MOSCOW, July 28 (UPI) -- The United States and the Czech Republic have signed an agreement on the deployment of a missile tracking radar.
Theoretically the Czech Parliament could refuse to ratify the document, or the new U.S. administration could change its worldview, or the U.S. Congress could refuse to approve allocations. But the likelihood of any of these things happening is almost zero.
The deal is as good as done, and Russia should now draw conclusions from it.
First, it has failed to convince the United States, the 27-nation European Union, the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the West as a whole that this is a dangerous and wrong decision. Worse still, its failure to do so was predictable.
Russia played a losing game forced on it by its opponents. Why? The only explanation that comes to mind is that it wanted future historians to say, "Moscow was right." However, it could have argued its position and used the efforts and money it spent trying to dissuade the United States from this course more effectively in other, more promising foreign policy avenues.
Second, Russia's embryonic democracy cannot be considered a formidable opponent. But the Western, and in particular European, democracy, which Russia was encouraged to emulate, apparently has degenerated. Czech authorities calmly signed the agreement, although 75 percent of their people protested it. Poland has not signed a similar agreement to host interceptor missiles only because the sides are still haggling over the price, disregarding the opinion of ordinary Poles.
The major Western European nations continue to preach democracy to Russia, although their own democracy is badly in need of repair. When European voters rejected the common constitution, EU leaders overruled their decision by approving a Reform Treaty, essentially an abridged form of the constitution under a different name.
In short, the implications are bad for everyone, for the United States as the mainstay of democracy, for the European Union, and for democracy itself, as well as for Russia, which is only trying to develop democracy.
Third, the deployment of missile defense systems on the Russian border will close the era in global history that began with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of perestroika -- "restructuring" -- and glasnost -- "opening."
Gorbachev approved the demolition of the Berlin Wall, initiated no-tie meetings, called U.S. President Bill Clinton and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl "friends," and in general made all kinds of imaginable and unimaginable concessions to the West, all for a smile, a pat on the shoulder and the questionable honor of calling Western leaders his pals.
(Part 2: Learning the appropriate lessons from the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras)
(Pyotr Romanov is a political commentator for RIA Novosti. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.)
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)