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Frick and Frack in the Great Game

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday July 15, 2006 04:10 PM

From the International Herald Tribune:
We need to be tough with Russia
By John Edwards and Jack Kemp

At a time when the president of the United States has made democracy a central goal of American foreign policy, Russia's political system is becoming steadily more authoritarian....

There is no question that a more democratic, open, transparent Russia would be behaving differently on many issues. A more democratic Russia would be forcefully engaged in efforts to end Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions - and it would be talking openly about the consequences of Iran's defiance....

It would not play host to Hamas. It would not work to kick the United States out of vital bases in Central Asia. It would not be using energy as political leverage....

In other words, it would be a nice docile lapdog state like, oh, Britain.

I know I keep saying this, but plus ca change. Sometimes, reading the headlines, I wonder whether the world has really altered much since the Crimean War. Russia through Tsars and Commissars, kleptocrats and neo-autocrats, remains the uncrackable nut, and Capitoline geese like Kemp and Edwards can be counted on to hiss and honk and flap their wings at the lumbering bear, like Palmerston writ very, very small indeed.

Comments (6)

js paine:

little jury jackin' johnny
geo-political sage

he plays
union bus boy
now this

bi partisan
tri lateral
gander honking

a serious 08
candidate indeed

formed out
sugar coated
pine tar

Tim D:

I work on an exchange program for Russians, so naturally I spend a lot of time reading Johnson's Russia List, which always includes an endless number of phillipics from British and American newspapers about how Russia is backsliding on democracy (to David Johnson's credit though, he has been including news items from WSWS on Russia and Ukraine the last few months). There was, however, an excellent item published in JRL a few months ago, back when all the pundits and Russophobes were calling for Russia to be booted from the G8. In the article, the authors wondered aloud about whether the U.S. belonged in the G8, exhaustively listing all the U.S. anti-democratic transgressions from Guantanamo to the two-party dictatorship (both representing rival oligarchic cliques as the authors put it). I wish I could find it now, but alas it seems to be lost to the ages.

Most of us know what Putin's real crime is though - abandoning the Yelstin era subservience to the U.S. government and pursuing a more independent minded foreign policy. It's certainly absurd to claim that Yelstin was a democrat, since it was Yeltsin who liquidated the nascent Russian parliament in 1993 (not before he sent in tanks to shell the physical building first) and began ruling by decree.

By the way, Kemp and Edwards seem to be conspicuously silent about the democratic record of our new found friends in those Central Asian republics from which Russia is so furiously trying to kick us out. Also, it seems a little strange that free market idealogue Cheney is so concerned about Russia beginning to charge Ukraine market prices for its gas. That was right around the time when many right wingers were making snide remarks about Belarus' woefully inefficient statist economy being propped up by heavily subsidized Russian gas and oil. Ahh but I digress...


That's a great catch, Michael. I just read a Newsweek article on Edwards (in my dentist's office) which elevated my mood a bit. How naive of me!
Nevertheless, if we ask ourselves who could get enough votes to beat a Republican presidential candidate, can you think of anyone with a better chance than Edwards? Naturally, a Democratic president wouldnt make the slightest change in fundamental US foreign policy, but at least we'd be back with the "realists" rather than the apocalypticists.
(OK,I hate myself for saying that!)
But, given that a Presidential candidate has to sound tough about something, isnt Russia a rather meaningless target? I mean, we're not going to really threaten a country that actually has nuclear weapons, and a bunch of resources we're trying to buy a piece of.

The thought of these two hair helmets collaborating makes me wretch.

Russia's got serious democracy problems but being lectured by these two must drive the Russians crazy.

It's like your wife nagging you that if you only quit drinking then you'd want to get up early and mow the lawn.

js paine:

fatal line:

"at least we'd be back with the "realists" rather than the apocalypticists"

this is what comes of too much hate of dick cheney

my advice just hate cheney

don't vote for
A B C-oids

realists kill more
with their kindness
then count cheney types with their sadism

risk the end of it all
area merit class spook story
an urbane legend

look at the tally

i'll put
the firm of
kennedy carter
and clinton

up against
and bush
any time

its in the good book somewhere

"for every nixon
there is a johnson
for every ike a truman ..."

do the tally bobw
are we really better
off with 'realists '

with humanists
than 'madmen' ?????

J. Alva Scruggs:

A Democratic presidency would make an enormous difference in at least one aspect of foreign policy: most of the people inveighing against the invasion of Iraq would solemnly point out the humanitarian aspects of their president's "interventions". A Democratic president would most likely pick better victims and get the muscular internationalist crowd on board. A Democratic president would apply soothing ointment to the chafed noses of the foreign dignitaries who could see their way clear to cheerfully endorsing the Chimp. Etc. . .

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