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Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet

Vladimir Bukovsky on Obama’s foreign policy blunders

Vladimir Bukovsky is one of my heroes. He’s an ex-Soviet dissident who exposed massive abuse of psychiatry for political purposes in the USSR and spent years in Gulag. He wrote a few great books and compiled famous Soviet Archives, exposing bloody guts and long tentacles of the Soviet system. In short, when he speaks, rookies should listen and learn: Pressing the False-Start Button


After all, the voters had voted for ‘change’ without asking ‘change from what to what?’ And democracy is all about implementing the will of the people, however unclear it may seem.

Apparently, it was in this spirit that an appropriate team was instructed to work out a new foreign policy for the new era. Nowadays, the first step towards any new policy is to invent a good sound-byte, and here it was: ‘it is time to press the reset button’. … the inscription ‘reset’ had been mistranslated into Russian, so, in actual event, Mrs. Clinton had to press the wrong button.

Whatever the right Farsi word for ‘reset’ may be, the general meaning of those signals was understood in Moscow and Tehran in pretty similar ways. Both regimes responded in the classical manner of victors accepting capitulation: they expressed their discreet satisfaction with the opponent’s ‘realism’, and then began dictating conditions. In their view, it is certainly for the United States to change their policies, not for Russia or Iran. The Russian officials say that, if Washington seriously wants to improve relations, they should start from breaking their anti-missile defence treaty with Poland. Iran, in turn, demands the US to stop supporting Israel and to stop making noises about Iran’s nuclear program and sponsorship of terrorists… In brief – to quote from One, Two, Three, a forgotten but brilliant comedy movie of the 1960s – diplomacy is all about give and take: you give, and we take.

Is Moscow now forgiven for the invasion of Georgia and the annexation of its territory? For the aggression against Britain by assassinating a British citizen, Alexander Litvinenko, on British soil, in a nuclear terrorist attack? For the wide-ranging subversive activities against Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova? For genocide in Chechnya? For arms supplies to Islamic terrorists? It is difficult to see what else a ‘reset’ may mean, and in any case, this is certainly how it is understood in the Kremlin.

But even if they would recant their crimes, the moral right to forgive them – or not – belongs not to the White House or State Department, but to the victims. If the Administration is offering those huge concessions to the hostile regimes without agreeing them with allies, this is irresponsible and treacherous.

One has to hold the public in utter contempt to try and sell the same rubbish to the same generation three times. Even more so – to present it every time as something novel and unprecedented. Indeed, none of these people can explain how their ‘reset’ is any different from the appeasement of 1930s, the détente of 1970s, and the joint US-Russian ‘war on terror’ of the 2000s.

Unless this policy is abandoned soon enough, its future results are quite predictable. We remember how the appeasement led to a world war, the detente – to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the gaze into Putin’s eyes – to the attack on Britain and the invasion of Georgia. It is a pity noone has told this to the State Department (or whoever has re-invented it this time). In places like Moscow and Tehran, friendly gestures will be taken as an invitation to choose the next victim.

The emphasis is mine. Read the whole article

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April 5, 2009 - Posted by | US foreign policy | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Bukovsky on Obama – redux If you don’t know who Vladimir Bukovsky is, follow links at Vladimir Bukovsky on Obama’s foreign policy blunders. Today, FrontPageMag has an interview with V.B. entitled The Kremlin’s Obama Gambit […]

    Pingback by Vladimir Bukovsky on Obama - redux « politinfo | April 24, 2009 | Reply


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