It's Russophilia to think that Russian claims to dictate what neighboring countries do or don't do in pursuit of their self-defense have merit. Well, if it's not Russophilia, I don't know what it is - stupidity? evilness? - Russophilia was in fact the best spin I could put on it.
Of course Russia doesn't want potential threats on their doorstep. I too 'recognize' that. But what "potential threats" would those be in this case? Nato, a defensive alliance? Defensive anti-missile-defense sites in Poland? I recognize that to hear Russian politicians talk, it's unclear that the Russian language has a word for 'defense' as distinct from 'offense' - but the English language certainly does, and you've demonstrated that you read/understand English, so go ahead, explain to me how any of these defensive measures add up to a "potential threat" to Russia.
As for recognizing that Russia "will not tolerate" these occurrences, well I recognize even that too. My point however would be that they are wrong not to tolerate it, have no right not to tolerate it, and need to learn this sooner or later. Your point, I take it, is that it's perfectly okay for Russia to create lists of innocent activities by neighboring sovereign countries which they "will not tolerate", and throw tantrums when the rest of the world en masse doesn't obey those lists. Again, if this attitude of yours towards Russia doesn't come from some sort of Russophilia, I am unable to credit what can possibly lie at its root.
It's also coming up with potential alternative solutions for the US to deal with Russia, other than blowing it -- and potentially us -- off the planet.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I haven't seen anyone here suggest blowing Russia off the planet. What are you talking about?
I'm all for solutions that don't involve blowing Russia off the planet. This need not involving, er, blowing Russia however. It's possible to form the accurate and moral judgment "Russia is in the wrong" without being a planet-blower-offer. Does this weird Russia-subservience come simply from fear, then? You're afraid that if you were ever to admit that Russia was in the wrong about something - no matter how power-grabbing and imperial - that might lend credence to the blow-them-off-the-planet solution that everyone else is supposedly pursuing? Is that it?
How does all this posturing with Russia really benefit America?
What "posturing with Russia"? Russia's done an evil crappy power-grabbing thing and goddamit anyone with a brain and an ounce of integrity ought to be able to recognize it and say so. "How does it benefit America" to say so? I don't know how to answer that specifically; on a broader and more ethereal level though, I guess I like to think that free individiuals exchanging ideas and judgments and truths based on morality and justice benefits America. You?
And are there better and more intelligent strategies than continual political and possible military confrontation?
Maybe, but even if there were, that wouldn't make Russia right. Are you unable to separate the issues (1) whether Russia is right and justified in what she's doing and (2) whether we out to 'make a deal' with her out of realpolitik? Because they are really separate issues, you know.
Or are we just going beat our chests like apes at each other until somebody blinks?
"beat our chests like apes"? I'd really like to understand what you're talking about, but you seem to be making up out of whole cloth about 50% of what you're purportedly responding to. This makes it difficult. It seems to happen in all such threads in which I encounter this type of Russophile. Why is that?
And it's the wrong "spin"
To most of us who lived through the Cold War era, we might have hated what the Soviets did and hated communism even more viscerally than anyone, but we did not hate Russia or Russians. Communism is a political ideology, not an ethnicity. The author is correct on this, we saw communism as the enemy and wanted to be friends with Russia, if only they'd get rid of communism -- largely because we recognized that there were three great powers in the world at the time -- us, Russia and China -- and China was well, China -- unlike us at every level, historically, in terms of religious heritage, race, and cultural outlook -- in short, destined to be a perpetual "other" to us.
"Of course Russia doesn't want potential threats on their doorstep. I too 'recognize' that. But what "potential threats" would those be in this case? Nato, a defensive alliance? Defensive anti-missile-defense sites in Poland? "
NATO was chartered as "a defensive organization" (against the SU during the Cold War), but it broke its own charter in 1999 with the 78 day NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia. That told everyone that NATO was no longer about "defense of NATO nations" -- it was a military force for world government.
"Defensive anti-missile-defense sites in Poland?"
That's like saying, "Don't mind the gun that I have pointed at your head, it's only for defense." That's not just an insult to Russian intelligence, it's an insult to everyone's intelligence.
"the English language certainly does, and you've demonstrated that you read/understand English..."
Yes, English is my native language, because I was born and raised in Fresno, CA, with no "connection to Russia" -- other than being family friends with the Stanford Professor who was the father of Russian and Eastern European Studies at Stanford.
"Does this weird Russia-subservience come simply from fear, then?"
With this neocon ideology, everyone is either "on top" or "on the bottom", "dominating or being dominated" -- it's completely narcissistic and childish.
Russia is and has always been "a power" in the Caucuses and beyond. The fall of communism may temporarily weakened them, and the subservient Gorby and "Yeltsin, the dancing, drunken Bear" image, were just a temporary aberration for anyone with sense of history. Putin IS the real Russia. And like it or not, that is what we need to deal with.
If anyone is truly concerned about the people of Georgia, the Ukraine and that neighborhood, then we need to partner with Russia to make it safe -- based on rule of law, not arbitrary standards that say that we can do what we want, anytime we want and we will continue to use those NATO members near Russia as pawns in our game of Russian Roulette.
"I'm all for solutions that don't involve blowing Russia off the planet."
If we keep pushing and encircling Russia in this needless game of chicken, sooner or later we are going to have a military confrontation. The neocon visceral hate of things Russian, is going to push us there. And it is not just dangerous, it's stupid.
"What "posturing with Russia"? Russia's done an evil crappy power-grabbing thing and goddamit anyone with a brain and an ounce of integrity ought to be able to recognize it and say so."
There is a difference between understanding why Russia did what it did, and defending Russian actions. We are pushing Russia as far as we can and seeing what her limits are, and we just found out. Georgia is so far into our pocket, that she wouldn't have dared make the move she did without us OKing it. To Russia, Georgia (who we have been arming to the teeth for the last several years) is just "an American proxy". If Georgia had been in NATO, which is what we have been pushing (and Germany was the main hold-out), we would be in a military (nuclear) confrontation with Russia right now. So the "blowing each other off the planet" scenario is not as far-fetched as you'd like to think.
The difference between traditional conservatives and neocons, which the author later said didn't make it in the article but should have, was that traditional Conservatives during the Cold War were "largely Catholic" -- and that meant certain cultural values in traditional Conservatism were the Golden Rule and a sense of humility about our limits in "changing the world". Traditional Conservatives respected that the world was the way it was and there were limits to what we could change -- and someone's history and culture were NOT among them -- the point was to create a safe space in America to live in freedom and lead by example.
But neocons didn't and don't see it that way -- they see the world as raw material for a makeover into little "mini-me's" and anyone who gets in the way of that is the enemy. Neocons start wars, that Traditional Conservatives usually ended with, "let's make a deal, tell me your interests and I'll tell you mine and let's figure something out". We weren't out to save the world -- we were and are out to save America.
As I said before, Communism is not an ethnicity, it is an ideology -- as is globalism. While the American people are the least imperialistic people on the face of the earth, I believe that there are corrupt globalist elements influencing our government who are imperialists -- and we have let them run hog wild. We've let them use America to further their financial and political interests and not America's. And to has to how this affects the Russian/Georgian situation, ask Randy Scheunemann.
We have more to fear from inside our American political process these days, than we do from Russia, or (non-Muslim) anywhere else.
This election we have a choice between "soft socialism" (a lie in itself) in Obama, or McCain, whose own chief foreign policy adviser was selling American foreign policy on the open market. But because McCain is "our guy", we are looking the other way, instead of cleaning house as we should.
The day that America's foreign policy is "for sale to the highest bidder", then none of the world will make sense to us or anyone else -- including Russia -- and we will be more vulnerable than safe no matter how many wars we are willing to fight.