Podcast: McCain Foreign Policy (Audio Content)

Listen to the Podcast Here: McCain Foreign Policy

The text of McCain’s speech today to Veteran’s is here.
Text of Obama’s speech in Berlin.

Addendum: It’s even worse than I what said on the “a” versus “the” world comment. Obama came to the notion of a/the world united by quoting the MAYOR OF BERLIN DURING THE AIRLIFT: “People of the World now do you duty.” Geez, McCain is awful.

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Somebody Shut This Guy Up

From HuffPo:

A defiant Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said the former Soviet republic would not relinquish South Ossetia or Abkhazia _ both now overrun with Russian troops and abandoned by Georgian soldiers _ as Western leaders pushed for a swift Russian withdrawal from positions it has held for days of warfare.

Saak has become the Peter Lorrie of World Politics (even kinda looks like him). Talking smack he can’t back up, starting some violence, then playing “somebody help me, somebody hide me”, wanting Humphrey Bogart (The US) to come to get his back but it ain’t happening.

Published in: on August 17, 2008 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Background Russo-Georgian War

Mostly to do with Russia. Recall when the Soviet Empire fell in 1989 and the immediate aftermath of its occurrence. Russia was promised (by the realists like Scowcroft of George HW Bush’s administration) that NATO would not expand East. And recall that the Soviet sphere covered all the way to East Germany.

Well obviously that didn’t take. First to go of course was German unification. Then Russia gave up Central Europe (Hungary, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles). Next Russia ceded the Baltics (ok, they still got a pro-Russian dictator in Belarus!!!). There was the ham fisted cyber war against the e-government of Estonia as the last gasp of influence in the region.

Continuing the trend, the Russians lost the Balkans having backed the losers (Serbs) and were unable to stop the eventual train to Kosovo independence. And again minus some balking and some abortive cyberwarfare attempts, Russia accedes to all of that loss of influence. Hell even Serbia is working hard to make themselves able to gain EU membership.

Russia also had the hugely face-losing moment in the early 1990s of Western backed Economic Shock Therapy (see Naomi Klein’s book on the subject). The rest of the developing world as a result looks to China not Russia for economic/political guidance (i.e. how to open your markets and keep one party rule/stay in power). Russia now seems to be taking a dangerous, more militaristic inspired path (plus the playing of petropolitics particularly vis a vis Europe and the Iranian nuclear issue).

Then comes the next inner core, what Thomas Barnett calls GUAM: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan/Armenia, Moldova.

The GU pair of the quartet is where the Russians are making their stand. Particularly now the former. They are also are feeling of their oats after two decades of decline and humiliations.

Of those four, the two As so far seem closer to the Russian sphere (Moldova is mostly neutral), while Georgia and Ukraine both have majority pro-Western populations with large rump pro-Russian populations. Russia recall was involved in trying to back the (what appeared to be) vote rigging in the Ukranian elections (backing Yanukovich over Yukashenko).

So the line has clearly become Ukraine and now more dangerously Georgia. Both wanted into NATO and both were put on hold because of fear of domestic illiberality (both Saakasvili and even Yushchenko have had their marital law like episodes and are involved in their own political shenanigans it seems) as well as the obvious point of pissing off Russia and not wanting to get in a fight with Russia over these countries.

Not only that but the US is attempting to shore up relations with the Central Asian “istan” [former Soviet] republicans. Russia sees NATO undertake a mission outside of Europe, in its own former sphere/Vietnam (Afghanistan). Then the US wants Russia in on Iranian embargoes and the like. And now you see the Russians starting like they are being encircled and dictated to. The Russians see NATO increasingly as an anti-Russian alliance and their fears I think are pushing them in a direction of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Update I: I was assuming in my mind, but I realize I didn’t make explicit, that part of what is going on is Saak’s absolutely reckless (possibly immoral) stupidity in the initial round of escalation. That of course does not excuse Putin’s equally (even worse) further escalation–beyond simply South Ossetia into non-disputed Georgian territory. And civilians are getting killed as a result.

Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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Russia-Georgia: Bad to Scary Worse in under 3 seconds

WTF is Putin thinking going beyond Ossetia, extending the war to the air and navy and perhaps a push on the capital?  This is even worse than Saakasvili’s ham-handed failed putsch. 

The Georgians are tough people–see how many times Tamerlane had to put down (bloodily) revolts there.

The US should make clear to Russia that this could be their Iraq (or Afghanistan #2).  Namely the Georgians deploy their defenses to irregular warfare, let the Russians in, and bleed them dry. 

Clearly after a day of this Putin had Ossetia and Abkhazia within his orbit/on their own Kosovo-like trip to independence or Kurdish-esque autonomous power.  Recognized in some fashion in the international community.

But this s–t is spiralling out of control and only plays into the worst hardline US elements (i.e. McCain). 

See James P. on the subject.  Key quote:

The real bottom line is a tragic one: Saakashvili drove his country headlong into an unnecessary war, and Putin seems set to press forward with an even less necessary conflict — squandering a golden opportunity to reach final status in the Caucasus without destroying any shred of basic good will, or even begrudging patience, in the West.

Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Georgia-Russia War Time

James Poulos has got your coverage of the Georgia-Russia/Ossetia War. [I don’t know what the official title is going to be].

On Update VII, JP writes of Obama’s statement regarding the issue:

That puts him closer to the Bush administration line — that is, the line of restraint and evenhandedness — than McCain!

Further proof of my reverse Sidney Poitier theory of US prez foreign politics. Bush is moving to a quasi/de facto support of Obama’s view on Iraq, Iran, (Pakistan?) and Afghanistan, so why not on this one? McCain has consistently shown himself more hawkish than the somewhat chastened Bush of ’07 and ’08. And McCain’s long held crazy opposition/desire to saber rattle with Russia is well known.

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Russia Re-orthodoxizing

Story from the NyTimes on how Russia is turning the Russian Orthodox Church into the de facto state church as it was prior to the October 1917 Soviet Revolution.

During the Soviet era, the role played by Christian myth was officially played by dogmatic Marxism.  The Orthodox Church stayed underground.

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.  So said Tertullian in the 2nd century.  And so it was in Russia during the era of the Gulags and the shadow of Stalinist terror.

This new policy, a major initiative of Vladimir Putin, has its root in national power:

The relationship is grounded in part in a common nationalistic ideology dedicated to restoring Russia’s might after the disarray that followed the end of the Soviet Union. The church’s hostility toward Protestant groups, many of which are based in the United States or have large followings there, is tinged with the same anti-Western sentiment often voiced by Mr. Putin and other senior officials.

However once the church enters this Constantinian relationship (church-state union) takes over, the fervor of the church is soon to follow.  Caesars eventually realize it is better to co-opt Christians than to murder or persecute them.  They become more docile, more controllable. They fight amongst one another (see Orthodox-Protestant fights in story).

Russia is now re-learning this lesson as it must.

Russia is the textbook case of Spiral Dynamics, as I always say.   A blue feudal monarchical Orthodox system up until 1917, when a pathological modernist soviet command and control economy was imposed and industrialization force feed through the populace.  A persecution of the blue order, eroding the Orthodox Church (with dogmatic Marxism failing as an ideology).

When the Soviet system fell it went from orange to red, through the floor, leaving only the Gangster Mafia and the KGB in control (red tribes).  Meaning that over time to restore order (blue) over anarchy (red tribalism) Putin takes control of the state machinery, works with the Churches for legitimacy, cracks down on the tycoons, free press, democratic opposition, and the mafia.  Also plays hard throughout Eastern Europe as a sign of near-domestic regional power.

Look soon for stories coming out of massive corruption in the Orthodox Church as its lying in bed with Caesar will get it into serious trouble and sin.

Transfer of Power in Russia

Fascinating article on the hand-picked successor to Vladimir Putin, a man named Dmitri Medveded. Both gave speeches within the last few days. At first blush, looks like the two are playing a very shrewd game of good cop (Medveded)/bad cop (Putin).

“Freedom is better than non-freedom,” he said in his opening remarks, according to a transcript provided by his campaign. “These words are the quintessence of human experience.”

Mr. Medvedev, a young protégé of Mr. Putin, then expressed the notion more fully.

“The talk here is about freedom in all of its manifestations: about personal freedom, about economic freedom and at last about freedom of self-expression,” he said. He added, “Freedom is inseparable from the actual recognition of the power of law by citizens.”…

His declarations about the universal values of freedom in an election that is being stage-managed and in a speech before state journalists who are largely under the Kremlin’s sway immediately raised eyebrows in the West.

Another NyTimes article here on Putin’s speech.

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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