NATO Summit Begins in Bucharest
Hundreds of diplomats, journalists, and other important suits have descended on Bucharest as the largest NATO summit in history begins in the Romanian capital this evening. Leaders from the now 26 member organization have a full menu of issues on their plates, including NATO expansion, the conflict in Afghanistan, and the possible admission of Ukraine and Georgia to the elite club.
A special guest who would not like to see the latter happen, former Russian President Vladimir Putin, will also be present. On the opposing side of the ring regarding Ukraine and Georgia is U.S. President George W. Bush, who will take part in his last NATO summit this week before leaving office in January 2009. The fight will also predominately be joined by Germany and France, who fear antagonizing Russia over NATO expansion.
However, despite whatever verbal fighting may take place within the summit, Romanian police are out on the streets to make sure none takes place in the capital. Security is tighter than it has been since the days of Ceausescu, as thousands of police officers and security guards have surrounded the Palace of Parliament, the main venue of the summit, and blocked the main street leading from the airport to the palace, causing complaints from Bucharest residents. However, local schoolchildren are undoubtedly praising the NATO summit in joy, as schools and offices in the city will be closed during the three days of the summit.