Writing in the Moscow Times someone named Gordon M. Hahn (pictured), identified as a “senior researcher and adjunct professor” at something called the “Monterey Institute for International Studies” (whatever the hell THAT is) and author of the book Russia’s Islamic Threat spews forth the following heap of Russophile goo. Weirdly, this fellow seems to be deeply associated with the ultra-conservative Hoover Institute, to which Condi Rice also has ties. You probably know all you need to know about this sociopath if you understand that he’s part of the wacko cabal of Peter Lavelle, a Kremlin shill who churns out propaganda for Russia Today state-owned TV. It just goes to show that we conservatives have to watch our backs as well as our fronts where Russia is concerned. Shame on Hoover for being associated with this crap (it’s noteworthy he doesn’t name them in his MT bio statement). Let’s help him look foolish, shall we?
The West Lost Russia
LR: Let’s start with the title. Just reading it show that this demented loser is automatically disqualified from serious consideration. Examine the text, and you won’t find one single sentence that indicates Russia made ANY mistake in its relations with the West. It’s 100% innocent according to this moron. You will find, however, the thesis that although Russia is now making common cause with rogue nations like China and Iran, and turning into a crazed neo-Soviet dictatorship, if only we had spoken the right soft words of tender encouragement to Russia, it would have been our bosom friend and a reliable democracy. Moreover, you will find the arrogant American theory that we control the entire world, that it’s up to us to decide how Russia’s history plays out.
In contrast to the purported global warming, Russian-Western relations are undergoing a real cooling. The mounting frigidity in the relationship was symbolized in Moscow’s surprise rush to the Arctic. The aim of this expedition was to gather scientific evidence to support a legal territorial claim to the Lomonosov Ridge. But this was just one salvo in a summer flurry that underscored a new, resurgent Russia. Others include:
• A diplomatic offensive across the Middle East and Asia that included hints of forming a natural gas cartel.
• President Vladimir Putin’s moves to withdraw from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
• The resumption of long-range strategic bomber flights that will patrol areas bordering European and U.S. airspace.
• An announcement to expand the Navy’s global presence, including basing once again some of its forces in the Mediterranean Sea.
• The militarization of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as members and Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia as observers.
In short, Russia is back as a global player, and it is no longer a starry-eyed admirer of the United States.
LR: “Starry-eyed admirer of the United States”? What a completely demented statement! Never for one second in its history has Russia been any such thing. Perhaps he thinks that when Boris Yeltsin was besieging the Russia Duma, he was emulating George Washington? None of the examples he gives makes Russia anything remotely like a “global player” — except to the extent that Osama Bin Laden is one. They are nothing more than the empty posturing of a pathetic, desperate, malignant little troll who is consumed with seething hatred for the values of the West and who enjoys the overwhelming support of the Russian people.
These are the bitter fruits of the West’s — and in particular the United States’ — mistaken policies toward Russia since the end of the Cold War. Instead of treating Moscow magnanimously, as historian Richard Pipes once urged, the West declared victory. Unlike the victory in World War II over Nazi Germany, however, no Marshall Plan was forthcoming. Instead, the West promised but did not deliver timely economic assistance in the early 1990s. It also backed a disastrous and broadly unpopular privatization and economic reform program. Worst of all, it alienated the entire Russian elite by expanding NATO to include Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Baltic states. Further rounds of expansion may very well bring Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance. The NATO and European Union expansion, which did not include a substantive role for Russia, effectively locked Moscow out of a Western orbit that the Kremlin thought it was joining.
LR: He’s completely off his rocker! Germany fought in and was defeated by a hot war. Russia was not. Therefore, the analogy of the Marshall Plan is totally bogus. All Russia needed to do was to walk away from dictatorship and embrace democracy and market capitalism. It never did this. To suggest that if we had been nicer to the Russians they wouldn’t have elected a proud KGB spy and launched a new cold war is childish to the point of insanity, and arrogant to the point of being embarrassing to every American and every Russian on the face of the Earth.
Early on, U.S. President Bill Clinton wondered aloud to his top Russia hand, Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbott, about how long they could continue to shove things down Moscow’s throat. U.S. President George W. Bush followed Clinton’s lead by declaring initially that Russia was no longer a major player in global affairs or a major focus of U.S. foreign policy. Shortly thereafter, Bush announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the expansion of NATO closer to Russia’s borders. Now Moscow’s bitter disappointment with the West has taken the form of harsh anti-Americanism. It has also translated into a burning desire among the Russian elite and public to finally show the West that it would regret its policies once Russia “got up from its knees.” That time has surely come.
LR: Some scientist! Not for one second does this maniac even consider the possibility that, far from being to harsh with Russia, the West (and Clinton especially) was far too lenient. Having not tasted actual defeat, why shouldn’t Russians have thought that they could dupe the West, bide their time, and then reassert a neo-Soviet dictatorship? NATO was not expanded to include Urkaine and Georgia as it should have been, and the result is a new wave of neo-Soviet imperialism in those regions. No effort was made to control the succession of Boris Yeltsin, and we were left facing a proud KGB spy as the ruler of Russia.
Some analysts warned that this would be the inevitable result of NATO expansion and other flawed U.S. and Western policies. Only a partnership with Russia and a firm policy of drawing it into the West would prevent Moscow’s turn to the East. This also would have prevented the revival of traditional Russian suspicion — if not outright antagonism — toward the West. Finally, a closer cooperation with Russia may have prevented Moscow’s disenchantment with democracy, which it has interpreted as being no more than an insidious and cynical Western ploy to weaken Russia.
LR: Partnership with Russia? Why, that sounds just like the partnership with Hitler that Chamberlain proposed. Apparently, this dolt hasn’t heard that the idea didn’t work out too well.
The cost of NATO expansion is that Russia has been lost in the medium term — and perhaps in the long term as well — as a powerful, committed democracy and Western ally. Moreover, the West has pushed Russia closer to China and Iran. If these are the costs of NATO expansion, what are the advantages? Few, if any. The alliance received from its new member states: a few thousand additional troops that are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, a three-jet Latvian air force and five Estonian nurses. Compare these benefits to Russia’s vast military and intelligence resources and experience — particularly in Afghanistan. Moreover, Moscow has helped to track down global jihadists, prevent the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction and reconstruct Afghanistan. As a true ally, Russia could contribute much more to the Western alliance than the small new NATO members.
LR: Committed democracy? Wow, he’s really in outer space now. This paragraph has all the earmarks of someone who’s been bribed by the Kremlin to spew their propaganda. Russia has never once held a truly contested election between rivals not associated with the Communist Party, and everyone with a pulse knows that nothing like democracy happened under Boris Yeltsin. “True ally?” Russia spurned the idea of membership in NATO from day one. Apparently, this lunatic thinks that suddenly, magically, as soon as the USSR collapsed, the people of Russia gave up their seething contempt for the West and were ready to become the West, and only failed to do so because we didn’t talk nicely enough to them. It’s exactly this kind of idiotic garbage that gives the American intellect a bad name.
All opinion polls now show that a plurality or majority of Russians regard the United States as the greatest threat to Russia and the world. Putin has repeatedly decried the U.S. impetus for a “unipolar” international structure — which is to say, global hegemony. The Russian elite’s consensus is even harsher. Alexander Solzhenitsyn recently said the United States seeks to encircle and weaken Russia. This statement is highly symbolic, coming from the esteemed writer who once took refuge in the United States as a political refugee from the Soviet state. It also underscores how cold U.S.-Russian relations have become.
LR: He’s citing Solzhenitsyn! Can you believe it? He’s saying that Solzhenitsyn says Russia can be trusted, so we should listen to him, because Solzhenitsyn has our best interests at heart! That’s his big gun! The Moscow Times editors must have been rolling on the floor convulsed in fits of laughter when he submitted this.
One hopes the next U.S. administration will not repeat Clinton and Bush’s mistakes of insulting and underestimating Moscow. Even in the best of circumstances, the next U.S. president and his or her Western allies will face the daunting task of piercing through the unfortunate and unforgiving perceptual lens through which resurgent Moscow views the West, especially Washington.
LR: Ironically, we could not agree more. The next U.S. president must directly confront Russia in a much more aggressive manner, demanding that it cease taking actions that directly undermine U.S. security or face full-scale cold war that will drive Russia into oblivion, the ashcan of history.