Reason Writers Around Town: Cathy Young on Russia

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At The Weekly Standard, Contributing Editor Cathy Young explains why the West should not be blamed for Russia's slide into belligerent authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin.

Read all about it here.

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  1. Russia doesn’t worry me much. Another ten years of strong economic growth, and they’ll be back on a liberalizing trend.

    South Ossetia doesn’t mean much. Mostly what they’re accomplishing is to push the Ukraine and Poland into the arms of the West.

  2. I just gotta know, where are all these ridiculous action shots of Putin coming from?

  3. Reason definitely doesn’t pay enough if its writers have to go slumming in The Weekly Standard.

  4. I love the Makarov. How exquisitely KGB.

  5. “I just gotta know, where are all these ridiculous action shots of Putin coming from?”

    Vlad’s propaganda machine, of course. You know he really want’s to be 007 and not the new Czar.

  6. I have a feeling that many Americans, under the same circumstances, would feel quite humiliated. I’m not sure exactly what it all says. My guess is that it simply reaffirms the notion that many in the West, Americans in particular, are quite willing to rattle sabres for any reason, or none at all, at any perception of being slighted.

  7. I think the West needs to keep in mind that Russia is not some schlepp country that can be pushed around easily. Dictator Bush better get off his high horse!

    RD
    http://www.useurl.us/17n

  8. Putin. Vlad Putin.

  9. Me thinks that Ms. Young is not telling the whole story. THe comparison that she makes between how the West treated militarily defeated Nazi Germany and how it treated the USSR’s dissolution is inapposite. Nazi Germany had been defeated on the battelfield after having inflicted hundreds of thousands of casualties on Anglo-American forces, whereas the Soviets had not been defeated militarily and had not just inflicted casualties on americans. Quite simply, the US was not in a postion to force kangaroo show trials like Nuremburg. Furthermore, the russians themselves tore down monuments dedicated to the likes of Dzerzhinsky.

  10. I don’t believe that is a Mak, Episarch, unless it’s some barrel-extended version that I wasn’t aware of. Compare the picture with the one at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makarov_PM.

    God, I wish I was home now so I could consult my 20th century small arms bible. I must know what that gun is.

  11. It might be a CZ 75 if it’s not a Makarov.

  12. A CZ was my thought as well. You might be a gun nerd if…

  13. I have seen both Sakharov and Bonner speaking when the “perestroyka” started. With all due respect for Sakharov’s moral courage, he was absolutely clueless about politics, or anything that was not connected to theoretical physics. And Bonner even less so.

    Of course we all know that West is never to blame for anything, and Russians are always evil because they are evil imperial Russians, but honestly I expected better from Mrs. Young…

  14. I think it is a Stechkin APS. Pretty sure.

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg22-e.htm

  15. I can’t believe I’m more worried about a foreign power than TallDave.

  16. You can’t say anything bad about a country that could provide me with a “Stunning Russian Girl” today!!

  17. I’m not one to agree with Ms. Young on most things. But I think some of you are missing the point of the article.

    As she pointed out, Russia wasn’t “humiliated” in the way Germany was and yet Germany got over it. So what’s Russia’s problem?

    They are acting like a bunch of whiny kids. Unfortunately they also have nukes. Which means everyone has to act like they’re adults.

  18. Blaming current Russian agression and past German agression on humiliation does not make sense. After WWI, Germany was down, but the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was dismantled. If humiliation alone fueled agression, than Czechoslovakia would have invaded Germany.

  19. Pain — the point, such as it may be, is that Russia was humiliated, unlike Germany, without being defeated. Quite often it was being humiliated for things done by a different country that doesn’t even exist anymore. And now it feels that it can get over it and wouldn’t be pushed around like before… So the question is, really, what’s West’s problem with it?

  20. Humiliated without being defeated is exactly right. Nazi Germany was gone before we got around to the Nuremburg trials, because the whole point of Nazism was that Hitler had a way to make Germany strong and dominant; being crushed by democracies ended the rationale for Nazism all by itself. The collapse of the Soviet Union happened without the Soviet Union being decisively beaten, making it more like Germany’s defeat in WW1

  21. So the question is, really, what’s West’s problem with it?

    Invading a democracy tends to piss off the other democracies.

    South Ossetia’s situation is probably closer to Texas’ than Czechoslovakia’s. I don’t think we have to worry much unless they try to topple the gov’t in Tbilisi.

  22. Mad Ivan | August 26, 2008, 2:25pm | #

    I have seen both Sakharov and Bonner speaking when the “perestroyka” started. With all due respect for Sakharov’s moral courage, he was absolutely clueless about politics, or anything that was not connected to theoretical physics. And Bonner even less so.

    Of course we all know that West is never to blame for anything, and Russians are always evil because they are evil imperial Russians, but honestly I expected better from Mrs. Young…

    I was wondering when the KGB disinformation branch would put in an appearance.

    Russia has always been whiny – even back to Czarist days. They can’t seem to grasp that the wounds are self-inflicted. As individuals, the Russians are no different than any other people; Russian governments, however, cannot seem to break the habit of authoritarianism.

    The current resource boom will run its course, then Russia will be broke again. Anybody who invests in Russia is a fool, the kleptocrats in charge will steal anything the investor puts in.

  23. TallDave — This might be true, assuming that a) Georgia were much more of a democracy than Russia is (not quite) and if Russia actually invaded it. That doesn’t seem to have happened either.

    Aresen — Hmmm, I think I should go look where my KGB paycheck is. Since you obviously know more about Russia than any Russian, may be you can tell me where it is?

  24. 700 years ago, what we now call Russia was a small state, roughly encompassing Moscow and its surrounding area (which was about the size of Pennsylvania). Since then they have expanded like some science fiction monster, sucking in more than 100 ethnic groups and occupying half of the Eurasian continent. Aside from the Mongols, no entity has ever created such a massive empire of conquered peoples; however, their dominion (unlike that of the Mongols) continues to this day. Vladimir Putin is simply trying to pick up the torch.
    The history of Russia is a long history of external agression and internal repression. In particular, they having been launching wars against the nations of eastern Europe for more than five hundred years, and they now consider it a “provocation” that those same nations are simply trying to protect themselves from future invasions.
    Those who weep for the Russians have the same attitude that the appeasers of the 1930’s had: It is only natural that strong countries should oppress weak countries, and the weak countries should accept their suppression rather than trouble the world with their problems. Their beleifs are akin to the twisted logic of Social Darwinism that treated the “lower” races of the earth as deserving of conquest because of their technological backwardness. Or, perhaps, it is simply the worship of power. Whatever it is, it sucks.

  25. john brown — and let’s say Poland had never attacked Russia. Right.

    And if you want historical excurses, care to check how many conquered, occupied, repressed minorities are left in Russia, and how many Indians in the US? Not that it meant much, of course…

    I wonder how soon will people start jumping from windows screaming “Russians are coming!”…

  26. I have a Mak, it’s not a Makarov.

    I also go with the selective fire Stechkin . .
    Shoots the same funny 9x 18 ammo as the Mak, though.

  27. I’m gonna third my own motion. Its a stechkin, and come to think of it, I want one.

    http://guns.wikia.com/wiki/Stechkin_APS

  28. The current resource boom will run its course, then Russia will be broke again

    Actually, for all of the problems Russia has, the non-energy economy is booming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_russia#Economic_history.2C_1996-present

    Putin is probably more of a Pinochet than a Stalin.

  29. TallDave — This might be true, assuming that a) Georgia were much more of a democracy than Russia is (not quite)

    Their relative democratic qualities aren’t important; we can’t invade Canada just because we’re both democracies.

  30. I’m gonna third my own motion. Its a stechkin, and come to think of it, I want one.

    I’ll fourth both of those statements.

  31. WTF? Russia was humiliated? Did they have to kiss the rings of the crowned heads of Europe? Were they required to publicly declare their own culpability in the deaths of tens of millions?

    The important thing to recognize is that Russia is full of damned Russians. They will ALWAYS have a chip on their shoulder.

  32. guns.wikia.com?? Goodbye, productivity.

  33. I don’t think we have to worry much unless they try to topple the gov’t in Tbilisi.

    The continued Russian quasi-occupation has that exact goal in mind – discredit the current government, disrupt the country, and ensure that whatever comes next is under its thumb.

    This might be true, assuming that a) Georgia were much more of a democracy than Russia is (not quite) and if Russia actually invaded it. That doesn’t seem to have happened either.

    Wow. Is Mad Ivan juanita trying out a new nom de troll? I don’t think anyone is claiming that Russia didn’t invade Georgia; they’re just arguing about whether it was justified.

    Probably not. Its looking like the whole thing was a set up by the Russians and their Ossetian cats-paws.

  34. TallDave — then I am not getting what you are getting. US can’t invade Canada _because_ both are democracies? I think there are somewhat different reasons there…

    J sub — if you are being serious, then yes, from inside Russia that’s pretty much how it looked…


  35. They are acting like a bunch of whiny kids. Unfortunately they also have nukes. Which means everyone has to act like they’re adults.

    Lies. What IS going on is that the US and NATO have been provoking the sleeping giant with really stupid alliances with her bordering neighbors, placing missiles in Poland under an absurd pretext, giving comfort to an authoritarian prick that decided to invade a separatist province first. The Russians may have a pragmatic son of a bitch as a prime minister, but that does not excuse the really dumb policies the US and NATO are following, especially that missile deal with Poland.

  36. Mad Ivan,

    I think you , and others, are conflating motive with justification.

    Maybe Russia is humiliated. That does not give them the right to invade another (albeit corrupt) democracy to make them feel better.

    That would be like if some big guy shoved you and you fell in a puddle and everyone laughed at you. Then you went home and went over to your neighbors house and wrecked up the place to make yourself feel better. One may explain the other but it doesn’t justify it.

    Regardless of how Russia felt they were treated after the Cold War does not give them an out to bully their neighbors whenever they feel mopey.

  37. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiNfiDkVDTA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k50k8C8TFJc

    Never thought I’d need to wear a condom while sitting at my desk at work….

  38. bigbigslacker, Warty

    Sweeet . .. I want one with the shoulder stock/holster. –Looks like the browning Hi-power with it’s wooden holster/stock.

  39. bigbigslacker

    . . . and you have to love the 70’s porn music/ slo mo video on the second youtube clip.

    Too funny.

  40. I mostly agree with TallDave on this.

    I doubt Russia wants to have some kind of second cold war. They have no ideological reason (not even an ostensible ideological reason) to oppose the type of system in place in the US and the west. They are not in a position to form an anti-western bloc with anything near the strength of the old communist bloc. And they can almost certainly obtain more wealth/prestige/etc by cooperating with the west and the international community.

    The Ossetia conflict does not provide a rationale for further general warfare. The status of Ossetia has been in dispute since before Georgia even became independent. Even if Georgia loses its breakaway provinces, it would not give Russia the ability to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty over undisputed Georgian territory. And it’s a big step from this type of thing to Russia unilaterally annexing former Soviet republics – or anything remotely similar

  41. Is the U.S. really going to go to war over small countries in Central Asia that are on Russia’s border?

    Or are we going to recognize that, like the U.S. and China, Russia has a sphere of influence that they take seriously?

    I realize that the neocons are still looking for the perfect enemy to justify their permanent state of war (the Chinese hold too many debts, and the Arabs aren’t fun any more), but I don’t see why normal Americans should play along.

  42. RC — same old… when notjhing else works, drag out the personalities (and I am _not_ Juanita in any case).

    Pain — Russia’s motives are like those of any other power here — protecting their neigbourhoods from hostiles. From an “everybody’s doing it” standpoint Russia has at leats as many justifications here as US, if not more. In this particular case, Georgia gave them justifications for much more than what Russia did.

  43. Mad Ivan-

    I am with you.

  44. Lies. What IS going on is that the US and NATO have been provoking the sleeping giant with really stupid alliances with her bordering neighbors,

    I don’t see what reason Russia has to categorically object to that. NATO is not engaging, and does not intend to engage, in aggressive acts against Russia.

    placing missiles in Poland under an absurd pretext,

    What is so absurd about setting up a missile defense system to prevent Iran from having the ability to launch a nuclear strike against any European cities, in the event that they get nuclear weapons? The defense system would only take out a small percentage of Russia’s nukes if they launched an all out first strike – but there is virtually no chance of that happening anyway because of deterrence. (However, if the religious leadership of Iran is sufficiently crazy and inclined towards martyrdom, they might be plausible candidates to launch a half a dozen nukes or so.)

    giving comfort to an authoritarian prick that decided to invade a separatist province first.

    I’ll grant that Saakshivili is probably an authoritarian prick who escalated the situation in Ossetia. But US support is not so much for *him* as it is for the cause of human rights and the rule of law in Georgia. In those respects, the country has shown some progress. And the rule of law will be helped if there is a peaceful transfer of power from him to the next person, rather than some kind of coup.

  45. BG — from Russian point of view, NATO had already shown that it is a) an aggressive organization (viz. Kosovo) and that it is aimed against Russia (viz. admittance of Baltic states etc.).

    Placing interceptors in Poland for a (very) theoretical launch from Iran isn’t exactly optimal, and Iran has far less beef with Europe than it has with the US in any case. It _is_ a nice location for intercepting Russian missiles though, and where there are 10 interceptors, there can be a hundred… To be honest I do not think mullahs are anywhere near that suicidal…

    While US support _might_ be for rule of law etc. in Georgia (although based on precedent I have my doubts that being friendly to the US is not an overriding reason), but Saakishvili is an authoritarian nationalistic prick (and not too bright, at that), and all of his speeches since this whole mess started shows that at leadst he was counting on US backing. So there must have been at least some signs that he (mis)interpreted as such…

  46. “Russia doesn’t worry me much. Another ten years of strong economic growth, and they’ll be back on a liberalizing trend.”

    Indeed, just like what has happened in China. As we all know, China is a full-fledged liberal democracy now.

  47. “TallDave — This might be true, assuming that a) Georgia were much more of a democracy than Russia is (not quite) and if Russia actually invaded it. That doesn’t seem to have happened either.”

    Russia didn’t invade Georgia? I guess all those tanks and troops that were filmed on Georgian soil were actually filmed in a TV studio, just like the moon landing.

  48. “I realize that the neocons are still looking for the perfect enemy to justify their permanent state of war…”

    Do people on this site just make up shit as they go along about the neocons? It sure as hell seems that way.

  49. Mad Ivan

    BG — from Russian point of view, NATO had already shown that it is a) an aggressive organization (viz. Kosovo) and that it is aimed against Russia (viz. admittance of Baltic states etc.).

    I think its a stretch to argue that Kosovo makes NATO “an aggressive organization – given the humanitarian issues involved and the limited natire of their operation. And why does admission of the Baltic States make the alliance “aimed against Russia”. Do they fear that they will be victims of Latvian Imperialism or something?

  50. One thing that rarely comes up in these discussions is the fact that Russia has genuine fear of being invaded. It’s happened a bunch of times over the course of history. There’s sort of a default assumption that the Russians just instinctively know that the US/NATO won’t start a preemptive war to grab Russian resources and subjugate the Russian people. That assumption is wrong.

    Look at what the US is doing w.r.t. missile defense. Pretty much the kind of thing you’d do in order to neutralize a Russian second strike after a surprise attack, isn’t it? We’re playing directly into their paranoia.

  51. Hey, wow. This is much more fun than the BBC “HYS” page. Less Moonbats and more guns. Thanks for the links bigbigslacker, there goes my afternoon.

  52. “They have no ideological reason (not even an ostensible ideological reason) to oppose the type of system in place in the US and the west.”

    Most of Putin’s power structure is comprised of former KGB members and their ideological descendants. They believe that the USSR would never have fallen if only Andropov had lived long enough to fully implement the KGB’s vision of reform.

    There were many versions of Soviet “reform” during the 1980’s and Gorbachev’s path of increased openness was literally the absolute last thing to be attempted. I think Young hit on something worth considering with regards to Germany and its varying humiliations– there is a very interesting parallel to be drawn between post-WWI Germany and post-Cold War Russia. Both countries emerged from authoritarian rule and conflict into periods of weak liberalism and economic instability. Both countries had segments of their population who believed ardently that they hadn’t really lost so much as they had been betrayed.

    Putin’s ideology is one of state control and Russian power. Everything since Gorbachev is viewed through the prism of national disaster. He continues to exert direct control on the central government, I don’t think anyone has any doubts remaining regarding that. Equally importantly, his former KGB brethren control a staggering breadth of the Russian landscape- the FSB, the military, the media, critical elements of the economy (the uncooperative oligarchs were crushed, but the economic structures themselves were not dismantled, merely “restaffed” so to speak), the police, regional governments, etc.

    Putin is no fool and it is by no accident that he is carefully maneuvering his country back to the path he feels it strayed from some 24 years ago.

    Nevertheless every unfortunate thing Russia does must be America’s fault, because we failed to fully consider Russia’s feelings. Pardon me if I’m disinclined to send any dirt and water to Putin’s pity party.

  53. A comment on this from an (already safe) Central Europe.

    Somehow, the Russian people seem not to understand that their past or present military actions were not appreciated by the nations on the receiving end.

    For example, I have heard on more than one occassion (and it always involved some vodka, so I believe in sincerety of that comment) reasoning like this: “You Czechs are ungrateful bastard bitches. Not only we saved you from the Nazis (true), but we also HELPED you in 1968 to smash the bandits*, and all you do now is to flee to the American side.”

    The fact that the 1968’s “bandits” was a reformist commit leadership that introduced pluralism, and that the whole nation viewed the invasion as rape of the country, does not come to their minds.

    I heard the same kind of “ungratefulness” hostility on the address of the Baltic nations: “we Russians saved them from fascism, we built houses for the poor, and they hate us, ungrateful bitches. They need some good smacking for that.” The Stalin’s genocide which reduced the native populations by 20-25% in just 10 years, is, of course, never mentioned, or pronounced ‘a dirty lie’.

    Maybe this is a product of extremely biased media and books in Russia. Guilt for past sins, so frequent in the West, is taboo in Russia. Denial rules. In Russian imagination, Russia has no sins on its hands. It was always betrayed, attacked, spat on. Somehow, during this process, they acquired several million square kilometers of territory and vasal states, somehow…

    Contrast to the Germans is striking. The Germans do not have any illusions about their former violent rule of the eastern lands, and no one there would call the Poles or the Czechs ‘ungrateful’ for fighting against the Reich.

  54. BTW some people even here buy Russian line hook-and-sinker. My coworker, a theoretical physicist, a very intelligent person, is so biased that he takes the Russian side almost reflexively in any situation.

    The reason probably is that he is strongly impressed by violent capable thugs who do not follow conventions – from Al Capone thru Fidel to Putin – no matter how many dead people lay in their track – so no wonder that he sounds like the British Stalinist intelligentsia of 1935.

    I think that the impression which someone as brazen and as cold as Putin makes on some people should not be discounted. The everlasting worship of the ‘fuehrer’.

  55. Most of Putin’s power structure is comprised of former KGB members and their ideological descendants. They believe that the USSR would never have fallen if only Andropov had lived long enough to fully implement the KGB’s vision of reform.

    There were many versions of Soviet “reform” during the 1980’s and Gorbachev’s path of increased openness was literally the absolute last thing to be attempted. I think Young hit on something worth considering with regards to Germany and its varying humiliations– there is a very interesting parallel to be drawn between post-WWI Germany and post-Cold War Russia. Both countries emerged from authoritarian rule and conflict into periods of weak liberalism and economic instability. Both countries had segments of their population who believed ardently that they hadn’t really lost so much as they had been betrayed.

    Weren’t most Russian also celebrating when the USSR collapsed? The country even considered a bid for NATO entry at one point.

    And during the cold war, the government of the Soviet Union – and its allied states’ governments – had been fighting to advance a totalitarian ideology. The majority of Russians (as I understand) liked having their newly-obtained freedom after this ideology “lost”. World War I, by contrast, was more like an accidental conflict where countries were drawn in because alliances – which also took on the characteristic of being a war influence and control over colonies.

    And there was no “Treaty of Versailles” imposed on Russia by victorious outside powers. The breakup of the communist bloc occurred mostly due to forces from within.

    Overzealous nationalism and maintaining ties with pro-Russian enclaves nearby is one thing. Restarting the Cold War is something else

  56. And it’s a big step from this type of thing to Russia unilaterally annexing former Soviet republics – or anything remotely similar

    The same thing will happen in the Ukraine where most people oppose further NATO involvement despite the interest of the government in same. Russia will “defend its passport holders” there – Ukraine will be partitioned with half going to Russia.

    Marian’s comments are very perceptive.

  57. BG,

    I think its a stretch to argue that Kosovo makes NATO “an aggressive organization – given the humanitarian issues involved and the limited natire of their operation.

    Maybe, but the unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence was certainly a bad move. Bush should have worked out some double-speak to keep their legal status unclear while they enjoyed de-facto self rule, like Taiwan. That was just a gratuitous poke in the eye.

  58. Maybe, but the unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence was certainly a bad move. Bush should have worked out some double-speak to keep their legal status unclear while they enjoyed de-facto self rule, like Taiwan. That was just a gratuitous poke in the eye.

    You have a point, although I don’t know if I’d call the Kosovo recognition “unilateral” since other countries recognized it besides the US.

    On an earlier thread I floated the idea of partitioning Kosovo – with the Northern, mostly Serb part being allowed to remain part of Serbia. Perhaps that could be accomplished by some kind of district-by-district set of referendums. That would allow the borders to be drawn in a way that is (relatively) reflective of what people in those areas want.

    Georgia may have to give up South Ossetia, or at least part of it. Same with the other breakaway province (which I won’t try to spell right now). Maybe some kind of district-voting system should be proposed there.

  59. B — So… they came in, dcefeated the invaders, and got out, with some security buffers. Not quite an invasion, with troops marching on Tbilisi and dragging Saakishvili from a spider hole…

    BG — Humanitarian. Right. And Russia hit Georgia for humanitarian reasons, too. NATO did attack Serbia, which was not threatening any alliance member. Looks pretty aggressive to me…

  60. The same thing will happen in the Ukraine where most people oppose further NATO involvement despite the interest of the government in same. Russia will “defend its passport holders” there – Ukraine will be partitioned with half going to Russia.

    Is there any province in Ukraine that has been trying to secede since the country got independence? Even in Crimea, which has unusually strong pro-Russian sentiment, most people voted for Ukrainian independence in the early 1990s.

  61. BG — Humanitarian. Right. And Russia hit Georgia for humanitarian reasons, too. NATO did attack Serbia, which was not threatening any alliance member. Looks pretty aggressive to me…

    Is it your contention that there were no humanitarian issues involved? Or tht NATO would have acted the same even if there hadn’t been any?

  62. BG — AFAIK, Eastern portions of Ukraine and Crimea haven’t tried to secede yet, but it might become a possibility. People there have far more in common with Russia than with Western Ukrainians.

    My contention is that there were _some_ humanitarian issues but far fewer than in any number of other places at the same time, and they were nowhere near as black and white as they were made out to be.

    Without going into the whole “Serbs did that, and Albanians did this” I believe that may be NATO would not have started bombing without being able to present a justification, as tenous as it has been, but manufacturing htem has never been much of an issue. So yes, NATO probably would have done that regardless of there being any real humanitarian crizis or not. One would have simply been made…

  63. “””Invading a democracy tends to piss off the other democracies.”””

    Only if the other democracies like the one being invaded. Otherwise, they don’t really care.

    “””But US support is not so much for *him* as it is for the cause of human rights and the rule of law in Georgia”””

    Really? When was the last time we really supported those? The right-wing has framed human rights a something the liberals would cry about, and neither side has much respect for the rule of law in this country. Hell, the Bush admin has argued against both.

  64. Before we talk about what NATO can do, look back at the history of what it has tried to do. Failed peace keeping missions. Failing in Afghanstan. Clinton talked the major NATO players in providing aircraft for Yugoslovia. But we did most of the work. NATO can’t accomplish crap without a major nation leading the way. We use to laugh at the NATO blue helmets.

  65. As I mentioned on another thread, folks seem to assume that the rest of NATO will fall in behind the U.S. in confronting Russia. As TrickyVic points out, our gallant NATO allies have shown very little enthusiasm for all of those out-of-area missions we’ve got them into.

    Are the Germans really going to jump at the chance to fight the Russians for the 3rd time in a hundred years? The last time the Germans tried to secure Baku, it didn’t go so well. Are they going to jeopardize their energy supplies? And all for countries that aren’t even on a path to join Nato.

    It’s not going to happen, my friends. NATO will deliberate and muddle and mediate until President Bush/McCain bypasses them and jury-rigs another “coalition of the willing”.

  66. Danny, NATO is too big to act as “one man, one voice”.

    Players like Germany and Britain feel like having their own policies too.

    That said, Germans realize their own military weakness very well, and I would not dare to predict how their attitude will turn out.

    The German Left is pro-Russian, and this attitude has been augmented by former GDR communists from PDS. Former GDR had a very strict communist regime, and the share of “true believers” was significant. But Western German leftists are often also pro-Russian, because pro-Russian equals anti-American, and this card plays well with some parts of the electorate.

    The German (democratic, I am not talking about totalitarian fringes) Right is pretty much commited to the transatlantic alliances. It also seems to be aware of the fact that they cannot throw Slavic Central Europe to the Russian bear without suffering significant trouble themselves. The existence of big buffer zone between Russia and Germany is advantageous for both of them.

    German electorate is, in last 10 years, almost perfectly split between left and right. Minuscule differences determine election results (as low as 0,5%), and therefore also foreign policy of Germany. So, I would refrain from prophesies.

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