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September 13, 2004


And speaking of Putin's character, did any of you catch this completely bizarre story? Excerpt:

"Concern over Russia's treatment of journalists covering the Beslan siege increased yesterday after a toxicologist revealed that traces of a tranquilliser had been found in a reporter who was arrested on her way to the school.

Nana Lezhava, from Georgia's independent Rustavi-2 TV station, described how she slept for 24 hours after drinking coffee in a holding cell. She had been accused of violating visa rules.

Gela Lezhava, the head of the oversight board at a Georgian drug research institute, told a news conference that urine samples taken from the reporter showed traces of tranquillisers. He said he suspected that the journalist was drugged by the Russian authorities.

The revelation came two days after the renowned Russian investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya claimed she had been drugged while on a flight to Beslan from Moscow."

I wonder how popular the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive warfare will be with some conservatives when the Russians start pursuing it.

But hey. That whole "look 'em in the eye;" "sense of his soul;' "the measure of a man." - it all sounded good in the movie theater.
The world is too complicared and scary so people need escapist story lines of good and evil/ black hats and white hats.
I understand that. I just am thrown by why people want it coming from the most powerful office in the land instead of Hollywood.

i suspect their support of "pre-emption" is tied to the PNAC idea of American exceptionalism.

    As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

    Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

    From: PNAC Statement of ideals

I agree that Putin is a no-goodnik. Who would be likely to succeed him? Extreme Russian nationalists? The Communist Party? Would either of those be an improvement?

I would very much like to see a free, liberal, stable, secure, and prosperous Russia. Obviously it's in the Russians' interests and I believe it's in our interests, too. I think that engagement with Russian is more likely to enable us to nudge events in that direction than isolating Russia would be.

How does failing to work with Russia help us? How does isolating Russia help us? Does Putin's leaving power help us? Does weakening him help us?

Dave, I agree with most of what you say. I also don't give my friends blank checks, even though I believe them to be fundamentally good people.

Some famous fellow said that nations don't have friends, they have interests. Here, our interest is in helping Russia move forward, not in giving unconditional support.

Of course, we'll have to stop petulantly demanding unconditional support, from everybody, too.

I agree with your remarks, Dave and CharlieCarp. I think that we must continue to provide qualified support for Putin, where appropriate -- for there is no other alternativeat the moment. My point, however, is that a decision to dispense carrots does not remove the need to keep a stick about. I'm becoming convinced that the proposed withdrawal from Europe is far too soon and far large -- and communications the wrong things -- in light of Russia's slide back into totalitarianism.

I think I agree with what CharleyCarp and von have written. How about unequivocal support rather than unconditional support?

von, I also think that it needs to be emphasized that Russia can be a significant asset in the War on Terror. We're complementary.

More from me on some of our work with Russia in the war on terror coming in a few hours. Heh heh.

... I just am thrown by why people want it coming from the most powerful office in the land instead of Hollywood.

Uhh ... where do you think people get their ideas about The Way The World Works? To a lot of people out there, tht Toob is more real than their own lives. In particular, I've seen studies that say that the more TV people watch, the more violent they think the world is.

Actually, the attitudes that I worry about don't come from prime- time TV or movies. They come from Saturday morning cartoons. Good is good, recognizable instantly, and good in all things (particularly looks). Evil is evil, again instantly recognizable and evil in all things (again, particularly looks). You never have to worry about motivation for the Bad Guys; it's because they're Evil.

Sound like a political discussion you've heard recently?

Isn't Europe up to the task of defending itself from Russia? The answer is clearly no, but it isn't obvious why we should help keep it 'no'. It isn't the war-torn mess that it was when we set up camp.

Isn't Europe up to the task of defending itself from Russia? The answer is clearly no, but it isn't obvious why we should help keep it 'no'. It isn't the war-torn mess that it was when we set up camp.

I'm not sure you want this Sebastian.
Nothing seems to galvanize a disparate group of people more than an enemy at their doorstep. Euro-scepticism might evapourate overnight if Europe had to mobilize against a Russian threat.

Futhermore, I find the willingness of conservatives to militarize nations we have intentionaly kept pacifist for decades somewhat bizare.
It's almost as if you don't like the fact that we are the only superpower.

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