"At the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, historic or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred." Patrick J. Buchanan
One of the strangest things that has happened to me since September 11th, 2001, is finding myself agreeing so often with paleo-conservative, Pat Buchanan. I don't agree with him on one single domestic policy issue that I can think of, but on foreign policy I find him strangely sound... and the quote above, totally.
The way the United States treated Russia at the collapse of the Soviet Union will haunt America for decades. It is without a doubt the stupidest, most frivolous, mistake in our history. It even dwarfs the invasion of Iraq for destructive idiocy. The answer to the question as to why and to whose benefit all this was done is another one for "future Chinese historians" to settle.
We are beginning to harvest the bitter crop sown then. Vladimir Putin went to Tehran to be photographed with Ahmadinejad in the middle of a US diplomatic offensive to isolate Iran… in order to isolate the United States.
It is important to realize that most countries rich in natural resources were formerly ruled by a collection of ex-colonial masters that now calls itself the European Union. It was their natural wealth that caused them to lose their independence in the first place. So it is difficult for them to see that the plans America has for democratizing them are any other than a modern version of the “mission civilisatrice” or “white man’s burden” of former days. Most countries that are rich in natural resources are much more afraid of the USA than they are of Iran.
When Americans defend their sovereignty, it is called "patriotism", when others do; it is called "nationalism". Around the world countries that have nothing more in common than the desire to maintain their sovereignty in the face of US destabilization are banding together: Witness the unlikely alliance of Iran and Venezuela. By standing up to America on the Iranian question, Russia shows resource rich, third world countries that it is protecting their sovereignty. In doing so Russia greatly enhances its own prestige in countries that own oil, natural gas and strategic minerals, commodities whose prices are rising steadily.
Putin’s Russia thus becomes the defender of nationalist sovereignty against internationalist subversion. This is a total role reversal of the cold war, where the Soviet Union tried to change other countries’ political systems by subversion or military action and the US was seen by nationalists as a barrier against Soviet subversion. It is noteworthy that the Latin American military officers that once vigorously persecuted “Marxist Internationalism” now have no problem supporting present day leftist governments that seek to maintain national sovereignty in the face of "Capitalist Internationalism". (read globalization)
I agree with my "guru", William Pfaff when he says, “the serious danger today to America is its pseudo-Marxist ideology of aggressive world security hegemony.” Putin, judoka that he is, is exploiting America's use of its power to rebuild Russia's own power and thus her sovereignty, a sovereignty that was itself seriously threatened by the United States during the Yeltsin period. DS
Patrick J. Buchanan: Who Restarted the Cold War?
Abstract: "Putin's Hostile Course," the lead editorial in The Washington Times of Oct. 18, began thus: "Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Moscow is just the latest sign that, more than 16 years after the collapse of Soviet communism, Moscow is gravitating toward Cold War behavior.(...) "(A)t virtually every turn, Mr. Putin and the Russian leadership appear to be doing their best in ways large and small to marginalize and embarrass the United States and undercut U.S. foreign policy interests."(...) Missing from the prosecution's case, however, was the motive. Why has Putin's Russia turned hostile? Why is Putin mending fences with China, Iran and Syria? Why is Putin sending Bear bombers to the edge of American airspace? Why has Russia turned against America? For Putin's approval rating is three times that of George Bush. Who restarted the Cold War?(...) Russia let the Berlin Wall be torn down and its satellite states be voted or thrown out of power across Eastern Europe. Russia agreed to pull the Red Army all the way back inside its border. Russia agreed to let the Soviet Union dissolve into 15 nations. The Communist Party agreed to share power and let itself be voted out. Russia embraced freedom and American-style capitalism, and invited Americans in to show them how it was done. Russia did not use its veto in the Security Council to block the U.S. war to drive Saddam Hussein, an ally, out of Kuwait. When 9-11 struck, Putin gave his blessing to U.S. troops using former republics as bases for the U.S. invasion. What was Moscow's reward for its pro-America policy? The United States began moving NATO into Eastern Europe and then into former Soviet republics. Six ex-Warsaw Pact nations are now NATO allies, as are three ex-republics of the Soviet Union. NATO expansionists have not given up on bringing Ukraine, united to Russia for centuries, or Georgia, Stalin's birthplace, into NATO.(...) While Moscow removed its military bases from Cuba and all over the Third World, we have sought permanent military bases in Russia's backyard of Central Asia.(...) Under presidents Clinton and Bush, the United States financed a pipeline for Caspian Sea oil to transit Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Black Sea and Turkey, cutting Russia out of the action. With the end of the Cold War, the KGB was abolished and the Comintern disappeared. But the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and other Cold War agencies, funded with tens of millions in tax-exempt and tax dollars, engineered the ouster of pro-Russian regimes in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia, and sought the ouster of the regime in Minsk. At the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, historic or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our "indispensable-nation" arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles. READ IT ALL