‘Pre-emptive strikes’

“As regards pre-emptive strikes, we will take all the necessary measures to destroy the foundations of terrorism anywhere in the world.» The tone sounds familiar. However, this time these are not the words of George W. Bush or Ariel Sharon but of the commander of Russia’s joint chief of staffs, Juri Balujevski. A few days after the school massacre at Beslan, a little before the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the USA, the «preventive war» club has gained a new member. Our outrage at the type of terrorism that will not balk at slaughtering children is manifest. It is also clear that many Greeks feel gratitude for the support Russia has shown it, most recently over Cyprus. It is understandable, too, that many of us would like to see this large, friendly country back on its feet as a counterweight to the world’s only superpower. But all this hardly legitimizes giving Russia carte blanche. All those who opposed the US-led campaign in Iraq and the killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in Jenin should not really be any less sensitive to the annihilation of one 10th of the Chechen population by the Russian army. For half a century, Europe was a political hostage, caught between the two protagonists of the Cold War. There is no reason for us to spend another half-century in a similar situation…

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