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house resolution 758Hopefully, Russians realize that our House of Representatives often passes thunderous resolutions to pander to special interests, which have no bearing on the thinking or actions of the U.S. government.

Last month, the House passed such a resolution 411-10.

As ex-Rep. Ron Paul writes, House Resolution 758 is so “full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War.”

House Resolution 758 is a Russophobic rant full of falsehoods and steeped in superpower hypocrisy.

Among the 43 particulars in the House indictment is this gem:

“The Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008.”

Bullhockey. On Aug. 7-8, 2008, Georgia invaded South Ossetia, a tiny province that had won its independence in the 1990s. Georgian artillery killed Russian peacekeepers, and the Georgian army poured in.

Only then did the Russian army enter South Ossetia and chase the Georgians back into their own country.

The aggressor of the Russo-Georgia war was not Vladimir Putin but President Mikheil Saakashvili, brought to power in 2004 in one of those color-coded revolutions we engineered in the Bush II decade.

H.R. 758 condemns the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia, which also broke from Georgia in the early 1990s, and in Transnistria, which broke from Moldova. But where is the evidence that the peoples of Transnistria, Abkhazia or South Ossetia want to return to Moldova or Georgia?

We seem to support every ethnic group that secedes from Russia, but no ethnic group that secedes from a successor state.

This is rank Russophobia masquerading as democratic principle.

What do the people of Crimea, Transnistria, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Luhansk or Donetsk want? Do we really know? Do we care?

And what have the Russians done to support secessionist movements to compare with our 78-day bombing of Serbia to rip away her cradle province of Kosovo, which had been Serbian land before we were a nation?

H.R. 758 charges Russia with an “invasion” of Crimea.

But there was no air, land or sea invasion. The Russians were already there by treaty and the reannexation of Crimea, which had belonged to Russia since Catherine the Great, was effected with no loss of life.

Compare how Putin retrieved Crimea, with the way Lincoln retrieved the seceded states of the Confederacy—a four-year war in which 620,000 Americans perished.

Russia is charged with using “trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure” and interfering in Ukraine’s “internal affairs.”

This is almost comical.

The U.S. has imposed trade barriers and sanctions on Russia, Belarus, Iran, Cuba, Burma, Congo, Sudan, and a host of other nations.

Economic sanctions are the first recourse of the American Empire.

And agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries, our NGOs and Cold War radios, RFE and Radio Liberty, exist to interfere in the internal affairs of countries whose regimes we dislike, with the end goal of “regime change.”

Was that not the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, along with John McCain, prancing around Kiev, urging insurgents to overthrow the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych?

Was Ms. Nuland not caught boasting about how the U.S. had invested $5 billion in the political reorientation of Ukraine, and identifying whom we wanted as prime minister when Yanukovych was overthrown?

H.R. 578 charges Russia with backing Syria’s Assad regime and providing it with weapons to use against “the Syrian people.”

But Assad’s principal enemies are the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate, and ISIS. They are not only his enemies, and Russia’s enemies, but our enemies. And we ourselves have become de facto allies of Assad with our air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

And what is Russia doing for its ally in Damascus, by arming it to resist ISIS secessionists, that we are not doing for our ally in Baghdad, also under attack by the Islamic State?

Have we not supported Kurdistan in its drive for autonomy? Have U.S. leaders not talked of a Kurdistan independent of Iraq?

H.R. 758 calls the President of Russia an “authoritarian” ruler of a corrupt regime that came to power through election fraud and rules by way of repression.

Is this fair, just or wise? After all, Putin has twice the approval rating in Russia as President Obama does here, not to mention the approval rating our Congress.

Damning Russian “aggression,” the House demands that Russia get out of Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria, calls on Obama to end all military cooperation with Russia, impose “visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions,” and send “lethal…defense articles” to Ukraine.

This is the sort of ultimatum that led to Pearl Harbor.

Why would a moral nation arm Ukraine to fight a longer and larger war with Russia that Kiev could not win, but that could end up costing the lives of ten of thousands more Ukrainians?

Those who produced this provocative resolution do not belong in charge of U.S. foreign policy, nor of America’s nuclear arsenal.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Republished with gracious permission of Pat Buchanan. 

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2 replies to this post
  1. Patrick Buchanan does not know Russian, has not spent a significant amount of time in Russia, and can only boast a second- or third-hand knowledge of Russian history. He had vigorously opposed the admission to NATO of Central European countries in 1999, the admission that allowed these countries to successfully rejoin European civilization and the free world. His present article reminds me of the eighteenth-century eulogies of the noble savage. If Mr. Buchanan really believes that the little Georgia was the aggressor against Russia in 1991 or 2008, I have a Brooklyn Bridge to sell.

  2. If the criteria for credibility are “knowing Russian, spending a significant amount of time in Russia and boasting a first rate knowledge of Russian history,” then I present TIC readers with an old account written during the war by a gentleman who fits the bill and who has not only been to Russia several times, but Georgia as well. The english language translation is mine:

    I write this in mid-August. It is difficult to concentrate on anything beyond the war in the Caucaus.History is once again on the march, trampling human beings, their dreams and spirits. Not unlike a similar moment five years ago, when the American invasion of Bagdad loomed over the horizon, I find myself waking up at night, turning on the computer and television and surfing various webpages and channels in an attempt to understand what is really going on there. I have friends on every side of this war. I have friends who are Russian, Georgian and Abhasian. We have often gone drinking together. My sincere hope is that the most traumatic events that color our common experience remain mere hangovers and toilet stalls that served as vomit stands.

    In contradistinction to the Iraq war, it is now somewhat easier to be an outside observer. One knows now that one ought not accept first impressions. One compares the British and the Russian press, the French and the American press. One contrasts these international accounts with the Polish press. In doing so, one is struck by the sense that each account describes a different event. The Russians talk of a Georgian-Ossetian war in which their role is merely that of a UN mandated peacekeeping force. The Georgians, using the Western press as their tube, contend that they were attacked by Russia, which is supposedly out to supress Georgian independence and destroy Georgia’s beloved Western European democracy. The Ossetians, this time through the Russian press, contend that their tiny nation faces extinction at the hands of the Georgian aggressor. What does it all mean? What is really going on there? It is times like these when one must reach back for a skill set common under communism: the ability to read between the lines. The People’s Tribune and other newspapers of our ancien regime were a priceless source of information under communism, provided one never treated letters or words too literaly.

    It was necessary to pay close attention to the hierarchy of information, style, euphamisms, even the font size and page placement. This methodology comes in very handy these days. Using this reading method, one can understand quite a bit or, at the very least, acquire useful and soothing doubts. For instance: who exactly is the wounded woman featured in the Western press services? Is she a victim of Russian aggression, or could she be a Cchinvali civilian who fell victim to Georgian aggression? What are the Russians doing in Georgia one week after the truce? What is the meaning of the clause in the cease fire truce negotiated by President Sarkozy allowing for the continuation of Russian security operations? Could the Russians be destroying or securing military infrastructure under this clause, thus explaining their extended stay on Georgian soil?

    It might explain it, but does not justify it. For the Western press, South Ossetia functions as a Russian protectorate in Georgia and the dislike of Georgians on the part of South Ossetians is explained as being the result of Russian manipulation. But just a moment – was it not independent Georgia’s first President, Zwiad Gamsachurdia, who in the early 1990s, first questioned the autonomy of this region and ordered the destruction of an Ossetian theater, Ossetian monuments and schools? Could those events not be at the heart of this decades long conflict? Polish television shows President Saakasvili’s speech about a “small European country which was attacked by a super power.” Interesting rhetoric: it was exactly the same argument as the one used ten years ago by Slobodan Milosevic when NATO bombed Yugoslavia.

    Perhaps I am going down a false trail, perhaps my conclusions are incorrect. Yet at the very least, I feel as though I have some potential paths to the truth at my disposal. These days, it’s not like 5 years ago when the media images of the first phase of the Iraq war were totally monopolized by American propaganda specialists. The “theater of operations” (and ‘theater’ is actually a good word for it) was exclusively at the disposal of properly accredited journalists. The best journalists were the ones who didn’t even want to go to Iraq, but prefered relating press conferences from Washington DC. From that perspective, the Iraq War looked more like Warcraft or Call of Duty and less like a bloody and stupid slaughter. It was one big show, and the stars were calling the shots, making decisions about lighting, make-up and proper authorization. That they also happened to be lying and used rather primitive arguments to make their points did not seem to matter. After all: the television audience is used to never expecting the truth from show business clowns. The pictures of Saddam Hussein having his teeth examined like a horse may have been beyond the bounds of decency, but who cares? The show must go on!

    Russia, insofar as show business goes, is unfortunately incapable of competing with the United States. It is the unfortunate nature of the Russian leadership to speak frankly and bluntly even. Russian leaders have been known to smash the podium with their shoes. Russians cannot keep their emotions in check. None of this makes for good television. That’s not how world politics is done. Historical analogies are more effective. The US Presidential candidate John McCain believes that the Georgian war is like the Prague Spring in 1968. Robert Kagan is reminded of the annexation of the Suddetenland in 1938. Zbigniew Brzeziński compares it to what Stalin and Hitler were up to in the 1930s. These are hard hitting images and comparissons perfect for prime time television. That the analogies are utterly sensless is beside the point. For in fact, if this war is reminiscent of anything from the past, it is actually nothing but a sad continuation of a 200 year tradition of Caucasian hostilies. Towards the begining of the XXth century, when the Prime Minister of Her Royal Highness’s government in Great Britain was notified of yet another case of Caucasians beating one another to a pulp, he had only one question: is the oil flowing uninterrupted? If so, let them rough eachother up if that’s their practice. These days, it’s not enough to keep the oil flowing. These days, the media circus must also be maintained. Georgia’s President Saakasvili understands this very well. That’s why Georgia’s PR is being handled by the Brussels based Aspect Consulting, whose man i Tibilisi, Mr. Patrick Worms, has his hands full nowadays. Mr. Worms eagerly encourages anyone who wishes to talk to important people in the Georgian government to get in touch with him at +32 495 244 611. On its websute, Aspect Consulting reminds potential clients that beyond serving the Georgian government, it also provides Public Relatioms services for Ferraro Chocolate and Kellogs cornflakes,

    Maciej Nowak

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