EDITORIAL: Russia’s Thugboat Diplomacy

EDITORIAL

Russia’s Thugboat Diplomacy

Last week, Russian military forces opened fire on two defenseless Japanese fishing boats in the Kuril island chain north of Japan.  The boats returned home riddled with bullet holes. Any number of the fisherman could easily have been killed.

The lessons to be learned from this atrocity are many.

First, not only is Russia unable to forget the past, it insists on living in and glorifying it.  After half a century, Russia and Japan are still at war because Russia can’t find it possible to return these islands to Japan.

Second, Russia insists not on merely holding the disputed islands, but on reacting with thug-like military force to any perceived incursion on them even though Russia already possesses far more territory than any nation on the planet but has a rapidly falling population, so it has no need whatsoever for these islands. The violence is absolutely gratuitous, yet Russians never tire of criticizing other nations for the  use of such violence.

Third, Russians are cutting of their nose to spite their face.  At the same time as this attack was occurring, two Russian fishing boats were in mortal distress in the Sea of Japan.  To say nothing of being little interested in offering assistance to these boats, which often ply the sea, the Japanese will of course only sour towards Russian relations as a result of the KGB regime’s thug-like behavior, costing Russia even more friends around the world.

What we see in this episode, then, is Russia in microcosm.  We see Russia unable to solve political problems except through brute force, yet we see Russia hopelessly outmatched in that category by NATO and insisting that NATO not use military force but “negotiate” instead, lest it be condemned by Russia.  We see Russia alienating every single civilized nation on the planet if favor of relations with rogue states like Syria and Iran and Venezuela and Cuba, so that Russia stands ever more alone and friendless in times of crisis like the economic downturn or the war with Georgia.  And we see Russia blinded by historical propaganda, turning the clock back on democracy and building a neo-Soviet state despite the horrific legacy of Soviet failure in the past.

It’s not a pretty sight.

3 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia’s Thugboat Diplomacy

  1. Yes, there are so many lesson to be learnt from this “atrocity”, for example, the fact that if border patrol units radio your boat in the waters of a foreign country and you have declined to answer, you may well expect to be fired upon for violating a sovereign border. It’s a basic principle of international demarcation law. However, when Russia makes full legal use of it, this is of course an “atrocity”. Go figure.

  2. I’m sorry, I neglected to mention that coast guard patrol boats radioed the fishing boats a grand total of 8 times before finally commencing fire from an infantry caliber weapon. Less than fifty rounds were fired OVER THE BOWS, as per international maritime law. A handful struck the bow, where no fishermen could have possibly been since on most smaller fishing boats, the bow is the site of the frozen storage compartment. The whole episode, of course was a minute and pathetically insignificant episode that of course had not even the least bearing on international affairs. Congragulations, however, on making a mouse into an elephant, as we say in Russian. You always come through in that regard.

  3. OK…you’ve done a splendid account of shots fired and radio etiquette….now ACCOUNT FOR THE HISTORICAL NATURE OF THE STORY.

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