Thursday, August 14, 2008

From WaPo - Georgia

The brutality of the Russian response is a function not just of their own regained self-confidence thanks to oil and gas money, or of their propensity for dominance, but also of misguided Western -- particularly American -- policies. If the United States cannot control a two-bit client such as Saakashvili (who turned out to be no better than the person he replaced, Eduard Shevardnadze) and keep him from taking this utterly destructive step, then what good is American policy? Would any self-respecting power tolerate the kind of 'in your face' attitude the Russians were expected to digest? When the United States supported Kosovo's independence and recognized the government in Prishtina, did it not think what would follow next or listen to what Putin had to say?

I support the independence of Kosovo. I find the Russian assault against Georgia illegal and disproportionate and I think the Kremlin's regime is brutal. But then again, would anyone take seriously Paris, whose complicity in the Rwandan genocide was recently reiterated, or Washington, which invaded a country (illegally and illegitimately by the judgment of most of the world) and made torture legal, when they accuse Russia of anything? So for every country that wants to contain Russia you may find one or two that see it as a counterweight to the United States and a good response to Western conceit. What I am getting at is the question of legitimacy. The West has lost the upper hand on this because of double standards and increasingly misplaced arrogance, not to mention the lack of a coherent strategy supported wholeheartedly on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read it all here.

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