Back to the future

The Washington Times generally doesn't join the blame America first crowd, nor pile on European countries when it's undeserved, but today's editorial is one the rare exceptions.  In 'Is the West losing Russia?', The Times does a superb job summarizing Russia's slide back into a totalitarian dictatorship, and intimates that we in the West have somehow allowed this to happen.  The editorial notes:

...Russia is sliding into the abyss economically, politically and geopolitically.  Soviet—era revanchism is on the rise, economic liberty is in peril, restrictions on civil society are tightening, and arms sales and ill—advised gestures to rogue states and brutalizers are ongoing.

The Times shouldn't be asking if the West is losing Russia; it should ask if the Soviet Union ever really went away.  It's not as if the US and the West didn't naively particpate in a series of payoffs and well—intentioned 'economic development' programs.  For example, the International Space Station was a black hole for billions of US taxpayer dollars that fed corrupt Soviet institutions and leaders for little scientific gain. 

We even spent big bucks and provided expertise to clean up selected Soviet nuclear installations and to de—activate the weaponery.  Yet, scores of weapons remain unaccounted for as does a quantity of special nuclear material.  Meanwhile, some observers are surprised that Putin established a nuclear pact with Iran, when Russia has been a major supplier to Iran's military to replace stocks lost in the 80—88 Iran—Iraq War.

Andrei Illarionov, Putin's top economic adviser, finally admits that Russia has rapidly moved away from a mainstream economic policy to a 'new statist Russia that stifles liberties at home and favors authoritarians abroad.'  Witness the Cold War tactic of a natural gas embargo to squeeze newly democratic Ukraine and the suspicous arrangements with current and former European leaders.

The West isn't losing Russia because we never had it to begin with.  The fact is that Putin the nationalist has continued waging the Cold War by other means.

Doug Hanson  01—03—06

The Washington Times generally doesn't join the blame America first crowd, nor pile on European countries when it's undeserved, but today's editorial is one the rare exceptions.  In 'Is the West losing Russia?', The Times does a superb job summarizing Russia's slide back into a totalitarian dictatorship, and intimates that we in the West have somehow allowed this to happen.  The editorial notes:

...Russia is sliding into the abyss economically, politically and geopolitically.  Soviet—era revanchism is on the rise, economic liberty is in peril, restrictions on civil society are tightening, and arms sales and ill—advised gestures to rogue states and brutalizers are ongoing.

The Times shouldn't be asking if the West is losing Russia; it should ask if the Soviet Union ever really went away.  It's not as if the US and the West didn't naively particpate in a series of payoffs and well—intentioned 'economic development' programs.  For example, the International Space Station was a black hole for billions of US taxpayer dollars that fed corrupt Soviet institutions and leaders for little scientific gain. 

We even spent big bucks and provided expertise to clean up selected Soviet nuclear installations and to de—activate the weaponery.  Yet, scores of weapons remain unaccounted for as does a quantity of special nuclear material.  Meanwhile, some observers are surprised that Putin established a nuclear pact with Iran, when Russia has been a major supplier to Iran's military to replace stocks lost in the 80—88 Iran—Iraq War.

Andrei Illarionov, Putin's top economic adviser, finally admits that Russia has rapidly moved away from a mainstream economic policy to a 'new statist Russia that stifles liberties at home and favors authoritarians abroad.'  Witness the Cold War tactic of a natural gas embargo to squeeze newly democratic Ukraine and the suspicous arrangements with current and former European leaders.

The West isn't losing Russia because we never had it to begin with.  The fact is that Putin the nationalist has continued waging the Cold War by other means.

Doug Hanson  01—03—06