Saturday, August 30, 2008

Foreign Policy Fools

"Now, into America's trivialzing presidential campaign, a pesky event has intruded--a European war. Russian tanks, heavy artillery, strategic bombers, ballistic missiles and a naval blockcade batter a European nation. We are not past such things after all. The end of history will be postponed again. ... Clinging to the Obama campaign's talking points like a drunk to a lamppost, [Bill] Richardson said this crisis proves the wisdom of Obama's zest for diplomacy, and that America should get the U.N. Security Council 'to pass a strong resolution getting the Russians to show some restraint.' Apparently Richardson was ambassador to the U.N. for 19 months without noticing that Russia has a Security Council veto. The crisis illustrates, redundantly, the paralysis of the [UN] regarding major powers, hence regarding major events, and the fictitiousness of the European Union regarding foreign policy. ... Putin has abruptly pulled the presidential campaign up from preoccupation with plumbing the shallows of John Edwards and wondering what 'catharsis' is 'owed' to the disappointed Clintons. ... If Georgia were in NATO, would NATO now be at war with Russia?", George Will at the Houston Chronicle, 12 August 2008.

"Unilateral U.S. sanctions and more rhetoric are unlikely to succeed in reversing the immediate consequences of Vladimir Putin's lunge for revenge in the Caucus. The overriding policy goal for Washington should be the forging of a new U.S.-European understanding on Russia that will be as durable and agile as containment was in the Cold War. ... Called 'Putin's War' by some in Moscow, this conflict exposes the failure of Russia's post-communist leadership to develop a political culture that does not depend on force and intimidation along with a tactical cleverness that frequently backfires. For Putin, the attack on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvilli's forces was not just business. It was intensely personal. ... In Putin's view, President Bush did not reciprocate for the help and support Putin provided in the immediate wake of Sept. 11, 2001. Instead the Americans continued to push for NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia, decided to place U.S. missile defenses near the Russian border and egged the Europeans on in granting Kosovo independence from Serbia that Russians refuse to recognize. ... Putin is someone who believes that a thumb in the eye deserves two if not three in return", my emphasis, Jim Hoagland (JH) at the Houston Chronicle, 17 August 2008.

"Meanwhile U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will attend an emergency session of [NATO] in Brussels on Tuesday to fashion a more detailed response to Russia's actions in Georgia and the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 'The damage done to Russia's reputation and the damage to people's views of Russia's suitability for some of these institutions, that damage can't be undone,' Ms. Rice said Sunday on CBS television's 'Face the Nation'," WSJ, 18 August 2008.

"Five months ago, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, long a darling of this city's diplomatic dinner party circuit, came to town to push for America to muscle his tiny country of 4 million into NATO. ... At the White House, President Bush promised him to push hard for Georgia's acceptance into NATO. ... The Russian president warned that the push to offer Ukraine and Georgia membership in NATO was crossing Russia's 'red lines,' according to an adminstration official close to the talks. ... The story of how a 16-year, low-grade conflict over who should rule two small mountain regions in the Caucasus erupted into the most serious post-Cold War showdown between the [US] and Russia is one of miscalculation, missed signals and overreaching, according to interviews with diplomats and senior officials in the [US], the European Union, Russia and Georgia. In many cases, the officials would speak only on condition of anonymity", Houston Chronicle, 18 August 2008.

"[US] Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is supposedly a specialist on Russia, yet one would not know that by looking at her triumphal statement that ... (NATO) will defeat Russian aims in Georgia. ... NATO is 'considering seriously the implications of Russia's actions for the NATO-Russia relationship', said a statement of the 26-member alliance. ... Short of destabilizing Europe, there is practically nothing the US can do about [Georgia], except fire more verbal volleys, as Rice has been doing relentlessly since the outbreak of Russia-Georgia hostilities on August 7-8. ... There are four interrelated causes of the present crisis: irredentism in Georgia, NATO's expansion, the US's plan to station an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, considered a first-strike capability by Moscow, and the geo-economics of energy security. ... On the US's part, instead of applying the arithmetic of political realism and coming to terms with the sources of Russian anger, that is, at NATO's unwelcome, intrusive and threatening expansion near Russian territory, the US is now seeking to augment Russia's insecurity by pushing more aggressively for NATO's role and influence in the region and beyond. ... Such bellicose US reactions are neither fully in sync with Europe's needs and interests, nor that of the US's own interest--such as engaging Russia in the NATO-Russia Council. Whereas Moscow's legitimate national security worries have been completely side-stepped and ignored in Washington (and to a lesser extent in London), other Western leaders, such as those in Paris and Berlin, have been more cautious and one may even say considerate of the Russian point of view. ... It is simply not wise to corner the Russian bear and provoke it into aggression by taking blatant initiatives that threaten Russian national-security interests", Kavej Afrasiabi at, 20 August 2008.

"WAR doesn't change anything! How many times have we heard the claim from self-righteous leftists protected by their betters? ... Condoleeza Rice flew to Brussels to huff and puff, but NATO isn't about to blow Putin's house down. We'll get an earnest statement of concern, the cancellation of military exercises with the Russians and an easy-to-retract suggestion that, just maybe (if the astrologers approve unanimously), there might be a place in the Atlantic alliance for Georgia and the Ukraine in the distant future. In an act of breathtaking daring, NATO ministers even put down their teacups and agreed to term the Russian invasion 'disproportionate.' Boy, Putin's scared now. ... War doesn't change anything? Wish it were true--but war has been humankind's preferred means of effecting change. ... We're all--right and left--getting an in-your-face lesson about how the world really works. Passive resistance only has a chance when your opponent believes in the rule of law and respect for human rights. Gandhi was effective against law-abiding Britain, but he would've frozen to death in the Soviet gulag--if he'd lived long enough to reach the camps. ... But war does work. ... Berkeley radicals don't take midnight strolls through the toughest streets in Oakland. They know that some human beings are innately violent--but admitting it would be unbearable. ... The bitter truth is, none of us can move Russia. ... Putin believes in force. ... Imagine a President Barack Obama pitted against Putin--the left's new messiah would be gobbled up in one bite", Ralph Peters (RP) at, 20 August 2008.

"The international community has not done enough to push back. ... The fact is, Putin and his associates in the Kremlin don't accept the post-Soviet realities. ... But the West, and particularly the U.S., should continue to mobilize the international community to condemn Russia's behavior. ... But Russia must be made to understand that it is in danger of becoming ostracized internationally. ... If the issue of Georgia's territorial integrity is not adequately reasolved ... the U.S. should contemplate withdrawing from the 2o14 Winter Games, to be held in the Russian city of Sochi", Zbignew Brezinski (ZB) at Time, 25 August 2008.

"As Israel was provoked in 1967, so, too, was Russia provoked. ... If we proceed on a course of isolating Russia from the West, keeping her out of the [WTO], throwing her out of the G-8 and ending cooperation with NATO, where do we think Russia will go? Where did Il Duce go, when he was excommunicated from the West? ... Does the Stanford provost have any idea where the end of this road lies, upon which she and Bush have started the [US]? ... If the [US] intends to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and arm them to fight Russia, why should Russia not dissolve the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe and move her tank armies into Belarus and up to the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania? ... In March 1939, Britain pledged to declare war and fight Germany to the death to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Poland, How did that one turn out for Britain and Poland? Before we start down the road of isolating and encircling Russia with weak NATO allies, let us think through Gen. Petreus' question in 2003 about Iraq. 'Tell me, how does this thing end?' But, then, these folks never seem to think anything through", Pat Buchanan (PB) at, 25 August 2008. The link:

Richardson is as knowledgable about the UN as Obama is about Nuremberg, or Auschwitz. Russia should shock the elites of the world. It should support Richardson's UN resolution, let him draft it and introduce it into the Security Council. Then do what it pleases. Long live the Czar!

Does not depend on "force and intimidation"? The chairman (Mao Zedong) said, "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun". What is JH talking about? "Intensely personal"? I don't believe it. The Czar doesn't operate like that. JH is projecting American foreign policy on Russia. Bush "looked into Putin's soul", not Putin into Bush's. JH is right about one thing: Putin does not turn Russia's other cheek.

Rice's "threats" to the Czar reminded me of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (MPFC). Many years ago, MPFC's skit called "The Spanish Inquisition" had a woman tortured by sitting in a "comfy chair". Similiarly, Russia with lots of oil and $800 billion in foreign exchange reserves must be terrified at Rice's threats. Here's a transcript of the skit:

I wonder when was the last time any of these "diplomats" and "experts" looked at a map? Why was Saakashvili so popular in Washington? Because he has Columbia LLM? This reminds me of the theory that Yuri Andorpov was a Western sympathizer. Why? He drank Scotch instead of vodka. How stupid can one get?

Silly me, I didn't know NATO and Russia were dating. Are they serious? I don't want to think about what Connnie baby might say to the Russians if she wasn't a "specialist on Russia".

Imagine, ZB was Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser. I'm sure the threat of our not participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics has Moscow terrified. ZB, I have two words for you: shut up! How many divisions does ZB's "international community" have?

RP has this right.

I agree with PB. As my uncle who died in 1994 used to ask, "What comes next"? Have Rice and Bush ever asked this question?


Anonymous said...

I agree with PB. As my uncle who died in 1994 used to ask, "What comes next"?

step 1: steal underwear
step 2: ???
step 3: profit!!

Joseph Moroco said...

Could someone kindly tell Will that Georgia is not a European country. It is in Southwest Asia.