As an American, I appreciate how the time I spent in the Baltic countries increased my awareness of how underlying sentiments and historical patterns influence international relations. Now, I find myself perplexed when the media tends to address only the superficial implications of an event, ignoring the weightier matters under the surface. Take the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, for example. The poisoning from polonium certainly made the headlines here in the U.S. But I haven't heard too many people talking about what got Litvinenko killed in the first place 's which were his claims that the FSB orchestrated the Moscow apartment bombings in 1999 and the 2002 Nord-Ost siege. Is the world not ready to accept the possibility that certain individuals in Russia used terror to justify war?
When I learned about the Nord Stream pipeline, it became crystal clear to me. The Kremlin, which controls the project through Gazprom's 51 percent stake, wants the power and prerogative to squeeze the countries between Russia and Germany like a boa constrictor. Why should Europe have the slightest bit of trust toward a company which was willing to shut off gas supplies in the dead of winter just to prove a point? Sure, environmental issues play a role in Nord Stream, but they are secondary to the underlying power play. It is about control being wielded by a country whose recent actions seem to demonstrate a lack of moral footing.
We can talk ourselves to death about energy security, environmental policy and economics, beating around the bush. I respect diplomacy, but I find it a problem when we avoid saying what we really think in the name of cross-cultural sensitivity. We need to be respectful and diplomatic, but also vocal, united, and decisive in addressing underlying truth. Then, when we do so, it will be easier for the world to spot deception.