heard about how the Russian's have a stranglehold on the EU due to their dependence on them for oil and natural gas. The BTC pipeline represents one way around Russia's southern border for moving oil to Europe. The Nabucco Pipeline represents the way for Europe to get natural gas without having to go through Russia.
So when Russia talks about spheres of influence, make no mistake they are eyeing these two pipelines that they do not control. The BTC is operational, the Nabucco is being created. If it is created, then Russia loses much of its control over Europe. Oh by the way, they also lose millions and millions in lost revenue. Who gains a great deal from those revenues, yes that's right, President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. What happens if Georgia is destabilized, doesn't join NATO, and starts to fall apart; well the pipeline isn't built, and Russia doesn't lose all of this money. Wars and conflicts have been started over less in the past.
Next time your going to throw out outrageous accusations PM Putin, why don't you try telling the whole story.
God Bless America
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