Monday, August 18, 2008

Nice Strawman, Fred


As Russian forces loot and occupy a neighboring state, conscripting Georgian civilians at gunpoint to sweep their city streets, it's not uncommon, in Moscow or in Washington, to find America at fault.

Russia has gone over to the dark side -- or, in the Moscow version, has finally stood up for itself -- in understandable reaction to U.S. disrespect, according to this view. And the next president should learn a lesson from this: that there are limits to how far Russia can or should be pushed.

This narrative of American provocation cites a long list of grievances, but the principal and original sin is NATO expansion. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States encouraged the newly free nations of Central and Eastern Europe to join a military alliance whose founding purpose had been containment of the U.S.S.R. Russia hated the idea from the start, and the United States should have known that Moscow, once it recovered its strength, would exact retribution.

So who are these mysterious hate-America-firsters who are peddling this narrative? Can we check out their claims, to see if Hiatt's fairly representing their arguments? Are any public figures of significance espousing this narrative, or are these simply random mutterings that Hiatt has heard secondhand, or from someone at a party?

How is this line of reasoning so important that Hiatt needs to rebut it, but not important enough for us to see the argument presented by those who espouse it?

No way of telling, is there?

No comments: