A different, darker vision 5

Anne Applebaum, one of a small but distinguished team of conservative columnists at the otherwise heavily left-leaning Washington Post, is also one of the most well-informed writers anywhere on Russia and East Europe.

Today she writes (in part):

Openly or subconsciously, since 1991, Western leaders have acted on the assumption that Russia is a flawed Western country. 

In the 1990s, many people thought Russian progress … simply required new policies: With the right economic reforms, Russians would sooner or later become like us. Others thought that if Russia joined the Council of Europe, and if we turned the G-7 into the G-8, then sooner or later Russia would absorb Western values. …

Still others thought that Russia’s forward progress required a certain kind of Western language, a better dialogue. When the relationship deteriorated, President Bush blamed President Clinton. President Obama blamed President Bush. …  Back in 1999, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story titled Who Lost Russia? Much discussed at the time, it argued that we’d lost Russia “because we pursued agendas that were hopelessly wrong for Russia” and given bad economic advice. In The Post last week, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, echoed President Putin and argued that the United States, by “treating Russia as the loser,” is responsible for the current crisis. …

[But] Russian politics have never been all about us. In truth, we’ve had very little influence on Russian internal politics since 1991, even when we’ve understood them. The most important changes — the massive transfer of oil and gas from the state to the oligarchs, the return to power of men formed by the KGB, the elimination of a free press and political opposition — took place against our advice. The most important military decisions — the invasions of Chechnya and Georgia — met with our protests. Though many appear to believe otherwise, the invasion of Crimea was not primarily intended to provoke the West, either.

Putin invaded Crimea because Putin needs a war. In a time of slower growth, and with a more restive middle class, he may need some more wars, too. …

But … the Crimean invasion might have a bigger effect on the West than even he intended. In many European capitals, the Crimean events have been a real jolt. For the first time, many are beginning to understand that … Russia is not a flawed Western power. Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics.

For twenty years, nobody has thought about how to “contain” Russia. Now they will. … Strategic changes … should flow from our new understanding of Russia. We need to re-imagine NATO, to move its forces from Germany to the alliance’s eastern borders. We need to reexamine the presence of Russian money in international financial markets, given that so much “private” Russian money is in fact controlled by the state. We need to look again at our tax shelters and money-laundering laws, given that Russia uses corruption as a tool of foreign policy. Above all we need to examine the West’s energy strategy, given that Russia’s oil and gas assets are also used to manipulate European politics and politicians, and find ways to reduce [Europe’s energy] dependence [on Russia].

Obama is doing everything he can to make sure the Russian nuclear arsenal will be bigger and more technologically efficient than ours.  He, and the Left in general, will not call Russia an enemy – but that’s what Russia is: the enemy of the West. Could it possibly be the case that Obama and the Left in general are on Russia’s side? Does the Left see an ally in any country or ideology that is against America?

*

Is Estonia next on Putin’s list for invasion and annexation? It is a member of NATO. Will Putin risk war with NATO? Or does he calculate that the US under Obama will not permit NATO to obey it’s own charter ( in particular Article 5) and defend any member state that is attacked?

The BBC reports:

Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian. Russia has defended its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula by arguing it has the right to protect Russian speakers outside its borders … “

(We took the quotation from this article – Why Obama Scares Me – by Mona Charen at Townhall.)

  • Azgael

    The left and Russia are allies since WW2, the opposition or show of force towards Russia by leftists is just that a show, theater. Russia didn’t lose the cold war and the west didn’t win it, Russia actually won, as we are seeing now the majority of the west is socialist bordering on communist if not already there.

    • liz

      Right. Not much difference in the ideologies of Putin and Obama. After all, Obama’s goal was to “fundamentally transform” the country, and he has – we might as well be called the United Socialist States of America now. As long as he’s got his welfare state/cronyism going he doesn’t care what Putin does.
      Same thing with the Muslims. He so absorbed in his fantasy role as Allah’s gift to the Muslim world, he doesn’t see them as the enemy, either. If he gets his way with that, we’ll be the United Socialist Caliphates of Iran, forget the “American” part.

      • Azgael

        Nah, the muslims and communist hate each other, they just have a truce till the west is destroyed, then they will turn on each other

        • liz

          Maybe, but from what I hear Muslims seem pretty happy to be “on the dole” once they get into the UK, and here, too. (Gives them more time to plot terror attacks.)

      • pepaz

        Not at all, Putins voters are not these health care weak creatures. They want to be the strongest, they want tho see the west on the knees. They know who is their enemy and they want to win. In reality, russia now loves worshiping mythical past, the orthodox church, the Stalinist Soviet Union, Ivan the Terrible, because they were strong. There is nothing more far away from the western socialism.