By David Stockman
In just 800 words Pat Buchanan exposes the sheer juvenile delinquency embodied in Washingtonâ€™s current Ukrainian fiasco. He accomplishes this by reminding us of the sober restraint that governed the actions of American Presidents from FDR to Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush I with respect to Eastern Europe during far more perilous times.
In a word, as much as they abhorred the brutal Soviet repression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, the Prague Spring in 1968 and the solidarity movement in Poland in the early 1980s, among many other such incidents, they did not threaten war for one simple reason: These unfortunate episodes did not further endanger Americaâ€™s national security. Instead, in different ways each of these Presidents searched for avenues of engagement with the often disagreeable and belligerent leaders of the Soviet Empire because they â€œfelt that America could not remain isolated from the rulers of the worldâ€™s largest nationâ€.
Accordingly, during the entire span from 1933, when FDR recognized the Soviet Union, until 1991, when it ended, the US never once claimed Ukraineâ€™s independence was part of its foreign policy agenda or a vital national security interest. Why in the world, therefore, should we be meddling in the backyard of a far less threatening Russia today?
More importantly, if Ike could invite Khrushchev to tour America and pow-wow with him at Camp David after the suppression of the Hungarian freedom fighters and his bluster over Berlin, what in the world is Obama doing attempting to demonize Putin and make him an international pariah? The fact is, Crimea had been part of Russia for 200 years, and the Donbas had been its Russian-speaking coal, steel and industrial heartland since the time of Stalin.
Putinâ€™s disagreements with the Ukrainian nationalists who took over Kiev during the Washington inspired overthrow of its constitutionally-elected government in February are his legitimate geo-political business, but have nothing to do with our national security. And whatever his considerable faults, Putin is no totalitarian menace even remotely in the same league as his Soviet predecessors. In that regard, Hillary Clintonâ€™s sophomoric comparison of him to Hitler is downright preposterous.
At the heart of the matter is the War Partyâ€™s desire to punish Putin for pushing back against American interventionism in Syria, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. For that Washington has now ensnared itself in an ancient ethnic struggle that has roiled Russiaâ€™s borders for centuries; and has landed smack in the middle of an attempt by Kievâ€™s nationalists to violently maintain the â€œterritorial integrityâ€ of a nation whoâ€™s boundaries have been meandering all over the map since the middle ages.
In that context, Senator John McCainâ€™s call to arm the ruffians, opportunists, oligarchs and neo-fascists who took power in a street level coup in Kiev is downright lunatic. It causes Buchanan to ask, â€œWho is the real problem here?â€
The answer is that itâ€™s not Putin, and that conclusion comes from a brilliant partisan scholar of 20th century foreign policy who is no left-wing pacifist.
See: Is Putin Worse Than Stalin?, by Pat Buchanan.
David Stockman is the author of the New York Times best-seller, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America (2013), Stockman lays out how the U.S. has devolved from a free market economy into one fatally deformed by Washingtonâ€™s endless fiscal largesse, K-street lobbies and Fed sponsored bailouts and printing press money.
Read more at: David Stockmans Contra Corner