Mr. Walt’s No Contest redux: as background to the current Ukranian Crisis, a comment by Political Observer

Mr. Walt, in his essay of March 3,2014 titled No Contest wants to reassure his readers of his bourgeois political respectability, although at some points in his essay, the truth will out over that reassurance:

‘Mind you: I’m not defending Putin’s action or relishing Obama’s discomfiture. No one should take pleasure from this unilateral violation of international law or the likelihood that Ukraine faces more years of political instability and economic hardship.’

That is not the most pressing issue here, besides demonstrating Mr. Walt’s tough guy ‘political realism’ bs! Victoria Nuland wasn’t just passing out ‘pastries’ to protesters, she funneled six billion dollars of American money to the Ukrainian opposition, with political ally The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies a Neo-Con front group , that spent an estimated 100 million of it’s own. All this very inconsistent with the narrative supplied by the bourgeois politically respectable policy intellectual, of the hard headed realist variety. See this little meditation on the difference between ‘power’ and ‘interests’:

‘There’s plenty of room for finger-pointing and blame casting here, but the taproot of the debacle in Ukraine was a failure to distinguish between power and interests. Power is a useful thing to have in international politics, but any serious student of foreign policy knows that the stronger side does not always win. If it did, the United States would have won in Vietnam, would have persuaded India, Pakistan, and North Korea not to test nuclear weapons, and would have Afghan President Hamid Karzai dancing to our tune. In the real world, however, weaker states often care more about the outcome than stronger states do and are therefore willing to run more risks and incur larger costs to get what they want.’

He even supplies us with reasons for not being concerned with Ukraine:

Why? Because the United States will be fine no matter how things turn out. It has the power to act almost anywhere, but its vital interests are rarely fully engaged.
That is certainly the case in Ukraine, a country whose entire economy is about the size of Kentucky’s. Last year, total U.S. trade with Ukraine was a measly $3 billion, less than the city budget of Philadelphia and about .00018 percent of America’s gross domestic product (GDP). Ukraine’s political system has been a mess ever since independence in 1991 and its economy is nearly bankrupt and needs massive outside assistance. It would be nice if Ukraine developed effective political institutions, but n ‘either the security nor prosperity of the United States depend on that happening, either now or in the foreseeable future. Put simply: Ukraine is not an arena on which America’s future depends in the slightest.’

What did America expect, Putin to roll over?Again, Mr. Walt alludes to this but as an aside, he is much too cautious to give this full voice. Placing ABM’s at Russia’s border by NATO could be construed as an act of war! Nuland and her allies Rice and Power, are really of the same mind, because they believe in American Exceptionalism, it has the status of a Theology.
Here Mr. Walt expresses a truly pathetic pretentiously naive thought, a literary pose?:

‘I just wish someone in the administration had thought this through before they decided to help ease Yanukovych out of power. Did we really think that power politics was no longer relevant in the 21st century, and that the spread of democracy, free markets, rule of law, and all that other good stuff meant that other states were no longer willing to defend their own security interests?’

Followed by this bit of self-congratulation, on the efficacy/efficiency of ‘policy realism’, not a surprise:

‘Sadly, this case provides another vivid reminder of why tough-minded realism is a better guide to foreign policy than feckless liberal idealism or neoconservative bluster.’

Political Observer


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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