Magazine article The American Conservative

Russian Bear Baiting

Magazine article The American Conservative

Russian Bear Baiting

Article excerpt

Taki

Failure has done nothing to moderate the insane ambitions of U.S. policymakers. Not content with the bloody fiasco in Iraq, the intensification of the war in Afghanistan, a soaring budget deficit, and the electoral triumphs of the anti-American populist Left throughout South America, American policymakers have decided to open up a number of new battlefronts. First, they threaten to overthrow the clerical regime in Tehran. As if that weren't enough, they have now decided to pick a fight with Russia. Yes, Russia, the biggest country in the world and one that possesses thousands of nuclear warheads. Hubris like this has not been seen since Adolf Hitler.

A little while ago, Vice President Cheney went to Vilnius, Lithuania-a country that recently was an integral part of the Soviet Union-and accused Russia of undermining "the territorial integrity of a neighbor" and interfering with "democratic movements." Cheney was belligerent, undiplomatic, and almost looking for trouble. But he was not bellicose enough for the Democratic Party leadership. A few days after Cheney's speech, an open letter was delivered to the White House, signed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Joe "Your words are my words" Biden, and Carl Levin, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The open letter urged President Bush to use the power of his office to dissuade Russia from selling the Iranians air defense missile systems. Those are of no threat to the United States, or indeed anyone else-unless Uncle Sam or Israel plans to attack Iran.

Amidst the hysteria over Russia's alleged threats against its neighbors, Washington of course ignores its own threatening moves toward Russia. Having made promises to Gorbachev at the time of German reunification that NATO would not seek to take advantage of the fall of the Warsaw Pact and expand eastwards, the West, led by Uncle Sam, promptly threw these pledges into the wastebasket. In fact, the United States has surrounded Russia by inducting Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary into NATO. Washington is also actively urging NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. We are building military bases on Russia's borders and even threatening to station our ballistic missile defense system in former Warsaw Pact territory. When the Russians, in response to the increasingly belligerent anti-Russian leadership in Ukraine, said that in the future they would ask the Ukrainians to pay market prices for its gas imports, Western leaders shrieked as if Stalin were sending the Red Army into Finland. …

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