Saturday, May 06, 2006

War of Words with Russia

The belligerent Bush Administration never fails to amaze me with its bellicose bullying. This week they not only pushed forward with their plans to start a war with Iran, they also took some time to poke Russia in the eye.

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney, in remarks that caused a stir in neighboring Russia, Thursday accused President Vladimir Putin of restricting the rights of citizens and said that "no legitimate interest is served" by turning energy resources into implements of blackmail.

"In Russia today, opponents of reform are seeking to reverse the gains of the last decade," Cheney told a conference of Eastern European leaders whose countries once lived under Soviet oppression, and remain in Russia's shadow.


He said Russia has a choice to make when it comes to reform, and said that in many areas, "from religion and the news media to advocacy groups and political parties, the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of the people."

Other actions "have been counterproductive and could begin to affect relations with other countries," Cheney said, mentioning energy and border issues.

Now, this would be a little less brazenly bizarre if the U.S. hadn't just submitted an extremely controversial resolution to the U.N. Security Council on Iran's nuclear activities. This is obviously not a coincidence, and I highly doubt that Bush and Co. are stupid enough to think that they can bully and embarrass Russia into supporting the resolution, which the Russians are still sure to reject, as it will, IMO, do little but give the U.S. the green light to start overt hostilities with Iran.

The real purpose seems to me to be the further destruction of any semblance of credibility for the U.N., which the Bushies have been trying to destroy since they came to power, and esp. since they appointed "Screamy" John Bolton as their ambassador to the U.N. You would think that the Bushies would put their complete disgust for the U.N. (and anything else which would restrict their power on the world stage) on hold while they try and get some cover for their Iran actions, but I guess they believe they can kill two birds with one stone here- further crippling that pain-in-the-ass U.N. while ensuring that the eventual rejection of sanctions by the Security Council can be explained away at home and, possibly, to our international friends.

The other thing that is pretty bizarre about this episode is the nature of the criticisms against Russia. Either Bush and Co. have a really twisted sense of irony, or they are completely ignorant of how they are viewed at home and abroad by those who are not blinded by partisan ideology, bribed, or who have not bought 100% into their BS . For an intellectually honest person, it's a little hard to call Russia out on abuses of power, when we have condoned and administer torture, when we have shown nothing but disdain for any international treaties that do not enhance our immediate interests, when Bush has basically told Congress that they cannot restrict his power, when the Bush Administration conducts illegal warranties surveillance of its own citizens, when it allows the FBI to spy on groups opposed to it's war, etc. (the list really does go on, and on, and on...).

There was a time when the U.S. had the moral authority to speak out against the abuses of power of other governments, but the Bush Administration has done everything that it could to destroy our moral standing. And now all we are left with is the ability to throw around our weight like the 200-lb Gorilla that we are (in terms of raw physical power). Unfortunately for us all, that physical power has serious limits, and every day we are pushing against those limits tempting the fates to give our nation the lesson that so many powerful nations before us have learned the hard way. By advocating for constant war, and by destroying the levies that hold back the destructive waters of time, we have opened ourselves up for precipitous decline.

Crossposted at Blue Force | National Security Progressives, Progressive National Security

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