Thursday, March 06, 2014

It Takes a Rogue Nation to Stop a Rogue State

The international community looked into Putin's eyes and blinked. Multilateralism has failed as badly as it did in the days of the League of Nations, but then again it never actually worked.

The international order that everyone pretends is a real force in world affairs is really the United States and a few partners doing all the work and letting the diplomats and bureaucrats of the world pretend that they matter. Without America, the United Nations would be just as useless as the League of Nations. With America, the United Nations is only a deterrent when the United States puts its foot down and the rest of the world doesn't get in the way.

It has become fashionable to denounce the United States as a rogue state. A military intervention, even with the backing of its Western allies, but outside the framework of the organizations of the international order, was deemed unilateralism and cowboy diplomacy.

And then Obama rode in on a three-speed bike and won a Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to doing nothing.

The multilateral system is helpless in the face of aggression. That is as true today as it was eighty years ago. International agreements are worthless without steel and lead behind them. The United Nations is incapable of acting when one of its more powerful members is the aggressor or the aggressor's patron, the foreign policy experts of the left crank out editorials explaining why we can't do anything about Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria or Ukraine and the Secretary of State explains that strength is weakness and weakness is strength.

International law couldn't stop Hitler. It couldn't stop Japan. It took the United States to do all that. The foreign policy experts will deny it, the editorials will decry it and the Common Core textbooks will refuse to print it; but it takes a rogue nation to stop a rogue state.

England and France's diplomatic outreach to Nazi Germany led to the seizure of the Rhineland, the annexations of Austria and a portion of Czechoslovakia, followed by the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland. American diplomacy and sanctions on Japan led to Pearl Harbor. The only time that the United Nations proved to be of any use was during the Korean War and that was before its doors were thrown open to an army of Third World dictatorships for sale to the highest bidder.

The issue isn't whether the United States should intervene in Ukraine, but whether it should have the option to do something more meaningful than draw faint red lines and threaten worthless sanctions. Every mob throwing things at soldiers and police isn't necessarily composed of the good guys just because they have photogenic protesters and colorful flags.

Our instinct to automatically support the underdog is just another dangerous figment of the multilateral mindset.

The United States has unselectively adopted the human rights agenda of the internationalists and allowed our foreign affairs priorities to be curated by the diplomats of the left who know exactly whom to denounce and what not to do about it. UN Ambassador Samantha Power, wearing a bitter frown, agonizing over the woes of the world, is the face of our senseless and useless diplomacy that forces us to play the moral scold without being able to back it up.

American foreign policy has become indistinguishable from the United Nations agenda and just as impotent, fixated on the recommendations of human rights committees instead of national interests, incapable of addressing historical alliances, and unable to build its responses around anything except the same Powerian empty shriek of self-righteous human rights outrage.

Obama's America has turned a cold impartial face to its allies, aspiring instead to become the vessel of international organizations while assigning its morality to an international committee. American foreign policy is under international management and that transfers its decision process from D.C. to an international network of committees incapable of doing anything except generating worthless reports and denouncing Israel

The United States was the ghost in the machine of the United Nations, but now that the United States is the United Nations, the United States has become the puppet of a puppet.

The weakness of multilateral diplomacy is that it strives to negotiate accommodations to the clashes of the moment without reference to past history or the trajectory of future conquests. This was a weakness that Hitler understood and exploited, reducing the issue to the current status of the Sudetenland or the Rhineland, rather than to past and future war aims. It was only when the Allies broke out of the diplomatic mindset of considering every Hitlerian conquest individually and debating the merits of defending Czechoslovakia, rather than anticipating the conquest of Poland, that real resistance to the Nazi war machine finally began.

Unfortunately the Allies failed to learn from history and accepted Stalin's piecemeal takeovers at face value only waking up after much of the world had fallen under the Red Flag. It was President Eisenhower’s "Domino Theory" that assigned a value to each conquest not based on its own status, but its place in a chain of conquests in a struggle for regional dominance.

Sarah Palin understood in 2008 what the school of foreign policy "realists" did not, that Georgia was not significant in isolation but as a prerequisite to the invasion of Ukraine and likewise Ukraine should be understood in the context of an imperial territorial ambition that stretches far beyond its borders.

Whether or not we choose to oppose that ambition we should understand it on its own terms, rather than the media's obsession with photogenic revolutions, the agenda of foreign policy experts seeking to turn America into a powerless multilateral shell and a liberal establishment that treats every international event as an opportunity to plump the praises of the inexperienced and incompetent leader that they foisted on the country with the equivalent of an American Idol audition.

The media gets behind anyone throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails in front of a camera lens as long as his target isn’t an authoritarian government of the left. Foreign policy experts who insisted that Putin wouldn’t go this far, now insist that he won’t go any farther. And the liberal establishment would cheer Obama’s leadership while an asteroid was colliding with the planet.

The United States should have a strong military, not so that it can use it, but so that it won’t need to use it. Military budget cuts send the message that we won't intervene in international conflicts which makes it more likely that our enemies will start international conflicts and that some of those conflicts will drag us in anyway no matter how much of the fleet we mothball and how many transsexual dance troupes and gay weddings we host on what used to be the army bases of a world power.

Military weakness invites war, whether it was the British trying to face down Hitler with no bullets or Obama announcing another round of drastic defense cuts just before Putin rolled into Ukraine.

Diplomacy is only the art of saying "Nice doggie" until you find the stick if you were stupid enough to throw away the big stick in the first place. And then you had better hope that you are dealing with a very stupid dog that won't gnaw your arm off before you can get at that stick.

The multilateralists believe that cutting the military will keep America from acting unilaterally and then their spokesmen are left with nothing to do except issue condemnations and draw red lines in the name of what used to be a world power. Human rights committee nuts like Samantha Power and anti-war boomers who never grew up like John Kerry end up causing more wars by combining empty rhetoric and inaction than they would if they either shut up or actually did something about it.

The United States should have clear commitments and agreements that it keeps, rather than randomly butting into every single conflict and human rights violation on the planet. Its leaders should decide whether they really are serious about Syria or Ukraine or any other place on earth that they issue press releases about and keep quiet about them if they are not.

And if they are serious, they should be ready to act with the same decisiveness that Vladimir Putin showed.

Despite all the accumulated multilateral rubbish in the corner, history isn't made by nations defending international law, but acting on their own imperatives. Only a rogue nation that isn't bound by the chains of multilateralism can take the unilateral action necessary to stop a rogue state.

The world isn't a single state, there is no law that applies to every country, no independent government and no world police. There is only a wild frontier and a cowboy who rides into town now and then with a gun at his side and a law made up of his own moral codes in his heart. The entire structure of international law looks neat when written on a page, but isn't worth a single bullet in his gun.

We've seen how it works when the cowboy puts on a three piece suit, locks up his gun in a safe controlled by a committee and spends all his time attending committee meetings. The committee gives him awards, but outside the committee hall there are the screams of men and women being killed and when a man with a gun comes for him, throwing the award at his head doesn't help.

American cowboy diplomacy is the only defense that the civilized world has against commissar diplomacy, cossack diplomacy and caliphate diplomacy and that is something that more of the three piece suit diplomats who claim to care about human rights and weak nations ought to understand and respect that.

The United States can't protect anyone when it's functioning as a cog in the multilateral system. To do something meaningful, it has to go rogue.


mushroom said...

This reminds me of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

The UN is the fat, worthless sheriff, Link Appleyard. Diplomats and diplomacy are represented by Jimmy Stewart's lawyer character, Ransom Stoddard.

America, as it was, is Tom Doniphon -- flawed, belligerent, sometime contemptuous, violent, even murderous.

But it takes a thuggish Tom Doniphon to take out a thug like Liberty Valance.

"[Doniphon has just faced down Valance in the diner]

Tom Doniphon: Well, now; I wonder what scared 'em off?

Dutton Peabody: [poking fun at Stoddard for his idealism] You know what scared 'em - the spectacle of law and order here, risin' up out of the gravy and the mashed potatoes."

Anonymous said...

The clock is moving towards high noon and there's no Will Kane in sight.


Anonymous said...

Hardly. The fundamental problem here is that the Crimea is not Ukrainian in any sense of the word and everyone knows it. The "invasion" was conducted by a force already present in the area and physically opposed by no one.

Our mistake is that for domestic political reasons we have, since the fall of the Soviet Union, extended US military and political interests to places where the nation has no actual interest; i.e. the Ukraine. The old adage is that a military commander should not issue an order he knows will be disobeyed. A corollary of that adage is that a nation should not issue military and political threats it has no intention of acting upon. The proper thing to do here is largely what is occurring. We should take our medicine for stupidly extending ourselves while at the same time take heart in the knowledge that from a strategic standpoint we are forcing Russia to act defensively. They are, after all, expending military and diplomatic capital to maintain control over an area that was traditionally theirs to control. Additionally we need to take the opportunity of this example to encourage the rest of the world to more actively defend themselves while we retreat from our empire.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Greenfield, a slight correction, if you please:

"when a man with a guy comes for him," should be "when a man with a gun comes for him,"

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anon 1, it's not about who Crimea should belong to anymore than WW2 was about who the Sudetenland should belong to.

Anon 2, thanks

Anonymous said...

Yes, agreed, fine. Once we've posited the essential Darwinian real politik reality, let's acknowledge Ukraine sits within Russia's sphere of influence because of history and geography. I'm bothered by Obama's posture but not by the immediate outcome (in this case)

Anonymous said...

Also, the reflexive reversion to Munich. Can we have another look at that too? What exactly were the American issues at stake in Sudetenland et al? I know, I know-- that's a sacred cow and we all have to accept the "Good War" mythology... but unless we learn the lessons from the past, we'll continue to bumble into nonsense like Ukraine, Syria, etc. Enough of the world's policeman... it has never worked and it never will.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mr. Greenfield, this particular incident is exactly about to whom the Crimea should belong. Our mistake was made 20 years ago when we decided we had an interest there. We don't. It is also, on a larger level about how the world will operate now that the Pax Americana is over. Wishing for that peace to return will not produce the resources required to bring it back.

This isn't WW2, the Crimea isn't the Sudetenland and Putin isn't Hitler no matter how often Hillary Clinton says he is.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

It's not about Crimea or the Sudetenland, but about power and conquest by totalitarian crime rings running countries. And no matter how many areas are written off as not worth fighting over, eventually the conquest heads somewhere that has to be fought over anyway.

mindRider said...

What should the free world has done to make Putin back down? Putin holds the EU firmly by the balls with the gas delivery squeeze and the American administration by word of secretary Kerry is stupefied that "this can happen in the 21st century" showing such naiveté that it is pitiful. Neither the EU nor the US have any military backbone, the NATO by lack of cohesion and president Obama by horror bellatorius and neither do they have, thanks to commercial globalization other means to growl in such a convincing manner that it would cower Putin into submission.

Anonymous said...

Or not. Most conquests overextend themselves. Let us conserve our resources should the conquest actually materialize. He who defends everything defends nothing.

Anonymous said...

All of this theory is interesting -- but, what do you propose that Obama actually do -- something with our military? economic sanctions? what? Please be specific as your article is not very direct.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of conquest, I have been watching my country deteriorate since 9/11. There is more than one way to weaken a country, and there are several excuses to limit liberty that sound almost rational at the time.


Anonymous said...

Funny that as a New Yorker you missed the part where the "confrontation" between the US (Obama) and Russia (Putin) stops the import of well over HALF of all the ammunition sold in the US heartland every year. I think this may be Obamas primary; if not only "goal", as somthing like 60% of all "assault weapons" ammunition sold in the US is manufactured in what was the old Soviet Union. All most half of THAT comes from one ammo plant in Russia. Impose "santions" and ammunition becomes unobtainium. Then all that he need do is round up his enemies and send them to "reeducation". I wonder if they will put "work makes you free" over the door to the camps?---Ray

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that US & EU have just sponsored a violent coup d' etat in Ukraine. This includes support for hardline nationalists of the kind you should be well aware of. The new govt has tried to ban the Russian language.

Russia is most definitely not the aggressor here and Putin has had to move to protect Russians in the Crimea from this illegal government. Note how US says these people don't have the right to determine their future, the opposite of what happened to Serbia with Kosovo. Nauseating hypocrisy!

We should be asking what the hell the US and EU are playing at sponsoring a coup with billions of dollars while their own peoples are suffering from a devastating economic crisis. Further , sanctions have been imposed on European people, they call it "austerity".

Proud Brit.

Ex-Dissident said...


While I agree that eventually there will be a fight, I also agree with the comment that Crimea is a part of Russia. On that note, I believe the Panama Canal should have remained a part of the U.S. and Carter had no business gifting that away. The only rational way to prepare for a fight is to strengthen our nation and our military, if we can strengthen both to the point where no one dares to mess with us, that is the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, Obama is weakening both and Bolton was absolutely correct when he said Obama is currently our greatest security risk.

Anonymous said...

Most Americans see Crimea, and even Ukraine, as part of Russia. They forget that Ukraine was cultured and literate before Russia even existed. In a perfect world, Ukraine would be the ideal bridge between Russia and the West, since in fact, it contains elements of both.

Anonymous said...

I agree Mr. Greenfield, "It's not about Crimea or the Sudetenland but about power and conquest by totalitarian crime rings running countries". Haven't you just described the Obama administration of this county? Shouldn't we devoting our efforts to ridding the country of this crime ring rather than a foreign crime ring?

Anonymous said...

Putin adviser: Obama is a good boy.
Putin: Have you said BOY?
Adviser: GOOD boy
Putin: Yes, BOY. I have already heard you .

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anon 1. "Or not. Most conquests overextend themselves."

Also most empires eventually collapse. All humans die. Eventually the sun will go out.

Anon 2. The point isn't what Obama is supposed to do now, but that a strong America averts the need to do things and that the world largely depends on freedom of action for America.

Ray. "somthing like 60% of all "assault weapons" ammunition sold in the US is manufactured in what was the old Soviet Union."

Supply and demand. If you're dependent on ammo for an enemy, that's an ongoing problem regardless of what Obama does.

Proud Brit. "Russia is most definitely not the aggressor here"

One country invading another that hasn't threatened it or attacked it is the very definition of an aggressor.

Anon 3. "Shouldn't we devoting our efforts to ridding the country of this crime ring rather than a foreign crime ring?"

What are the proportion of articles on my site dedicated to Obama vs Putin? Even this article is partly about getting rid of Obama.

Anonymous said...

Is the Ukraine uprising our State Dept's latest snafu ?


overcaffeinated said...

As the saying goes, "Si vis pacem, para bellum" - If you want peace, prepare for war.

Harvey said...

Apparently Neville Chamberlain lived longer than Wilt. Merely taking over a country (or a part of one) is ok with some. Not aggression? Really? Historically Russian? My father was born just outside of Kiev and about a century ago, part of the family came here after my father's older brother was shot through the heart because he answered the door when the mounted soldiers knocked. His crime was he was a Jew, but the people that killed him probably shouldn't be considered aggressors. After all, they were from nearby. Why is it that when the same people (on the left) who say Russia is ok in this consider a country whose history is pretty well documented (the Bible for instance) for quite a while, that was reformed by U.N. action (an oxymoron since), gets attacked and in an actual war captures territory, that's aggression and all sorts of ugliness follows. Perhaps if Israel invades Ukraine they will win support from the left.

Daniel, where do we sign up to rid us of Obama?

RxPC said...

Wonderful analysis, as usual. What you say makes so much sense, it amazes me that so many people in the world just don't get it. I talk myself hoarse with people who either couldn't care less or believe the lie that eliminating American dominance and aggression is the key to long term peace and stability. They have no understanding of history, and, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, believe that all human beings are inherently good and will develop benign systems of government if given the chance.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Sophie, Stephen Cohen is the husband of the publisher of The Nation, a notorious Communist apologetic left-wing magazine.

Overcaffinated, a basic truth that so many forget

Harvey, like Glenn Greenwald they suffer from selective double standards

RxPC, the left has spread the same lie about American power abroad that it has about American economic vitality at home

Anonymous said...

'Communist' ? Oh damn, as my mother said many years ago "you sure know how to pick them'...still do, I guess.

I do agree with him in his opinion that the State Dept. had a heavy hand in the uprising. Putin has caused so much embarrassment to this president..and nobody puts Bambi in the corner, he is a spiteful boy.

Anonymous said...

I'll read the full article later, but the several paragraphs I did read were spot on.

I will note that one thing that confuses people is that prior to the US doing the heavy lifting, it was the British. Essentially it has been Anglo-Saxon culture that has dominated world affairs since at least 1805, based upon powerful navies built upon wealth created by commerce. Anglo-Saxon navies have controlled the world's oceans since 1805, with the exception of the first half of 1942 in the Pacific.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Obama was appeasing Putin until the last minute so the theory that this was payback doesn't hold water.

Kol Bo Gary said...

Daniel, as usual, well written and very true. Thought you might like to read this which is in the same vein...

Anonymous said...

Ukraine in the EU means NATO in Ukraine and US missiles in the bases. Odds are that Putin regards that idea in the same way we regarded USSR missiles in Cuba.

You don't have to see Putin as any sort of Good Guy to figure that there is rational thought behind his actions. After all, keeping NATO from more encirclement is just plain common sense for any Russian.


Anonymous said...


"One country invading another that hasn't threatened it or attacked it is the very definition of an aggressor."

USA & EU have sponsored a violent coup d' etat in Ukraine. The band of thugs now in charge have made it clear they're hostile to Russia & pro-EU. They have also shot their own people. The aggressors here are USA & EU AGAIN and their Ukrainian puppets - many of them neo-nazis - who have overthrown a democratically elected President.

It's another Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria. US & EU interference to further their new order by overthrowing regimes they don't approve of.

Putin has no choice but to protect Russians in the Crimea. Compare their situation with that of Kosovo and see the double standards.

Proud Brit.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

It's not technically a coup, more to the point it's an internal political dispute over international alignment.

Backing an anti-government opposition is vastly different than invading another country.

If the US were to funnel money to UKIP, it would be vastly different than invading the UK.

The opposition is no more thuggish than the ruling government. They opposition doesn't consist of neo-nazis, but of a spectrum of groups from the left and the right. And they certainly are not 'puppets'. Puppets don't risk death.

Ukrainian nationalism or its hostility to Russia was not something that a few EU bureaucrats invented over the weekend.

Finally, Putin does not care about the Russians in Russia. He certainly does not care about the Russians in Crimea or about the Ossetians in Georgia.

This is about straight power.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...


NATO is not a threat to Russia. These arguments are a rehash of the same excuses made for Russia during the Cold War.

Poor Russia is threatened by NATO aggression. It needs a buffer zone. The Hungarians are thugs, etc. etc

Anonymous said...

...The only time that the United Nations proved to be of any use was during the Korean War and that was before its doors were thrown open to an army of Third World dictatorships for sale to the highest bidder.

True. And the reason the US got a relatively free hand in Korea was that the Sovs walked out when the debate and vote was held. They never made that mistake again.

Anonymous said...

UKIP aren't conducting a violent revolution though, your comparison is flawed. A more accurate one would be US funding of the murdering IRA scum. So much for the war on terror "it's not terrorism when we fund it".

This is EU & NATO expansionism. It's an attack on a foreign country by proxy and a deliberate provocation to Russia from 2 debt ridden failed Marxist regimes: US & EU. What right do they have to overthrow a leader they don't like who was elected in a UN approved democratic election?

How would you feel if Russia did the same in Texas or California?

EU & US care as much for the Ukraine as they do for their own peoples. But maybe they'll get to share the nobel peace prize for their efforts.

Proud Brit.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

This isn't about the EU, it's about Russia and the Ukraine. And the Ukrainian opposition isn't good, but it's not setting off bombs in movie theaters either.

There's a fundamental difference between invading a country with armed force and supporting an opposition.

NATO isn't expansionism except in far-left wing propaganda. If it were expansionist, then its armed forces would be in Crimea now.

Anonymous said...

Daniel there's no difference if the opposition you're funding is using that money to overthrow a democratically elected leader by use of violence. That is a coup d' etat and it's wrong.

You can't cut the USA & EU out of this. There's no way USA would tolerate Russia behaving like this on its doorstep.

Contrast Obama's attitude to the violent opposition thugs in Ukraine with his attitude to the protesters in Iran. If only he was as concerned about protecting the borders of his own nation than protecting those of Ukraine, US would be a better place.

Proud Brit.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

There's a huge difference between aiding a domestic opposition and invading another country.

What was going on in the Ukraine was internal. It became an invasion when Russian forces crossed the border.

Obama has had the same empty response to Ukraine and Iran.He isn't protecting the protesters in either country.

Finally, if you're using the same exact rhetoric as those who justified the Russian invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, it might be time to reconsider.

Anonymous said...

Russia didn't just invade without any background as in Hungary & Czechoslovakia so that comparison is also flawed.

The point you're missing Daniel is that USA & EU funded a violent coup to overthrow democracy. That makes it a coup in every sense. Do you support USA funding violent coups to overthrow democratically elected leaders?

This illegal gov then banned Russian in a clearly provocative act. Putin HAD to protect Russians in the Crimea. You dismiss this background as irrelevant. That may be convenient from a US viewpoint but it masks US & EU interference and subversion of Ukrainian democracy.

You also dismissed NATO's role but look at this:

There is no way USA would tolerate this provocation from Russia on its borders and the whole way USA & EU have behaved and are behaving is deplorable.

What really grates is both USA & EU don't give this amount of attention to their own borders!

Proud Brit.

Anonymous said...

There appears to be a Russian troll in this thread.

Anonymous said...

I think that there is a different explanation. During Bush's first term, Putin was seriously interested in a strategic alliance with the West against the radical Islamism, but instead of engaging him then, we funded the color revolutions and tried to extend NATO into Russia's old sphere of influence. At the same time, we funded opposition groups in Russia, accused Putin of false flag attacks, and refused to stop calling the Chechens "freedom fighters". In 2004, after the Orange revolution, iirc, Putin angrily said in an interview that Bush had lied to him and that he would never trust us again.

Now Russia is trying to reassert itself as a world power rivaling the US. Moreover, freed of the responsibility of staying in the West's good graces, Putin is pursuing Russia's national interest without restraint. One of Russia's serious problems is that its ethnic Russian population is dwindling, and within 50 years, Russia may end up an Islamic state. So Russia has a major interest in regaining control of as many ethnic Russians as possible. One of the best ways to pick up more ethnic Russians is to exert physical control over border regions with neighboring countries that house lots of Russians, for instance in Eastern Ukraine, Crimea, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

Putin sees the acquisition of these populations as a matter of immense importance. Moreover, the West's hostility to his regime together with the color revolutions and provocative prospective expansions of NATO naturally would lead him to believe that the West is trying to undermine his plans for Russia to regain its place as a great power.

That doesn't excuse his actions, but we need to understand that Putin is more interested in restoring Russia's great power stature, and that we blew a chance we had a decade ago to turn him into an ally.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Putin was not interested in an alliance against "radical Islamism". Russia thinks like an empire. For that matter so do we.

That means we ally with some Islamists and oppose others. Ditto for Russia.

Putin was not about to change that. He's backing radical Islamists and has all along.

Putin never "trusted us" to begin with. Yeltsin might have. You're talking about a KGB man. Do you really believe that we "betrayed his trust"?

Russia is into straightforward expansion, that means Russians and it means Muslims. It's the same thing that has been going on for centuries. It's not a counter-Islamic operation. His Eurasian Union will be built on Muslim participation.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Proud Brit,

There was background in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. There's always historical background for an invasion.

You're harping on the EU which is what the Russian propaganda wants you to do. This isn't about the EU, it's about internal Ukranian wrangling.

Russians were not endangered in Crimea. Certainly not in a way that justifies an armed invasion.

Russia is taking over the Crimea permanently. That's not a response to a single political overthrow.

It's conquest.

Finally NATO is zero threat to Russia unless you seriously believe it could invade Russia.

Anonymous said...

I mean, why would Putin want to expand Russia's territory? Russia has massive tracts of land lying fallow with nobody to farm them. Moreover, what benefit does Putin gain from an adversari relationship with the west and the US

Anonymous said...

crap delete that last comment I accidentally entered it without finishing it.

Anonymous said...

Russia sees it as a declaration of enmity. Consider how pissed off we (Israelis and Israel supporters) get when the supposedly friendly EU funds subversive NGOs in Israel. Or more pointedly, if it turned out that the EU was funding the Hamas instead of some hypothetically Israel-friendly version of the PLO.

It is one thing when a hostile govt funds your enemies in countries on your border, but it is another when your "friends" do so.

I dunno, I can totally understand why Russia did this. It is a warning to two-faced countries funding your enemies, and it also accomplishes secondary goals of Russia reclaiming an ethnic Russian population.

At least from my POV, we have given the Russians no incentive not to do this, and we have no incentive to prevent it.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Declaration of enmity?

Russia has spent generations trying to subvert the US. And yes Russia has kept it up after the fall of the USSR.

The problem with all these claims of Russian victimization is that anything that America can be accused of, Russia did a hundred times worse already.

Putin certainly isn't the victim here. The US is not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia.

This world in which NATO Yankee imperialism put Russia in a corner that it had to break out of doesn't exist outside RT.

Anonymous said...

No no. The question is not about Yankee imperialism. It has to do with whether or not Putin perceives that there is Yankee imperialism. He is convinced that US policymakers want to continue the cold war and subvert his government (and we are doing that to an extent). Putin only started the anti-American propaganda after the color revolutions started. I just took a class on post-Soviet politics (with a conservative prof, fwiw, who is no apologist for Putin), and it is not the case that Putin immediately took an adversarial stance.

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