Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Mr. ‘X’ Is Rolling in His Grave

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2022

As it happened, the Donald turned out to be the GOP’s final gift to the military-industrial complex. Because he fell hook, line and sinker for the eroded “readiness” canard (which they had pulled on Ronald Reagan, too), Trump ended up restoring real defense spending to near record levels of $674 billion ( constant 2012 $) – even as he foolishly harassed the rest of NATO to spend even more.

By David Stockman

David Stockman’s Contra Corner

We are now deep into the weeds with respect to Ukraine. So deep, in fact, that the underlying architecture of the situation doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in the hot place of getting even a fleeting mention in the 24/7 war news cycle.

So let’s call a spade a spade. The current fraught situation has nothing at all to do with the rule of international law or the sovereignty of national borders or the spread of democracy; and certainly not even remotely with any kind of threat to the safety and security of the American homeland posed by Russia.

To the contrary, it all goes back to the fall of 1991 when the old Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history, but the Washington-based military industrial complex refused to go quietly into the good night. Instead, it busied itself with policing the far-flung precincts of the planet as if the Cold War had not even ended, and extending Washington’s hegemony to any and every vacuum left behind by the vanished Soviet Union and its former satellites, allies and vassals.

Foremost among these misbegotten projects was the perpetuation of NATO and its subsequent extension to most of the former Warsaw Pact nations. At the time the senate approved the treaty admitting the first three new members – Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic – in 1998, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman had the good sense to track down the single wisest voice in America about the matter.

We are referring, of course, to the legendary George F. Kennan, who had been ambassador to Russia during the Stalinist era and had authored the famous “X” article in Foreign Affairs published in 1947. The latter laid out the subsequent US policy of Soviet “containment” and the was the foundational document for the creation of NATO in 1949.

Needless to say, the then aging Kennan delivered the (then) youngish NYT columnist an earful – one which literally echoes down through the ages. Kennan virtually predicted today’s insane brink of war with Russia:

“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ”I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.”

“What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,” added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ”X,” defined America’s cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ”I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.

“And Russia’s democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we’ve just signed up to defend from Russia,” said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952. “It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are – but this is just wrong.”

Moreover, in one of the few insightful things he has ever penned, Tom Friedman hit the nail on the head with respect to the utter foolishness of the US Senate:

And what was America’s response? It was to expand the NATO cold-war alliance against Russia and bring it closer to Russia’s borders.

Yes, tell your children, and your children’s children, that you lived in the age of Bill Clinton and William Cohen, the age of Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, the age of Trent Lott and Joe Lieberman, and you too were present at the creation of the post-cold-war order, when these foreign policy Titans put their heads together and produced . . . a mouse.

We are in the age of midgets. The only good news is that we got here in one piece because there was another age – one of great statesmen who had both imagination and courage.

See the rest here

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