I’m in pretty strong disagreement with Enrevanche here at this post (my position is more like this take). Buchanan just put out a risible book blaming WWII on Churchill and those evil Allies; this is merely an extension of same.
Kevin Drum, a guy who I don’t always agree with, said something useful:
I’ve read variations on this theme about a hundred times now, and I really feel like some pushback is in order. The idea that we somehow prompted Mikheil Saakashvili to undertake his invasion of South Ossetia last week just doesn’t bear scrutiny.
Look: Saakashvili came to power on a Georgian nationalist platform of recovering Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He’s been jonesing for an excuse to send troops in for years, regardless of anything the U.S. did or didn’t do. Likewise, Putin has been eagerly waiting for an excuse to pound the crap out of him in return — again, regardless of anything the U.S. did or didn’t do. (You don’t think Russia was able to mount a highly precise counterattack within 24 hours just by coincidence, do you?)
Now sure, in general, Kosovo + missile shield + NATO enlargement + resurgent Russian nationalism formed the background for this war, and maybe the U.S. has played a bad hand on this score. But Bush administration officials have said for months (i.e., before the war started, meaning this isn’t just post hoc ass covering) that they’ve urged Saakashvili to stay cool. And I believe them. What else would they do, after all? There was never any chance that we were going to provide Georgia with military help in case of a Russian invasion, and it’s improbable in the extreme that anyone on our side said anything to suggest otherwise.
We did screw up in a couple of places; for instance:
- we publicly announced we were pulling out of the Med
Less than a year ago, the 6th Fleet Commander declared that we no longer needed naval forces in the Mediterranean. Just after his tour finished, the Russians deployed into the North Atlantic and the Med. I’ll bet you a vodka martini on the rocks with six olives at the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton lobby bar that Moscow read his remarks before deciding to deploy. C6FLT presented the North Sea Fleet commander an intellectual and geostrategic gap of historic proportions that was too good to pass up.
- …and in a masterpiece of screwing up information flow much less information warfare, the feckless Broadcasting Board of Governors turned off VOA ten days before the initial attack. (I’m not impressed by the BBG, from their counterproductive efforts into Iran to the, uh, hard hitting Radio Sawa instead of Radio Free Sharq-Al-Awsat. Let’s make BBG go away by reverting to what we used to do.)
So yeah, we’ve some some stupid stuff here. Pat Buchanan, however, is still an anti-Semitic, quasi-isolationist annoyance who should be avoided when he spouts how things are all our fault.