John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Putin Apologist

Posted on August 19, 2008

 


 


            Pat Buchanan wrote today in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “The arrogant folly of the architects of U.S. post-Cold War policy is today on display. By bringing three ex-Soviet republics into NATO, we have moved the U.S. red line for war from the Elbe almost to within artillery range of the old Leningrad.  Should America admit Ukraine into NATO, Yalta, vacation resort of the czars, will be a NATO port and Sevastopol, traditional home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, will become a naval base for the U.S. Sixth Fleet. This is altogether a bridge too far.”


            He then goes on to say, “Vladimir Putin is no Stalin. He is a nationalist determined, as ruler of a proud and powerful country, to assert his nation's primacy in its own sphere, just as U.S. presidents from James Monroe to Bush have done on our side of the Atlantic. A resurgent Russia is no threat to any vital interests of the United States. It is a threat to an American Empire that presumes some God-given right to plant U.S. military power in the backyard or on the front porch of Mother Russia.”


            Pat Buchanan used to be a hero of mine.  He used to be cold-warrior who despised the Soviet Union and loved freedom.  He was one of Reagan’s great communicators.  He was a battler for Reagan conservatism on Crossfire, that venerable CNN show. 


            But somewhere along the way, Pat Buchanan lost his way.  He has slowly walked away from major tenets of Reagan conservatism.  Reagan believed in the free-market, free trade and the concept of freedom.  That is why he despised Soviet Russia so much.  


            But Buchanan has turned his back on the Reagan legacy by embracing Vladimir Putin.


            Maybe the Presidential runs have gone to his head.


Buchanan started losing me when he abandoned free-trade, and became a protectionist. 


But now, he has become an apologist for Vladimir Putin and his corrupt regime.  Putin is no democrat and he is not merely a nationalist.  He is running a kleptocracy, and his invasion of Georgia is just a sign of things to come.


Buchanan complains that we included former Soviet satellites into NATO.  Tell that to the Poles and the Lithuanians.   One of the reasons we fought so hard in the Cold War was to free the Poles and Lithuanians from Russian domination.  Their membership in NATO assures their security and protects their freedom.  That fact should be celebrated, not lamented


Buchanan states that Russia’s resurgence does not threaten the United States.   Well, that depends on what kind of Russia resurges.  Is it one that values freedom, the free-market and democracy or one that values empire and authoritarianism?  Putin’s Russia is a threat to American interests (and the interests of the rest of the civilized world).  Not only do the Russians have a huge nuclear stockpile, they also have a plan to threaten oil and natural gas supplies that Western Europe and the United States need to keep their economies growing. 


And the Putin vision of capitalism should be scary to anybody who values the free market.  For Putin, the state has the right and the duty to replace any successful business owner with one of his Putin’s cronies.


For Putin, freedom of the press means that he is free to intimidate or kill those members of the press that he doesn’t like.


For Putin, freedom of religion means that the state and the Russian Orthodox Church have the freedom to kick any other kind of religion out of Russia. 


Putin is no mere nationalist.  He is an autocrat and his regime is a threat to the western world.   Buchanan should be ashamed of himself.