teisipäev, veebruar 13, 2007

Conservatives Argue Over Putin's Speech

One of the reasons that conservatives in America are failing at the ballot box is because their post-Goldwater coalition of cultural conservatives, paleoconservatives, libertarians, and neocons is coming apart. Emblematic of this split is the different ways in which two traditional conservative voices interpreted Putin's speech. Interesting to us is that Estonia was used in both articles today to underscore each author's point.

First, you have Patrick Buchanan, who you could call an "old school" or paleoconservative, and who usually has isolationist principles, linking him to Republicans of the 1930s, and interprets foreign policy from that viewpoint:

[Defense Secretary Robert]Gates says we have been through one Cold War and do not want another. But it is not Moscow moving a military alliance right up to our borders or building bases and planting anti-missile systems in our front and back yards.

Why are we doing this? This country is not going to go to war with Russia over Estonia. With our Army "breaking" from two insurgencies, how would we fight? By bombing Moscow and St. Petersburg?

I think Pat is misleading us here and he's spent too much time on television. NATO's commitment to Estonia is a cakewalk. Estonia won it's war of independence by virtue of two things, 1) keeping enemy warships out of Tallinn harbor; 2) keeping enemy troops out of Estonia which is a flat country about the size of Maine. It's really not that hard to defend Estonia, just like it wasn't that hard to admit a country of 1.3 million to the European Union. It all comes down to will, not strength. Any qualms about Estonian integration into Europe are grounded in a fear of intimidating Russian body language and temperamental shoe banging -- nothing else.

Well, that was Buchanan, here's Tod Lindberg of the Washington Times playing sweet post-Cold War triumphalist music, appropriate for a conservative newspaper founded in 1982. Again Estonia comes up:

The 43-year-old Wehrkunde conference had its origins at the height of the Cold War, when the main security challenge faced by those who came was Russia in its incarnation as the Soviet Union. Czech and Polish foreign ministers used to have to go to drab Warsaw Pact meetings in Minsk, or wherever, rather than the Wehrkunde conference in Munich. Estonia didn't have a president speaking thoughtfully from the dais, or a president at all, Estonia and its Baltic sisters having been occupied and turned against their will into constituent parts of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We've come a long way since then, all to the good.

Obviously I agree more with the latter article. But Pat does have his points. I personally think it was the plans to create the anti-ballistic missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland that set Putin off. Absent of course from this debate is the Democrats. I have a feeling that most of the leading contenders for the presidential nomination - Obama, Clinton, Richardson, Edwards - will adopt positions closer to Lindberg's than Buchanan's.

We've only had two Democratic presidencies in the past 30 years, so it's kind of hard to gauge Democratic foreign policy. The only gentlemen that seem to be willing to stick their necks out and talk are guys like Wes Clark and Joe Biden, and they aren't very sympathetic to Mr. Putin. Still, I would have liked to see some comments from them as well.

19 kommentaari:

Andres ütles ...

I would rather see John McCain as the next U.S. President than Hillary. They both probably have joyful memories of Estonia, but the latter seems to be too soft on Russia.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Failed Crusade, by Stephen Cohen at NYU, about US policies in Russia during the nineties does a nice assessment of Clinton's policies. I think so anyway.

Interestingly, I just read in the Associated Press Yahoo blurby that two thirds of Germans take Putin's view. Personally I feel that international politics is just one big game of passing the buck.The Russians don't want to admit to atrocities in their past. The Germans are happy to side with the Russians ( strains of Molotov Ribbentrop?) rather than have their past brought up again. The Poles rename Auschwitz a German occupation camp rather than have Poland take any responsibility for atrocities that were committed on its soil. And to a large part Estonian politicians are bringing up the past because it is easier than solving the real domestic challenges the country faces. Round and round it goes, so entertaining, and for some, so lucrative. No one wants to deal with the fact that human nature has a horrible, sadistic streak.

The sad thing is it is often the little people who are left in the lurch.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Russia sells nuclear technology to Iran, then wonders why Europe wants to install an anti-missile system....

identiteedivargus ütles ...

I personally think it was the plans to create the anti-ballistic missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland that set Putin off.

Why should a defence system bother them?

oliver ütles ...

Why should a defence system bother them?

Bother them? No it doesn't bother them. Instead, they already have a response - "asymmetrical, but highly effective".

As I said in my Federal Address last year, we still spend 25 less on defence than the United States. But we certainly do need to reflect, of course, on how to ensure our external security. Our responses will be asymmetrical, but they will be highly effective.
We already have systems that can penetrate missile defence systems. As you know, our new Topol-M missiles are equipped with just such systems. But this is not all. We will have new generation systems of a completely new type that will have absolutely no trouble penetrating missile defence systems, because missile defence systems are designed to protect against ballistic missiles, while what I am talking about are strategic weapons systems of a completely different type that will fly at hyper-sonic speed and will be able to change trajectory both in terms of altitude and direction, and missile defence systems will be powerless against them.

Vladimir Putin - President of Russia, February 1, 2007

And in other news: Moscow an ”increasing threat” says Swedish Army

Giustino ütles ...

Why should a defence system bother them?

It's not about how rational the argument for it is, or whether it really threatens Russia, it's just the action I think that made him pissy. Putin seems like a joyless person. When I look into his eyes, I see nothing.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I'll vote for Hillary. If nothing else, it is time for America to finally become a modern and progressive country with a female president.

Does anyone want what I smoke? :-)

Martasmimi ütles ...

Does anyone want what I smoke? :-)

I hope she is Electable...??

We have many very "white"
Southern...Western Men who would never vote for Hillary.
...and some senior men and women in the North East as well...
Both candidates might very well be
from New York.
"..a subway series" (New York Sports Term)


Anonüümne ütles ...

Does anyone want what I smoke? :-)

Yes! Hillary can smoke my cigar anytime!

kerho ukkonen ütles ...

Nobody here seems to see the huge problem hatcher, the Bush Administration, for all it's worth.

The swagger boy, Bush, with his reckless oratory and hawkish approach to everything as the panacea to straighten out the wrinkles in the U.S. foreign policies, is single handedly the biggest danger to world peace. In their miscalulation and arrogance, the White House practically benched all their diplomats for the military options. This has created a super agressive need to increase the U.S. influence not only in the old Soviet satellites but also in some ex Soviet states. This is like ramming one's fist into a hornets nest and certainly not necessary.

In my humble opinion, we, the West, and The U.S. in particular, should have gone the other way and try to include the new Russia. This didn't happen and one consequence is that a lot of countries have jumped back on the arms race wagon. That includes wide variety of countries such as Russia and Sweden. If not a cold war yet, but the good old arms race is on. This is not the way I envisioned the post Cold War period and the great opportunities have bee squandered away to the detriment of us all. Pitty!

Giustino ütles ...

This has created a super agressive need to increase the U.S. influence not only in the old Soviet satellites but also in some ex Soviet states. This is like ramming one's fist into a hornets nest and certainly not necessary.

I think it's too convenient to blame all NATO expansion policies on the US. The current "former communist" membership joined with considerable support from European allies too.

And, in all honesty, the east Europeans are better allies for the US and Western Europe than the Russians. I know that Europe is in "power remission" with all of it colonial empires dismantled, but come on - the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden - these are some big, wealthy, and powerful countries.

Why should all the liberal democracies in the world sacrifice relationships with other liberal democracies, like Estonia, like Poland, like Hungary, just to make Russia feel better about itself and that it still has some right to crush democracies in neighboring countries if it feels like it?

What do we get out of that?

plasma-jack ütles ...

Too much US influence which Ukkonen was initially talking about, wouldn't please me at all. I mean, you guys are okay in general, but the current chief ain't exactly the brightest one. McCain and Hillary would both be good options, compared to Dubya.

kerho ukkonen ütles ...

We all are products of our collective past. Over the centuries we have learned to associate the evil by the way of our parents, from the mother's milk if you will. We were handed a promising and fresh opportunity to try something new with the collapse of the Soviet Empire but instead of that, we find ourselves doing the same old and unworkable "divide et impera" thing. Our future and hope lies in the unity of the nations. Too bad that the leaders, some of them sociopathic megalomaniacs, will never go for it. It is also too bad that they are able to blind us, the regular Kerhos, to believe something that eventually always leads to war. Guess, whom are the ones paying the bill? I give an hint, not the sociopathic megalomaniac leaders.

Martasmimi ütles ...

{McCain and Hillary would both be good options, compared to Dubya.}

I use to like McCain but he has changed many of his more liberal positions to support a segment of his party. He is very unlikely to receive any of the cross/over vote.
Guilaini leads him by 16%

plasma-jack ütles ...

Hmm, isn't Giuliani kind of liberal himself, when compared to neocons?

Estonia visitor ütles ...

Quotes from today's Guardian newspaper:

"In each of the criticisms he [Putin]levelled at the US, more or less the same could be said about the government he leads...

"And when it comes to ripping up treaties and ignoring international law, Putin has little to learn from Bush..."

And my favourite:

"Putin's only real objection to a unipolar world order is that Russia is not the unipole."

Says it all really.

Giustino ütles ...

Hmm, isn't Giuliani kind of liberal himself, when compared to neocons?

Giuliani can be anything to anybody because he has said very little about American domestic and foreign policy.

Anyway, I am not sure he has what it takes to be president. We haven't elected a northerneasterner president since 1960, and that was a very close, and sometimes disputed, election.

Giuliani leads in the polls because he is seen as an outsider and he has a lot of name recognition. I don't take him so seriously right now.

plasma-jack ütles ...

In any case, you've got an Italian, a black person, a woman and a mormone running, who all have some chances to become a President. That looks very nice. No Texans this time, I dare hope.

Martasmimi ütles ...

It might be nice to see what an Italian from New York would do as President.....
Rudy is a no BS kind of guy and
when he fessed up to his affair with Judith Nathan he had to move out of the Mayors Mansion. He moved in with two Gay guys (his friends) for the duration of his time as Mayor of New York