Jeremy Putley tips La Russophobe to the following item in the Financial Times that puts Vladimir Putin’s KGB regime squarely in the crosshairs. Two years ago, Putley defined the “Putin Doctrine” as follows:
The collapse of the USSR had been a catastrophe; only one thing could be worse, and that was a similar dismemberment of the Russian Federation, with constituent states seceding one after another. Putin and his advisers concluded that regardless of any other consideration the risk of such a break-up justified extreme measures to prevent it” and so it was driven by a “territorial imperative” in which “the ends justify the means – any means at all, including all-out war such as was launched in Chechnya by Vladimir Putin in 1999 as prime minister and then carried on by him as president. The faking of elections is a trivial crime by comparison with what preceded them, but they are in an unwavering continuum. There is nothing enigmatic or hard to understand about Putinism.” I think these observations stand the test of time.
And now we see that doctrine horribly realized before our gaping eyes! Here’s the FT response:
We need to get this straight. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded a neighbour, annexed territory and put in place a partial military occupation. It seeks to overthrow the president of Georgia and to overturn the global geopolitical order. It has repudiated its signature on a ceasefire negotiated by France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and disowned its frequent affirmations of Georgia’s territorial integrity. Most importantly: all of this is our fault.
The “our” in this context, of course, refers to the US and the more headstrong of its European allies such as Britain. If only Washington had been nicer to the Russians after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If only the west had not humiliated Moscow after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Surely we can see now what a provocation it was to allow the former vassal states of the Soviet empire to exercise their democratic choice to join the community of nations? And what of permitting them to shelter under Nato’s security umbrella and to seek prosperity for their peoples in the European Union? Nothing, surely, could have been more calculated to squander the post-cold-war peace.
Writing in the Brisbane Times Robert Horvath, of Australia’s La Trobe Univerisity, sounds the clarion call of warning on Russian imperialism:
PERHAPS the worst thing about the anti-American left is not its prejudices but its parochialism. Fixated upon the evils of US global hegemony, its publicists turn a blind eye to the imperialism of regimes opposed to that hegemony.
Reuters reports that both U.S. presidential candidates have condemned Russia’s action in Georgia in the strongest terms, after the White House declared: “If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations.”
U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain stepped up their criticism of Russia’s military activity in Georgia on Saturday, calling for Moscow to withdraw its forces and the international community to facilitate peace talks. McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona who has made foreign policy and national security the centerpiece of his campaign, said he spoke to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Saturday, their second conversation since the crisis erupted. Obama, on vacation in Hawaii, said he had also spoken to Saakashvili and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Russia and Georgia came into direct conflict after Tbilisi launched an offensive to regain control over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
McCain, an outspoken critic of Moscow, said it was clear the situation in Georgia was dire. “Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border,” he said in a statement. “I again call on the government of Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia.”
Obama called for direct talks among all sides and said the United States, the U.N. Security Council and other parties should try to help bring about a peaceful resolution. “I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire,” Obama said in a statement. “Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia.”‘