It's genuinely sad, and downright embarrassing, to see an American newspaper bungle an analysis of Russia as badly as the Boston Globe did with a recent editorial called "Russia's new (and old) plan."
The Globe started out by calling Russia a country "that bears little resemblance to either the vanished Soviet Union or the economic basket case of the immediate post-Soviet years." But in fact, that's idiotically false. Russia continues to be a country where the vast majority of the population suffers dire poverty, shockingly short lifespans and all manner of vice and pestilence. The average Russian man works for $4 an hour and doesn't live to see his 60th year. And Russia, by the Globe's own admission, is "run by a mafia of Kremlin-connected moguls and KGB veterans." If there's any dissimilarity from Soviet times, it's that the KGB has even more influence now.
The Globe then claimed that Russia wants a "strategic partnership" with the United States because it has "has an abiding interest in cooperating with the West." It sees confirmation of this in the fact that "Dmitry Medvedev released a document outlining Russia's new foreign policy strategy" that says so. But search the Globe's text from stem to stern: You will not find one single example of any "interest" that Russia shares with the United States.
Certainly, not a belief system. Russia has obliterated the last vestiges of democracy in a barbaric manner, replete with murders and intimidation. It has crushed the press, wiped out opposition parties, purged the Duma and conducted kangaroo elections that don't even pass the smell test for legitimacy.
Oil? True, Russia needs the West to buy its oil. But so did the USSR -- and it also needed to import lots of basic goods, especially food, that it couldn't produce itself. And none of that stopped the USSR from seeking to destroy us, just as it hasn't stopped Vladimir Putin from buzzing us with nuclear bombers and sending weapons to our enemies, like Iran and Venezuela.
Terrorism? Could the Globe possibly be suggesting that if we don't make nice with Russia, it will foment radical Islamic terrorism against us?
In essence, the Globe is calling upon the United States to abandon the people of Russia and its own core belief system in order to avoid confrontation and secure economic benefits. That's exactly the same approach Neville Chamberlain adopted towards Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain believed that if only we spoke respectfully to Hitler and treated him like an equal, acknowledging and responding to his "interests," then he would have no incentive to attack us and would not do so. Chamberlain was prepared to gamble with the lives of millions of people, both outside and inside Germany, betting that dropping our guard wouldn't leave us exposed and vulnerable.
Chamberlain was wrong, and so is the Boston Globe. The Globe is a failing institution, with a plummeting readership and a sea of red ink.
The Globe stated "Obama and McCain ought to be talking about their plans for the future of US-Russian relations" as if both were equally remiss in offering specifics about Russia. But in fact, that's simply false. McCain has a clear plan of action in regard to Russia which he has discussed on many occasions, Obama has none. Guess which candidate the Globe will endorse in the general election? Absolutely shameless partisanship.
The Globe contends: "President Bush needlessly provoked Russian paranoia by rushing to recognize Kosovo's independence without UN authorization or a negotiated deal between Serbia and the Kosovars." So let's see if we understand: Russia would have supported independence for Kosovo if only the UN had authorized it . . . which it never would have done because Russia has a veto there. This is what passes for "journalism" at an institution like the Globe? Meanwhile, what these bastards are actually saying is that we should sell out Kosovo just like we sold out Poland and Czechoslovakia in World War II, sacrifice them for our own convenience in the hope of appeasing Russia.
Is that sick or what? The word evil comes to mind.
The Globe asserts: "Bush and Bill Clinton both broke promises made to Russia at the end of the Cold War by expanding NATO toward Russia's borders. And Bush insists on deploying a missile defense system in Eastern Europe that is crucially flawed but nevertheless frightens the Kremlin." Is the Globe saying it has a better understanding of the merits of the system than Russia does? Or is it simply saying the Kremlin is insane and/or paranoid, and that we should accommodate that mentality? Whichever is the case, it's clear the Globe is not finished calling for appeasement! First we should submit to Russia on Kosovo, and now on missile defense! And in return what do we get?
Suppose Russia, which incidentally is ruled by a KGB spy as "president for life," doesn't come through after we "count on" it and sell out our allies? What will we have to console us then, an mighty apology from the Globe's editors? "Oops, sorry, our bad."
The notion that Russia would be capable of giving nuclear arms to Iran, of sending financial support to Hamas and Hezbollah, of arming Venezuela and Syria, of dispatching nuclear bombers to menace us with overflights, that Russia could hate us enough to do all that and yet give up its malignant intentions if we agree to buy it off is so ridiculously naive that it must be an embarrassment to every American citizen to see it so cravenly displayed in a major American paper.
And what about the people of Russia? Not a word from the Globe about the Kremlin's obliteration of the the press, opposition parties and elections. Apparently, the Globe would permit Russia any manner of draconian persecution of its own people, just as long as it stops threatening U.S. national security. What about the people of Georgia and Ukraine -- or for that matter, the Baltics, Poland and Czech Republic. Are these all to be consigned to Russia's "sphere of influence" that we mustn't disturb, lest Russia start sending suitcase nukes to Osama bin Laden?
In other words, instead of standing up for the values of democracy, the editors of the Boston Globe are selling it down the river, and at the same time asking us to drop our guard and allow Russia to become an even bigger threat, just as was done in regard to Nazi Germany.
Thankfully, the Globe (and its New York Times parent) is an utterly failed institution on the verge of bankruptcy. Its circulation and stock price have tanked and it is floating in a sea of debt and cutbacks. Flailing helplessly, it's actually rather amusing to watch it drowning in its own craven incompetence.