Saturday, September 13, 2008

Russia's a Big Girl Now

"The recent conflict between Russia and Georgia has brought to the surface a latent conflict among conservatives in the West, one which has proven surprisingly bitter and acrimonious, and which often verges on the irrational. I am neither a Russophile nor a Russophobe, so I have tried to stay out of the fight. ... However, there is another way to view the situation. ... A Russian leader who truly represents the people of his country will do what is in their interests, which will not necessarily accord with those of the USA or the UN or the EU. ... With these ideas in mind, consider the contributions made by Russkiy, a new Russian commenter at Gates of Vienna. ... 'A lot of criticism has been leveled against the current "regime" in the Russian Federation. ... The Russian role in the current "clash of civilizations" is not clear yet. What is definite is that Russians have a deeply seated dislike, bordering on hatred, towards Islam. ... I know that Russia is assissting Iran. I really hate that, but to be honest Russians know well enough what they are playing with; they don't really want a strong Iran. They wouldn't mind America going at it, but it [Iran] is a useful ally when Russia's own interests are threatened by Western powers.' Russkiy illustrates quite clearly what so many people have said here in recent comment threads: the West and Russia have a natural common interest in containing Islam. Russia has an even more immediate problem in that regard, and--in a rational world--would be a natural ally. ... Working with Russia definitely involves making sausages, and the fastidious would need to avert their eyes. ... In a similar vein, it would be prudent to revisit the Balkans and recognize our policy failures there concerning Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. But don't hold your breath. Common sense would tell the West to sit down at the table with the Bear and cut a deal, but common sense is sorely lacking these days", my emphasis, Baron Bodissey (BB) at Gates of Vienna, 1 September 2008, the link:

"Pipsqueak Georgia's harebrained and disastrous attack on tiny South Ossetia has produced a full-blown crisis pitting the US and NATO against Russia. In an act fraught with danger, US and NATO warships are delivering supplies to Georgia, watched by Russian men of war. The US Congress may soon vote $1 billion for America's embattled Georgia satellite. ... Russia has some 6,600 strategic nuclear weapons, mostly aimed at North America and Europe,. Besides, the U.S. which invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and whose air force just killed 90 Afghan civilians, 60 of them children, is in no position to lecture Moscow about aggression. ... Poland agreed to emplace a US antiballistic missile system only 184 km from Russia's border, provoking Moscow's fury. Ukraine and Poland are loudly backing Georgia. ... Topping off this war of words, two of Sen. John McCain's closest rightwing allies, senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsay Graham, went to Georgia and called for 'tough' meaures against Moscow. They urged isolating Russia for 'aggression' and admitting Ukraine and Georgia to NATO. ... This ugly mess recalls how the great powers blundered into both World War I and II over obscure locales like Bosnia-Heregovina and the Danzig Corridor. The obvious lesson: act with extreme caution. But few are listening as rhetoric sharpens. ... Not only did the clumsy US attempt to expand its influence into Moscow's backyard backfire badly, Washington's childish, petulant response is as inflammatory as it is powerless. The Georgian crisis and empty threats against Russia have aroused strong nationalist passions in Russia, which sees itself increasingly isolated and surrounded by the US and NATO", my emphasis, Eric Margolis (EM) at Lew Rockwell, 2 September 2008.

"Prime Minster Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia will respond calmly to an increase in NATO ships in the Black Sea in the aftermath of the war with Georgia, but promised that 'there will be an answer.' ... 'We don't understand what American ships are doing on the Georgian shores, but this is a question of taste, it's a decision by our American colleagues,' Mr. Putin reportedly said. 'The second question is why the humanitarian aid is being delivered on naval vessels armed with the newest rocket systems'," WSJ, 3 September 2008.

I agree with BB, who agrees with Spengler, see my 24 and 28 August 2008 posts. Our Russia policy is insane We should accept the fact Russia's interests are not ours. Vladimir the Great's public approval ratings are in the 80s. Why? Because Russians believe, rightly or wrongly he represents them. Not: the US, UN, EU, oligarchs or anyone or anything else. How many Americans believe George Bush is "their" president?

Newsflash: It is an act of war to deliver war materials to a belligerent except on a "cash and carry' basis". Where are our international lawyers on this one? Does anyone remember one thing which drew us into WWI? Extending credit to France and England from 1915 to 1917! EM uses some of my very words: backyard, backfire, childish, petulant, inflammatory. Yes, EM! We are in big trouble here. If Obama, AB Columbia, JD Harvard, wins, the war party wins! War party? McCain, would be more likely to avoid war. Unless the current White House occupant, George Bush, AB Yale, MBA Harvard, drags us into a war before 21 January 2009. Stay tuned.

Good questions Czar. Perhaps the Czar remembers the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident and is not looking to repeat it.

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