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05/24/2018

McCain on Putin

In a recent essay titled: “Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man” for the Wall Street Journal, Arizona Rep. Sen. John McCain wrote some of the following, which long-time readers of StocksandNews and “Week in Review” should recognize.

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“I have been an equal-opportunity skeptic of four administrations’ policies toward Russia. I’ve gotten plenty of things wrong in a long political career.  Putin isn’t one of them.

“I made a speech on the Senate floor in 1996, after I returned from a trip alarmed by Russian attitudes, and warned of ‘Russian nostalgia for empire.’  I urged an early and rapid expansion of NATO to include the former Baltic republics and Warsaw-bloc countries, who prudently feared an imperial restoration. I, too, feared what was coming, and my pessimism was out of step with the optimism that colored most expectations for the post-Cold War U.S.-Russia relationship.

“But that optimism was premised on a short view of Russian history, a view limited to Russia’s 73 years of Communist Party rule.  Resentment and insecurity had been powerful drivers of Russian history for centuries. An ideological component was added for three-quarters of the 20th century, a mere blip. When the ideology failed, it was abandoned. The other pathologies are more deeply rooted.

“In June 1999, after a 78-day NATO air campaign against Servia, the government of Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw its forces from Kosovo and to accept a NATO peacekeeping force there. When U.S. diplomats heard rumors that Russia would send its own peacekeeping force without coordinating its deployment with NATO, Putin (who was then serving as President Boris Yeltsin’s national security adviser) assured them that nothing of the kind was planned. That same day an armored column carrying more than 200 Russian paratroopers arrived at the airport in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. A British peacekeeping force arrived the next day, and the ensuing standoff resulted in public divisions between NATO allies, when the British force commander refused an order from NATO’s American commander, Gen. Wes Clark, to block the runways to prevent Russian reinforcement.

“Three months later, in Putin’s first weeks as prime minister, bomb explosions destroyed apartment buildings in three Russian cities, including Moscow.  Putin used the incident as grounds for starting a second Chechen war and ordered the bombing of Grozny, Chechnya’s capital. The inhumanity of the Russian assault was stunning. No caution, no discrimination, no trials, brutal and merciless.  Just kill people, fighters and civilians, and don’t worry about the difference.”

Just a snippet of McCain’s lengthy essay.  I couldn’t agree more.

Hot Spots returns in a few weeks.

Brian Trumbore



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Hot Spots

05/24/2018

McCain on Putin

In a recent essay titled: “Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man” for the Wall Street Journal, Arizona Rep. Sen. John McCain wrote some of the following, which long-time readers of StocksandNews and “Week in Review” should recognize.

---

“I have been an equal-opportunity skeptic of four administrations’ policies toward Russia. I’ve gotten plenty of things wrong in a long political career.  Putin isn’t one of them.

“I made a speech on the Senate floor in 1996, after I returned from a trip alarmed by Russian attitudes, and warned of ‘Russian nostalgia for empire.’  I urged an early and rapid expansion of NATO to include the former Baltic republics and Warsaw-bloc countries, who prudently feared an imperial restoration. I, too, feared what was coming, and my pessimism was out of step with the optimism that colored most expectations for the post-Cold War U.S.-Russia relationship.

“But that optimism was premised on a short view of Russian history, a view limited to Russia’s 73 years of Communist Party rule.  Resentment and insecurity had been powerful drivers of Russian history for centuries. An ideological component was added for three-quarters of the 20th century, a mere blip. When the ideology failed, it was abandoned. The other pathologies are more deeply rooted.

“In June 1999, after a 78-day NATO air campaign against Servia, the government of Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw its forces from Kosovo and to accept a NATO peacekeeping force there. When U.S. diplomats heard rumors that Russia would send its own peacekeeping force without coordinating its deployment with NATO, Putin (who was then serving as President Boris Yeltsin’s national security adviser) assured them that nothing of the kind was planned. That same day an armored column carrying more than 200 Russian paratroopers arrived at the airport in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. A British peacekeeping force arrived the next day, and the ensuing standoff resulted in public divisions between NATO allies, when the British force commander refused an order from NATO’s American commander, Gen. Wes Clark, to block the runways to prevent Russian reinforcement.

“Three months later, in Putin’s first weeks as prime minister, bomb explosions destroyed apartment buildings in three Russian cities, including Moscow.  Putin used the incident as grounds for starting a second Chechen war and ordered the bombing of Grozny, Chechnya’s capital. The inhumanity of the Russian assault was stunning. No caution, no discrimination, no trials, brutal and merciless.  Just kill people, fighters and civilians, and don’t worry about the difference.”

Just a snippet of McCain’s lengthy essay.  I couldn’t agree more.

Hot Spots returns in a few weeks.

Brian Trumbore