Two Cheers for the Autocrat and His Lebensraum!


One of the worst intellectual side-effects of war in far-flung lands is when people insist on seeing it through the parochial and distorting lens of domestic American politics. From that faulty starting point, it's a race to the Booby Prize for dumbest piece of commentary. Some recent candidates inspired by the Georgia-Russia war:

John Derbyshire, National Review:

We are governed by fools. At least Putin knows what he wants, and how to get it. If only freedom had such leaders!

James Pethokoukis, U.S. News & World Report:

Two cheers for Russia's invasion of Georgia. […] There's a big long-term positive in all this. We also now have greater clarity on the need to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic:

Since Cheney has exactly the same view about the use of American military power as Putin does about Russian power, I'm not sure what grounds he has to complain. Maybe we should start complaining when as many Georgians have perished as Iraqis ? and when Putin throws thousands of innocent Georgians into torture chambers.

Ian Welsh, firedoglake:

NATO, the US and Europe broke their word. They expanded NATO further and further, into what Russia considers its buffer states, states which cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of potential enemies. Russian geopolitics has been obsessed with controlling those states for centuries (along with getting a warm water port). This is not a short term, minor issue. It is at the heart of what Russia believes it needs to be defensible-lots and lots of space. […]

US and Western policy towards Russia in the 90's was based around a shock therapy transition to a free market. The result of that was an actual decline in the Russian population. US neo-liberal economics applied to Russia killed millions of people. No exaggeration.