For more years than I can remember since 1992, I have wondered if the West squandered an opportunity to help bring democracy to Russia. Much like during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, when people accused others of “losing” Eastern Europe after WW2. It was a UVA Professor who was very influential to my thinking who said that Eastern Europe wasn’t ours to “lose” – the Soviets already occupied it. Although surely one could argue that a geopolitically naïve Franklin Roosevelt erred greatly in agreeing to let Stalin take Berlin – and have his spheres of influence. But then, the frail and dying Roosevelt believed Stalin when he promised to allow free elections.
But could Russia have evolved differently today had Boris Yeltsin had some more help and encouragement?
By lex, on March 28th, 2011
SecState Hillary Clinton has gone on the record to state that, despite being a tyrannical state sponsor of terrorism whose government is ruthlessly gunning down unarmed protesters in the street, Bashar al Asad’s Syria will be free from the kind of coalition attacks that have marked our foreign policy in Libya:
“No,” Clinton said when asked on the CBS program “Face the Nation” if the U.S. would intervene in Syria’s unrest. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s security forces clashed with protesters in several cities over the weekend after his promises of freedoms and pay increases failed to prevent dissent from spreading across the country.
Clinton said the elements that led to intervention in Libya — international condemnation, an Arab League call for action, a United Nations Security Council resolution — are “not going to happen” with Syria, in part because members of the U.S. Congress from both parties say they believe Assad is “a reformer.”
That, and Syria has no oil.
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Posted by lex, on Dwecember 22, 2010
The New York Times lauds North Korea’s “restraint” in responding to recent South Korean live fire drills near the border:
Posted by lex, on February 7, 2006
Continuing a proud tradition of pointing to the work of my betters (who anyway are getting paid for it) while the rest of the world is snapping at my heels, wondering if I haven’t anything better to do given the state the world is in than point to the work of my betters, I offer you this delectation from the routinely excellent Fouad Ajami:
Growing up throughout the Cold War, the beginnings, height, and end, I have strong memories of China under Mao.
I can remember a China isolated and considered an international pariah by the West. If you were from the West and found yourself in China you generally disappeared.
And life under Mao Zedong was extremely harsh for most Chinese. Historians sometimes wonder who killed more of their own people – Hitler or Stalin?
Chairman Mao is usually left out.
Through the 1966 Cultural Revolution, I have read that during his reign while of course no exact count exists, up to 100 million Chinese were killed since the revolution in 1949 to enforce his Communism.
When we stopped treating mainland China like a pariah that should be isolated, and trade opened up, we had high hopes.
It was thought that with trade opening up for China would come a liberalization for the government.
China was admitted to the WTO in 2001 following lengthy negotiations, amid widespread expectations that membership in the world body would ease its transition from a state-run to a market-oriented economy.
The Chinese are shameless at copying Western products. Some of the copies are comical and some sinister, with their pilfering through the Internet highly-classified technical documents. (which I have wondered why we put some of the most sensitive documents on the Internet, but what do I know?).
Apparently with at least one weapon, they somehow got the ingredients wrong, although the Jordanians aren’t saying much.
Since the end of World War II, Turkey has been a strong ally of the West. They field the second largest army in NATO. They were a good ally in the Korean War, and critical for us during the Cold War. The Air Force has had an important base there since the beginning of the Cold War, in addition to listening posts along the (then) Soviet border.
With the election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2014, there have been some fissures in this critical alliance. Turkish officials accused the U.S. in being complicit in a failed coup in 2016.
There have been disagreements over the US handling of Syria, and the policy over Iran.
For our part – we are facing a critical dilemma, all from the Turkish government’s ordering a Russian S-400 anti Aircraft system over a US or NATO anti aircraft system.
Francois Guillot | AFP | Getty Images
As heartbreaking as it is today, the thought came to me just now of a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia I took in the early 90s. We had traveled down the Volga River from Moscow to St Petersburg, and the highlight was, I believe, St Petersburg.
St. Petersburg, on the Neva River, the pride of the Tsars, was as beautiful as Moscow was drab. Even 75 years under the Communists could not completely extinguish its beauty. I have a book of prints I made, and one of these days I will have to scan them to post on the Net.