Monday, December 08, 2008

A New Cold War?

Are we headed into a new Cold War with post-Soviet Russia? This was the question posed by National Review in the aftermath of the Russian naval exercises with Venezuela and the passage through the Panama Canal of a Russian warship, the first since Soviet submarines were allowed to pass during World War II. My comments, summarized in the advice of monitor, but don't overreact, and those of my panelists, are open for your comments.

I am not sure it is really important (thugh think it is) but there is no logical equivalence in the U.S. and Russia's claims about nations being free to choose alliances. First of all, the Russians don't mean that they must form a bond with, say, Venezuela simply because the latter wants or needs it. At the same time, this is more or less what the speakers at that symposium seem to imply in regard to Eastern Europe and America. Second, and more importantly, I guess nobody believes that people in charge of American foreign policy are serious about this freedom. Eastern Europe must be free to choose an alliance, of course, with the U.S. only.

This whole "debate" highlights very well how hypocrisy makes a country disfunctional in an area, about which it cannot speak honestly to itself. It blocks any real debate, it scares serious and honest people out of the field. Unfortunately, demagoguery is best done by fools. In the area of international policy, the U.S. has long become a slave of its own lies, much like the old USSR. Fortunately for the Russians, it doesn't seem to ne the case with them. Probably they've learned their lesson.
High time to use some other folks at such gatherings.
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