Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Dumb Dogs of War

Barack Obama, Conservatism, Foreign Policy, Russia, War

“Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force.” Them’s fighting words belong to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Warbot conservatives want Obama to do something to Putin so as to keep them feeling like the world’s top dogs. Gates was addressing the incongruous nature of the continuous attacks lobbed by the warbots.


Via Fox News Sunday (the only show on Fox News to offer full
transcripts):

WALLACE: You’ve defended President Obama’s handling of the situation this week, but in January you said you thought that President Obama made a big mistake when he set the red line for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Here’s what you warn. “If you cock the pistol you’ve got to be willing to fire it.” By “cocking the pistol” whether it’s on the red line in Syria or giving asylum to Edward Snowden or other issues. You’re really — and then not firing it, you really don’t think that President Obama has emboldened Putin at all.

GATES: Well, all I would say is – what I was saying earlier in the week was simply that I thought in the middle of a major international crisis, that some of the criticism, domestic criticism of the president ought to be toned down, while he’s trying to handle this crisis. My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force, so I think Putin is very opportunistic in these arenas. I think that even if — even if we had launched attacks in Syria, even if we weren’t cutting our defense budget, I think Putin saw an opportunity here in Crimea, and he has seized it. You know, the ouster of Yanukovych was a big strategic setback for Putin, and — and I think it’s — it’s testimony to how skillful he is or how agile he is that he’s tried to offset that by the seizure of Crimea and throwing this whole situation into a very different — into a very different light, and I think that –


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‘Ukraine Bosnified, Putin Hitlerized’

BAB's A List, Democracy, Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Multiculturalism, Nationhood, Russia

Ukraine Bosnified, Putin Hitlerized
By Srdja Trifkovic

On March 6 President Obama said in Washington that the Crimean authorities’ plans for a referendum “violate the Ukrainian Constitution and violate international law.” “Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. We are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratically elected leaders,” he added. “Crimea is Ukraine,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in Rome on the same day.

Interesting. Six years ago the United States enthusiastically recognized the Kosovo Albanian authorities’ self-proclaimed independence, which violated the Serbian constitution and violated international law. The legitimate government of Serbia was not included in any discussions which preceded the American decision. The United States initiated the redrawing of Serbia’s borders with an act of armed aggression in 1999, and then formally condoned it in February 2008, over the heads of Serbia’s democratically elected President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica. Furthermore, in September 2012 Obama’s then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “the boundaries of an independent, sovereign Kosovo are clear and set.” A few days earlier Obama himself claimed, incredibly, that “Kosovo has made significant progress in solidifying the gains of independence and in building the institutions of a modern, multi-ethnic, inclusive and democratic state.”

A President capable of thus characterizing that KLA-run black hole of thuggery and lawlessness – the worst-ruled spot by far in all of Europe – is beyond logic or reason. It would be therefore useless to point out to Obama that the government in Kiev has no legitimacy whatsoever, having grabbed power through a sustained campaign of revolutionary brutality and having violated the Ukrainian constitution and other laws in the process. Obama’s claim that the leaders of the regime in Kiev were “democratically elected” is unsurprising, however, coming as it does from a man whose hold on reality – at home and abroad – is becoming more tenuous by the day.

Lest we forget, on February 21 President Viktor Yanukovich and three Ukrainian parliamentary party leaders signed a “reconciliation agreement” co-signed by foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland – implying that their countries and the EU guaranteed the deal – and approved by a Russian representative. The document provided for constitutional reform reducing presidential powers, the creation of a government of national unity, early presidential election, and disbandment of Maidan armed factions. Far from disbanding, within hours those same armed factions forced Yanukovich to flee Kiev and stage-managed a parliamentary “vote,” worthy of the proceedings of the Supreme Soviet ca. 1937, which ushered in the putschist regime.

As Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on March 4, Yanukovich “had in fact given up his power already, and as I told him, he had no chance of being re-elected. What was the purpose of all those illegal, unconstitutional actions, why did they have to create this chaos in the country? Armed and masked militants are still roaming the streets of Kiev. This is a question to which there is no answer.” Well, there is one, and he knows it. As a BBC commentator pointed out on March 5, what makes Putin mad is the feeling that he is being deceived:

We saw that with Libya in 2011. Moscow was persuaded not to block a UN Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone to protect civilians. But NATO’s military action led to regime change and the death of Col Muammar Gaddafi – far beyond what Russia had expected. It helps explain why Russia has been quick to veto resolutions on Syria. On Ukraine, too, President Putin feels the West has tricked him. Last month he sent his envoy to Kiev to take part in negotiations on a compromise agreement … It remained words only. Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Yanukovych was on the run, the parliament removed him from power and appointed a new acting president from the opposition. The pace of events took Moscow completely by surprise. Russia says the February 21 agreement must be implemented. The opposition signed it, yet allows an uncontrolled militia of violent armed radicals send fear and loathing across a large swath of Ukraine. The US says the agreement no longer matters…

THE GHOST OF WARREN ZIMMERMANN – Washington saying “the agreement no longer matters” brings us to another parallel between the crisis in Ukraine and the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990’s: the role of the United States in subverting agreements that were meant to save peace. Similar U.S. subterfuges contributed to the outbreak of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina exactly 22 years ago. In March 1992 the late Warren Zimmermann, the last U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia before its breakup and civil war, materially contributed, more than any other single man, to the outbreak of that war. The facts of the case have been established beyond reasonable doubt, and are no longer disputed by experts.

Following the unconstitutional and illegal Muslim-Croat referendum on Bosnia’s independence (February 28-29), then-Portuguese foreign minister Jose Cutileiro persuaded the leaders of the three constituent nations that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be independent, but internally based on autonomous ethnic “cantons.” The breakthrough was due to the Bosnian Serbs’ acceptance of an externally sovereign B-H state, provided that the Muslims give up their ambition of an internally centralized, unitary one. Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim leader, accepted the plan. Only days after it was signed, however, Zimmermann flew from Belgrade to Sarajevo to tell Izetbegovic that the deal was a means to “a Serbian power grab” that could be annulled. State Department later admitted that the U.S. policy was to encourage Izetbegovic to break with the plan.

As early as August 29, 1993, The New York Times brought a revealing quote from the key player himself: “Immediately after Mr. Izetbegovic returned from Lisbon, Mr. Zimmermann called on him in Sarajevo… ‘He said he didn’t like it; I told him, if he didn’t like it, why sign it?’” After that moment Izetbegovic had no motive to seek compromise. He felt authorized to renege on the tripartite accord, which inevitably ignited the Bosnian war. Cutileiro himself insisted later that, but for Izetbegovic reneging, “the Bosnian question might have been settled earlier, with less loss of life and land.” He also noted that “Izetbegovic was encouraged to scupper that deal and to fight for a unitary Bosnian state by foreign mediators.”

In the fullness of time we shall learn which “foreign mediators” played the role of Zimmermann in Kiev in February 2014. Whoever it was – Victoria “f… the EU” Nuland, her ambassador in situ Pyatt, or Kerry himself – the intervention was a malicious attempt to encourage one side in Ukraine’s multiethnic, multi-denominational mosaic to fight for an unitary Ukrainian state. If the result turns out to be the same or similar as that in Bosnia two decades ago, those “mediators” will have blood on their hands no less than Warren Zimmermann had blood on his. He died in February 2004, having greatly contributed to the death of a hundred thousand Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Muslims in 1992-1995.

“UKRAINE” AS “BOSNIA” – A key element in the Western propagandistic misrepresentation of the situation in Ukraine is the claim that it is a coherent nation-state of “Ukrainians,” which is subjected to an unprovoked foreign aggression. On March 6 the House adopted a package of “sanctions against Russia, and “lawmakers are also acting in other ways to show solidarity with Ukrainians.” Two days earlier John Kerry flew to Kiev to show solidarity with Ukraine’s new leaders. Everybody and his uncle, including various MEPs, Canadian MPs, etc. flew to Kiev “to show solidarity with Ukrainians.”

In exactly the same manner, in 1992 it was asserted ex hypothesi by the American (and to a lesser extent West European) political elite, and parroted ad nauseam by the media machine, that if there is a “Bosnia” there must be a nation of “Bosnians.” In both cases the claim was tantamount to the assertion, in 1861, that “the American nation” was resisting an illegal rebellion. In fact today’s Ukraine is like Ireland in 1920: impossible to survive intact, let alone prosper in peace, on the basis of the aspirations and assumptions of one community which are inherently incompatible with those of another. The rights of the legislators in the Crimean Peninsula, Odessa, Kharkov, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk etc. vis-à-vis Kiev are exactly the same as those of the Stormont were vis-à-vis the Irish Free State in 1921.

COMMUNIST-DRAWN INTERNAL BOUNDARIES – The problem of internal boundaries between the constituent republics, arbitrarily drawn by communist dictators in complete disregard of the wishes and aspirations of the people thus affected, has been the key foundation of the Yugoslav conflict ever since the first shots were fired in the summer of 1991. Even someone as unsympathetic to the Serb point of view as Lord David Owen, the EU negotiator in 1992-1993, conceded that Marshal Josip Broz Tito’s administrative boundaries between Yugoslavia’s republics were grossly arbitrary, and that their redrawing should have been countenanced before the issue escalated into a fully-fledged war:

Incomprehensibly, the proposal to redraw the republics’ boundaries had been rejected by all eleven EC countries… [T]o rule out any discussion or opportunity for compromise in order to head off war was an extraordinary decision. My view has always been that to have stuck unyieldingly to the internal boundaries of the six republics within the former Yugoslavia… as being those for independent states, was a folly far greater than that of premature recognition itself.

The manner in which Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev transferred Crimea to Ukraine in February 1954 is a particularly egregious example of the communist border-changing. The shoe-banger must be having a hearty laugh in his current hot abode at the readiness of the United States to risk a major confrontation with Russia – a minus-sum-game if there ever was one – for the sake of upholding the legacy of his stroke of pen 60 years ago.

REDUCTIO AD HITLERUM – And finally, just as Slobodan Milosevic was the Hitler-du-jour during the Bosnian war, Vladimir Putin is becoming one now. His current transformation could be predicted with mathematical precision. Most notably, Hillary Clinton likened Putin’s actions in the Crimean peninsula to those of Hitler in the Sudetenland. On March 3 Zbigniew Brzezinski called Putin “a partially comical imitation of Mussolini and a more menacing reminder of Hitler.” (“We haven’t seen this kind of behavior since the Second World War,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, not that anyone cared.) Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) agreed with Clinton wholeheartedly. The obvious comparison, with Oleh Tyagnybok and other black-and-red Svoboda Party heirs to Bandera and the SS Division Galizien, unsurprisingly eludes them. These people are McCain’s good buddies, after all – every bit as good as the warriors in the path of Allah in Syria.

As I’ve noted in these pages before, the final corollary of various ad-hoc Hitlerizations is that we are all potential Fuhrers, and only by vigilantly guarding against deviant thoughts (“I like Americans better than Somalis”), emotions (“I enjoy Wagner’s Ring more than Porgy & Bess”) and practices (“I enjoy walking my German Shepherd in the Bavarian Alps”) can we protect ourselves from the lure of the inner Adolf. Having experienced the reductio myself – having been called “Hitler in full oratorical flight,” to be precise – I hereby wish Vladimir Vladimirovich a hearty welcome to the club.

*****

Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor for the Chronicles magazine


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Is Henry Kissinger Anti-American Or Simply Smarter Than Some Americans?

Foreign Policy, libertarianism, Neoconservatism, War

“It’s troubling,” laments an Antiwar.com blogger, that [Henry Kissinger] is the voice of moderation” on the Ukraine quagmire.

The writer is responding to an op-ed the former secretary of state penned in the Washington Post, in which Kissinger, the “architect of the destruction of Indochina, and secretary of state to one of America’s most corrupt leaders,” offers … “a balanced analysis” in contrast to the ignorant media rah-rah around him—”arguments that, if uttered on any of the cable news shows, would be condemned as anti-American.”

Kissinger’s analysis is a balanced one, in contrast to much of what we’ve seen. “Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation,” he laments. “Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.”

The West’s approach to Ukraine has been characterized much like the Russian approach: zero-sum. But, Kissinger advises, “We should seek reconciliation, not the domination of a faction” inside Ukraine.

Kissinger also seems to criticize the superficial and trivial nature of the commentary from pundits and politicians. He says “the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.” Furthermore, “the United States needs to avoid treating Russia as an aberrant to be patiently taught rules of conduct established by Washington.”

Kissinger then proposes four suggestions for how to settle the issue in a responsible (not belligerent) manner that prioritizes “how it ends, not how it begins.”

1. Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with Europe.

2. Ukraine should not join NATO, a position I took seven years ago, when it last came up.

3. Ukraine should be free to create any government compatible with the expressed will of its people. Wise Ukrainian leaders would then opt for a policy of reconciliation between the various parts of their country. Internationally, they should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland. That nation leaves no doubt about its fierce independence and cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.

4. It is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea. But it should be possible to put Crimea’s relationship to Ukraine on a less fraught basis. To that end, Russia would recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea. Ukraine should reinforce Crimea’s autonomy in elections held in the presence of international observers. The process would include removing any ambiguities about the status of the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol.

MORE.

The writer comes close to the truth when he wonders whether “Kissinger has become more reasonable in his old age, or if his tempered approach to the Ukraine crisis is merely an illustration of how degenerate and juvenile our politics has become in the generation that has followed his.”

Whatever Henry Kissinger was and did, the author of “On China,” an in-depth study of “Sino-American relations, reaching even into ancient Chinese history to define [China's] national characteristics,” was neither foolish nor uninformed.

Foolish, uninformed and dangerously arrogant: these qualities sum-up the caliber of pundit and public servant misinforming and misleading Americans today.


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UPDATED: CPUKE 2014 Is Upon Us

Conservatism, Foreign Policy, Republicans, Sarah Palin

At least the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPUKE) is a little lighter on the bimbo factor, this year, but heavier with the weight of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. (CPUKE usually showcases retards like S. E. Cupp and assorted Townhall.com twits.)

The megalomaniacal Donald Trump, however, is pretty scary. “The business mogul is motivated by the sense that the nimbus of great power that surrounds the US is dissipating. It hasn’t occurred to him to search closer to home for the causes of America’s economic anemia—at Fanny, Freddie, and the Fed, for a start. Since Trump has no idea what’s potting, and is not eager to look in his own plate — he blames OPEC and China for the burdens of doing business in the US.” (From “Sinophobia Trumps Common Sense”)

The Trump plan to reclaim global greatness and glory includes a strategy America has yet to try: the use of force, of course. Strutting around on the world stage, showing those Russians, Saudis and Chinese who is boss: this may serve as a perfect panacea for the deficiencies in Trump’s persona, but is hardly a solution to US woes, at home or abroad.

Sadly, most other Republicans will echo these themes. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) promise to be the only impressive individuals in the scheduled lineup.

And Sarah Palin, once a real beauty, may have tampered with her face.

That’s about all from CPUKE.

UPDATE: Ted Cruz tells CPAC: ‘Stand on principle’:

“There are a lot of D.C. consultants who say there’s a choice for Republicans to make: We can either choose to keep our head down, to not rock the boat, to not stand for anything, or we can stand for principle,” he said. “They say if you stand for principle you lose elections. The way to do it — the smart way, the Washington way — is don’t stand against Obamacare, don’t stand against the debt ceiling, don’t stand against nothing. I want to tell you something — that is a false dichotomy. … ”

… Those principles, he said, include defending the Constitution, abolishing the IRS, expanding school choice, establishing term limits and combating “lawlessness” and corruption in the government.

The crowd for Cruz’s speech, which came first in the conference, was fairly small at first as attendees waited in line to get in. But it grew throughout the speech — and the biggest applause for Cruz came when he said the GOP needs to “repeal every word of Obamacare.”

MORE.


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Uncle Sam Aggression Is The Only ‘Good’ Kind Of Aggression

Foreign Policy, Media, Military, Neoconservatism, Russia, War

Unless you are the United States of America, “… you just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” said Secretary of State John Kerry to the chronically incurious David Gregory, on Meet The Press.

OK, Kerry did not disgorge the first 8 words not in quotation marks. But they are implied, given the historical facts. So I added them.

Another correction: Unlike the Russian government, the US government does not do anything that is in the interest of its people—although the think tank industry and the media-military-congressional complex would argue otherwise.

Agree or disagree with him; like it or not, Putin’s goal is “to protect Russian-speaking people in Crimea or other parts of Ukraine.” Which American community was Genghis Bush and B. Hussein protecting when they decimated Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and the droned-upon countries?

To reiterate the question asked and answered in “The Warmongers: Not Looking Out For Us,” “More than anyone, who benefits when America goes to war? Those who ‘function within the nimbus of great power’ in D.C. and around it—the media-military-congressional-industrial complex.”

You see, the chattering and political classes cannot conceive of greatness outside the state because they are part of the state apparatus and depend on it for status and income. Conversely, individual Americans—who have nothing to gain and only losses to sustain from war—should never conflate their interests with those of the government and its emissaries, who have everything to gain from the great theatre that is war.


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Not Every European Yearns For Fascists To Breathe Free

EU, Foreign Policy, Multiculturalism, Neoconservatism, Russia, The West

The American claim on diversity–does it extend to diverse opinion? Or, on Ukraine, must everyone march in lockstep with John McMussolini and our media mavens?

A Barely A Blog Jewish reader, who resides in Europe and has seen her share of European violence, holds strong opinions about the Ukraine.

She informs me that the missive below was meant to be hyperbolic and a little satirical. Nevertheless, I hope that diversity lovers will apprecaite her fear as they do the pain of the fascists frolicking across the Ukraine. (The opinions published are not my own.)

Writes anon from Europe:

The best thing for Ukraine and Putin is that Putin should order his troops to take over the Crimea and the eastern part of the Ukraine. Why should the west have the burden of financing the Ukraine whose people have not the faintest idea of democracy?

They think that killing each other in Kiev and causing a bloody revolution will solve their financial and economic ills. No, it is only the Russian, Putin, who can bring order back into this unpleasant country, peopled with most radical racist population whose record of murder of millions of Jews and homosexuals has been well documented throughout their recent history.

Putin is the only one who is thinking straight. His Russians in both the Crimea and the Eastern part of the Ukraine do have to be protected, his border borders on that of Ukraine, and the smartest move would be for Putin to go in and take over this failed country.

Then the people of this failed country will again have some sort of economic stability, receive oil through the pipeline from the Russian oil wells, and the illusion that the European Union will save the catastrophic financial debacle that is the economy of Ukraine will be put to rest.


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