- Must we crowd Russia, the largest country in the world, still a “nuculer” power, with Westerners still trying to control it and take advantage of it just like in the 17-1800s? At least during the Cold War the West was considered to be counterbalanced by the Communist world….
- Remember high school history? It’s a commonplace that one of the things that made World War 1 possible was that day’s military alliances, almost like the war, or the size it became, was an accident. The alliances were too cute by half, as we Irish say. Today, will expanding NATO eastward entangle the West in the petty ethnic nationalisms of Russia and its neighbors, like Georgia and Ukraine and the Baltics? Will we end up with WW3 yet?!!!
I’m Orthodox Christian and demand America get over its Eastern-European blindspot. Remember that Orthodox Christians, Eastern Catholics, even eastern Latin Catholics, Muslims, etc., never had a Reformation or Enlightenment, and Modernity was forced on them by Communism (from the West, if you remember!). Rightly or wrongly, ethnicity or tribe or blood or nation (in the old sense) or father- / motherland, even religion, still mean to them what they meant to the West many generations ago.
I’m not saying to let Russia have its way with its neighbors carte blanche, nor vice-versa. But it’s incredibly provocative and foolhardy to tie ourselves to troubles there by Treaty, “the highest law of the land.” It’s bad enough we have Presidents who go to war without a State of War declared by the lawful authority, Congress. But in NATO “an attack against one is an attack against all / us”!!! (Though it’s laughable that WE are the only power to ever activate the North Atlantic Treaty, after 9/11, when we weren’t even attacked by a country. What are we, Luxembourg?) Our first national interest is peace and security; this is increasingly not being served by our post-Cold-War policies. Unless our real “interest” is Russian conquest and Liberalization and Protestantization, Americanization, Westernization, corporatization, Snickerizatsiya.
We need to respect Russia. We need to return to diplomacy, public but also discreet. (Not just “expecting” and shaming and pushing leaders around publicly.) We need competent, non-ideological experts and advisers about parts of the world we’re unfamiliar with … including a depoliticized Intelligence function – “independent,” like the independent judiciary – taken seriously and not just used for partisan, ideological, or corporate purposes. (How about an semi-independent Intelligence Czar like the independent Comptroller General / GAO?) We need Congressional equality, assertiveness, oversight, and expertise. We need to stop insisting that other countries or civilizations or religions become just like us / ours; we need to accept difference in others.* Pluralism, what a concept!
Anyway, who agreed to turn a military alliance into one pushing certain forms of government or economics or religion, or a World Police Force (ie, European / American Police Force!)???
(*–Ironically, the Bible itself and scholars say the sin of Sodom wasn’t homosexuality, but the gang-rape of strangers, like the angels in the Genesis account: “rape as public policy” as I heard one scholar call it. Supposedly the idea was to make the unfamiliar visitor ‘familiar’ and ‘like us.’ Bush “sodomizes” Putin, Kim Jong Il, Saddam, Ahmadinejad…!)