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Buchanan on Baiting Putin
Source Ken Hanly
Date 06/05/12/09:33

Why Are We Baiting Putin?
by Patrick J. Buchanan


"(N)o legitimate interest is served when oil and gas
become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by
supply management or attempt to monopolize
transportation," thundered Vice President Cheney to
the international pro-democracy conference in Vilnius,
Lithuania.

"(N)o one can justify actions that undermine the
territorial integrity of a neighbor, or interfere with
democratic movements."

Cheney's remarks were directed straight at the Kremlin
and President Vladimir Putin, who is to host the G-8
Conference in July.

Cheering Cheney on is John McCain, front-runner for
the GOP nomination, who has urged President Bush to
snub Putin by boycotting the G-8 summit. What the GOP
is thus offering the nation right now is seven more
years of in-your-face bellicosity in foreign policy.

What does McCain think we would accomplish other
than a new parading of our moral superiority by so
public an insult to Putin and Russia as a Bush boycott
of the St. Petersburg summit? Do we not have enough
trouble in this world, do we not have enough people
hating us and Bush that we have to get into Putin's
face and antagonize the largest nation on earth and a
co-equal nuclear power? What is the purpose of this
confrontation diplomacy? What does it accomplish?

Eisenhower and Nixon did not behave like this. Nor did
Ford or Bush's father. Reagan called the Soviet Union
an "evil empire" once. But the Soviet Union we
confronted in those years was hostile. Until lately,
today's Russia was not. Yet the Bush boys are in their
pulpits, admonishing the world's sinners every day.

What is their beef with Putin's policy?

In January, Putin decided to stop piping subsidized
gas to Kiev and start charging the market price.
Reason: Ukraine's president, elected with the
assistance of U.S. foundations and quasi-government
agencies, said he was reorienting Kiev's foreign
policy away from Russia and toward NATO and the United
States.

If you are headed for NATO, Putin was saying to
President Viktor Yushchenko, you can forget the
subsidized gas.

Now this is political hardball, but it is a game with
which America is not altogether unfamiliar. When
Castro reoriented his policy toward Moscow, Cuba's
sugar allotment was terminated. U.S. diplomats went
all over the world persuading nations not to buy from
or sell to Cuba. Economic sanctions on Havana endure
to today. We supported, over Reagan's veto, sanctions
on South Africa. We have used sanctions as a stick and
access to the U.S. market as a carrot since we became
a nation. What, after all, was "Dollar Diplomacy" all
about?

Cheney accuses Moscow of employing pipeline diplomacy
i.e., using its oil and gas pipelines to benefit
some nations and cut out others. But the United States
does the same thing, as it seeks to have the oil and
gas of Central Asia transmitted to the West in
pipelines that do not transit Iran or Russia.

"(N)o one can justify actions that undermine the
territorial integrity of a neighbor," declared Cheney
in Vilnius. How the vice president could deliver that
line with a straight face escapes me.

Does Cheney not recall our "Captive Nations
Resolutions," calling for the liberation of Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania, which, though free between the
two world wars, had long belonged to the Russian
empire? Does he not recall conservative support for
the breakup of the Soviet Union? Does he not recall
conservative support for the secession of Slovenia,
Croatia and Bosnia, and more recently Kosovo, from a
Serb-dominated Yugoslavia?

What concerns Cheney is Moscow's support for the
secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia.
Georgia's president was also elected with the aid of
pro-democracy NGOs, mostly funded by Uncle Sam. All
these color-coded revolutions in East Europe and
Central Asia bear the label, Made in the U.S.A.

When Cheney says, "No one can justify actions that ...
interfere with democratic movements," he is hauling
water for Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA Director
James Woolsey, and similar agencies, which Putin wants
shut down or kicked out of Russia for interfering in
her internal affairs.

We Americans consider the Monroe Doctrine no foreign
power is to come into our hemisphere to be holy
writ. Why, then, can we not understand why Russia
might react angrily to our interference in her
politics or the politics of former Russian republics?

The effect of U.S. expansion of NATO deep into Eastern
Europe, U.S. interference in the politics of the
former Soviet republics, and U.S. siting of military
bases in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
has been to unite Russia and China, and undo the
diplomacy of several successive U.S. presidents.

How has this made us more secure?

If we don't want these people in our backyard, what
are we doing in theirs? If we don't stop behaving like
the British Empire, we will end up like the British
Empire.

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