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Former Bush Advisor: Keep Calm and Submit to Putin

Paul J. Saunders channels Chamberlain in a fact-free Washington Post editorial.

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June 1, 2013 - 12:00 am
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The most important one: the price of oil. Russia wants it high, and America wants it low. Russia only talks about stability in the Middle East when one of its pet dictators is threatened; at other times it gives active support to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and does all it can to sow discord throughout the region — strife raises the oil prices. And then, of course, there’s the basic reality that Russia wants an entirely different kind of world than America does, one where tyrannical values rather than American ones hold sway.

Then Saunders actually issues a veiled threat, as if speaking on Putin’s behalf. He says that if we don’t submit to Putin’s will, Putin may begin sending even more dangerous weapons to Syria — or even combat troops. “Think Russia is already doing this? Think again.” He even implies that if we don’t bend over for Putin, he may start supporting al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Simply a blood-curdling read when coming from an American presidential adviser.

Saunders finishes with more lies. He claims Russia gave the U.S. warning about the Boston bombers, when in fact Russia withheld critical information about their communications that might have helped us intercept them — this is now the focus of a congressional investigation.

Saunders intones like a mantra the Kissingerian doctrine that “the highest moral standard is the standard of results, not intentions, hopes or statements.” He asks America to walk away from the stirring moral leadership of Ronald Reagan, who with his “evil empire” and “tear down this wall” speeches served as a great hope for millions of Eastern Europeans who dwelled in the Soviet shadows.

In his stead, Saunders urges us to follow Chamberlain, to beg Putin for mercy and hope for his good graces.

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All Comments   (6)
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Agree with some of this, but to say there are successful revolutions in Libya and Egypt? We were better off with Gadafi and Mubarak, now we have the muslim brotherhood, islamists.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Saunders admits that Russia and the U.S. have opposing interests, but he doesn’t name any."
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Lets see if I can help the poor misguided soul tic off a few: Russian interests in reestablishing the hegemony a la the USSR - and would relish lording it over all of Europe. Russians don't seem to much care for Jews - could that be their leading interests in the Middle East? Their policy seems to be saying just that. And the aforementioned energy policy where Russian interests are for higher the better oil prices. Just a few of the many conflicts in interests between the two countries.

Putin is the last in his line of the old USSR totalitarian style dictators - operating under the guise of democracy. He cannot pull the old USSR back together and it is quite likely that if left to its own devices what is left of Russia would crumble like the Balkans into many separate countries - and would not likely be a peaceful transition. Putin it seems would like to recapture something of the old USSR's glory days - a tough act for him since the 'core' of the old USSR was the ethnic whites - who's population numbers are dwindling.

As for Russia not being an enemy of the USA - I disagree. No country can have so many conflicts of interest with us and be called 'friend'. Putin and Russia have done nothing to warrant being called 'friend' by us. Friends do not 'buzz' each other with squadrons of Backfire Bombers or cruise a missile carrying sub just off your largest populations centers. These are the acts of a hostile nation. What is so hard to understand about that?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Saunders is a naive fool & certainly one of lenin's useful idiots.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I come down in the middle on this one. Russia is the last of the great European multinational empires. It has no democratic tradition. Under Communism the best elements of civil society were systematically exiled, butchered, imprisoned , isolated and marginalized for a 70 year period. Today, Russia is poor, the population is in sustained decline, the economy is dominated by criminal elements with roots in the KGB and the Communist Party. A large percentage of Russians long for the good old days when Uncle Joe ruled with a firm hand. Ethnic Russians live as minorities among hostile populations, often Muslim populations but even in the Baltic nations they are second-class citizens.

On the other hand the Communist ideology is dead. Russia is authoritarian but not longer totalitarian. And for the US this changes everything.

We cannot fix Russia. They are not allies but they are not our enemies. Their perceived interests conflict with ours. Where we can make a difference with respect to the human rights abuses in Russia we should do what we can. The behavior of the Russians in Syria is partly a consequence of our actions in Libya and our own dithering and incoherent policies in the region.

There is no simple and easy formula for dealing with Russia. Unlike Iran, they pose no direct threat. Neither are they reliable allies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charles, yours is a sensible, realistic, point of view. I would add that current events in Syria are a result of the US backing jihadis causing immense suffering to the Christians there. The Russians are right to take actions to prevent 'hotheads' (i.e., the US) from more mischief in Syria.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Trade builds ties to defeat war, and is a better way to win friends in Russia.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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