Robert Gentel wrote:
I never gave the qualifier of "in Transcaucasia" so why are you trying to make my comments fit under a qualifier I never gave?
This thread is about Georgia, and what policies and strategies the US should follow regarding it. You described the state of affairs re Georgia and Russia's claims, and concluded that the US stands before a decision here.
What decision? It needs to "think long and hard about whether they want to continue the projection of power, rewriting of maps and regime change it has subscribed to for nearly a decade," because "The military aggression this administration subscribed to is not tenable."
But how does that description even apply to the situation you're talking about? It's not been America that has been rewriting maps here, or that's engaged in military aggression.
It sounds more like you have a general beef about American foreign policy, informed majorly by Iraq, and are now superimposing the conclusions you've learned about Iraq on a wholly other region and situation.
And you're not the only one. I see a lot of liberals talking about Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and what America should do - and all I hear is America, Bush, Iraq, Bush, Neoconservatism, Iraq. Their take on it is wholly informed by their opposition to the neocons strategies on Iraq etc, and hardly by any but the most immediate, cursory information from the region at hand itself, which seems mostly picked up just now and filtered through the a priori assumption that any US/Bush admin engagement must have been wrong.
It's very frustrating for those who have followed the issue for two decades and believe that you know, it's a different situation at hand here, and you cant just superimpose lessons from Iraq , and that for once, it's not actually the Americans that are the baddies here.
It reminds me of that raucous Green Left meeting, back in 1998, about Kosovo. The party leadership had decided to support a NATO intervention to save the Kosovars. Much of the party's base, many of whom had been veteran pacifists and activists, was in an uproar; how could the Greens support America? Support NATO, of all things? There was a large meeting where they could vent at the leaders on stage, and they did, pointing out America's dishonest intentions, its ulterior motives, its own guilts, past and present, NATO, Latin America, oil ...
Finally, a wonk from the Eastern Europe bureau stood up and exclaimed, what about the Kosovars? I've been here all evening, and none of you has said a thing about the Kosovars themselves - about the actual people at hand. And it was true. These people were superimposing the lessons they'd learnt about America's and NATO's treacheries, imperialisms, ulterior motives and what not, and were going on nothing but that. They didnt care about the fate of the Kosovars -- they just wanted to stop America's post Cold War neo-interventionism -- its "projection of power", you would say.
But I think America's "projection of power" can serve good causes as well as bad ones, just the way it's done before. It's installed murderous regimes in Africa and Latin America, but it's also pushed through the Marshall Plan, at major cost to the taxpayer -- and against loud Soviet protestations and threats that sounded very much like Russia's ones now. Then too, the complaints that America's support to the Marshall Plan countries constituted "aggression" and encroachment, and threats that they would not sit by without retaliation. Yet had America abandoned its projection of power then, more countries likely would have ended up in the Easten Bloc. So I see our job not as pushing for it to stop
, but for it to be used for the right causes.
Putin's Russia is morphing into a whole new stage of its long-developing national-authoritarian restoration. The idea that America should now, right when that's
happening, limit itself, abandon its projects of democracy promotion, retreat from the partnerships it has been expanding in Eastern Europe and implicitly accept Russia's claim to its proclaimed "near abroad", is scary to me. I see how it's conceived as a way of correcting Bush's warmongering excesses, but it's misguided. It's taking exactly the wrong lessons from Iraq, and applying them in a situation where, if anything, America needs to step up and be very vigilant.