I’ve learnt a new word this week. Actually, the difference between an enclave and an exclave still isn’t clear to me, nor do I think it is all that important. (See definitions and examples in Wikipedia as at 27 June 2022). Oddly, the Wikipedia article doesn’t mention the exclave Gibraltar. I wonder why.
Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave bordered on the South by Poland and on the North by Lithuania. A railroad connects Kaliningrad with the rest of Russia and ensures supplies to the city.
On the other hand, a 100 km long so-called Suwalki Corridor lies between Kaliningrad and Belarus. The Suwalki corridor is subject to much NATO hand-wringing, since the three Baltic states would be pretty helpless if Russia/Belarus takes control of it.
Nonetheless, Lithuania proudly announced the other day that they would hereafter block rail transport of goods between Russia and Kaliningrad (see a discussion on the matter in Foreign Policy) effectively creating a blockade.
This step on the part of Lithuania, which is merely implementing sanctions imposed by the EU, is pretty reckless, I’d say. Obviously, if Russia feels pressured into taking belligerent action against a NATO country to supply its city, all hell will be lose (i.e. WWIII).
Of course, when the day comes, nobody will remember that we, the NATO countries, almost forced Russia to attack in order to supply the roughly half million people living in Kaliningrad. We will have forgotten, for the simple reason that most of us never knew; our press barely murmured something about the exclave in a subordinate clause.
I find myself asking what the heck is the matter with Warmonger Stoltenberg. (His name, by the way, means proud rock, so why not call him Rocky?) Had I asked him personally, he would of course have replied that fear of death should not prevent us from defending Democracy, or something to that effect. I would have retaliated with dramatic gestures that Russia has never threatened my country’s democracy (or non-aligned Sweden’s or Finland’s), that Ukraine never was a democracy and that every country the US and/or NATO has touched since 1950 has been reduced to rubble. I never argue well with people I passionately despise.
For Mr Stoltenberg, who grew up in the lap of luxury, “death” is just a word. More importantly, though, he has never ever had to be anything but Norwegian. For Norwegians a number of modern values are self-evident. Anybody or any country that does not share and understand those values is “wrong” and subject to kind but firm conversion efforts or, at worst, defamation. That is, of course, unless the person or country in question is an ally, like apartheid Israel. And now, at last, Norway is proudly and ridiculously carrying the banner together with the big guys — UK and France and Germany — determined to fight for global Democracy. We are going to “save” China, Afghanistan, Iran… etc. First, though, we must crush Russia. Of course, we are not alone. At the head of this crusade is USA.
USA’s national assembly has just, we are jubilantly told here in Norway, managed to agree on some gun control. The infinitesimal gun control agreed upon has, however, been offset by a gargantuan gun liberation ruling passed by the Supreme Court. See the New York Times for details. You might not have noticed this decision, at least if you live in Norway, where negative references to USA tend to be shied away from these days. Is the press grooming us to rally around our dear leader, President Biden and his lieutenant NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg?