Russia, Ukraine and ‘US Prestige’


Pundits worry about US ‘prestige’ and the weakness of Barack Obama.


WikiLeaks Shows Diplomats Lie to Themselves Before They Lie to Journalists

Today (12/2/10) the New York Times has another report based on the latest WikiLeaks cables. The focus is on U.S. policy toward the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and the upshot is that diplomats based there exercised little to no scrutiny of the claims made by Georgian government regarding South Ossetia and Russia. The conflict there led eventually to a brief war in 2008, which was often inaccurately portrayed in U.S. media as unprovoked Russian aggression against a U.S. ally. The Times reports: The cables show that for several years, as Georgia entered an escalating contest with the Kremlin for […]


‘Sane and Moderate’ or ‘Feudal’?

It is a hallmark of a sane and moderate society that when it changes leaders and regimes, those left behind should be abandoned to the judgment of history. It is in savage societies that the defeat of a ruling faction entails its humiliation, exile and murder. –Charles Fried, New York Times op-ed page (10/11/09) <!–preview-break–> Russia is so feudal in its system of patronage and reward that it is virtually impossible for a leader to hand over power without controlling his successor or at least receiving an exemption from prosecution–something Mr. Putin granted his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, in 1999. –Simon […]