Amidst the death and destruction in Georgia, the neo-conservative reaction here in the United States is a sight to behold.
Aggression, the neo-cons are screaming. The Russians are waging an unprovoked war of aggression, they’re exclaiming. This is unacceptable, they’re declaring. Something must be done, they’re saying.
Where were all those terms when the U.S. government attacked Iraq, a country that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so? If there was ever a case in which an illegal and immoral war of aggression was waged against another country, it was Iraq.
Yet, what did the neo-cons say about the Iraq invasion and occupation? Oh, it’s not a war of aggression, they said, but rather a war of liberation, of freedom, of democracy-spreading — well, at least once those infamous WMDs failed to materialize.
But all of a sudden Russia attacks Georgia in response to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s sending of troops into South Ossetia, and all of a sudden the neo-cons experience a gigantic moral awakening in which they see nothing but unlawful, immoral, and arrogant belligerence and aggression.
You see — in the neo-con mind, when the U.S. government attacks countries, that is automatically considered good. When the Russian government attacks countries, that is automatically considered bad.
But let’s give credit where credit is due: Not only did the neo-cons’ poking of hornets’ nests in the Middle East give rise to 9/11 and the war on terrorism, the clever neo-con use of NATO has now helped to poke the Russian hornet’s nest, giving the neo-cons another excuse — “the resurgence of the communist threat” — to take away even more of our freedoms.
Let’s not forget what the purpose of NATO was — to protect Europe from the Soviet communists (who were the former partner of the U.S. government in World War II and to whose control U.S. officials had delivered Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Baltics).
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the obvious step would have been to dismantle NATO, given that its mission was now moot. That’s not what U.S. officials did, however. Instead, they kept NATO in existence and then began using it to take a series of provocative actions against Russia, such as proposing the installation of missiles in Eastern Europe.
U.S. officials also sought to have Georgia, which is a former Soviet republic, join NATO, which would have meant more U.S. missiles on Russia’s border.
Now, the neo-cons are claiming that the Russians are behaving ridiculously in objecting to such actions. They are suggesting that it is Russia’s duty to simply obey the U.S. Empire and comply with its directives. After all, they say, the intentions of the U.S. government are entirely peaceful, defensive, and non-threatening. Everyone knows, they say, that the U.S. government doesn’t attack and wage wars of aggression and occupy other countries or engage in regime-change operations through such actions as assassinations, coups, and bribery. The U.S. government is the embodiment of good, they say. Just trust us and obey us, they say to the Russians.
Now, imagine this: Suppose Russia were to enter into an alliance with Mexico, Cuba, and Grenada in which Russia planned to construct military bases and install missiles in those three countries. Ask yourself: Would not the neo-cons go ballistic? Would they not be calling for invading all three countries and implementing regime change?
Of course they would. They would never allow “the communists” to gain a “foothold” in the Western Hemisphere. After all, who has forgotten the violent regime-change operations in Guatemala, Chile, Cuba, Grenada, Nicaragua, and elsewhere during the Cold War?
Fortunately, the neo-cons are not calling for U.S. military intervention to protect the Georgians from Russian aggression. That’s limited to Third World regimes that lack the military to defend themselves, such as when Iraq invaded Kuwait. But Americans ought to be thanking their lucky stars that commitment to principle has never been a strong suit within the neo-con community. Better that the neo-cons limit their punitive actions against Russia to canceling its membership in the G8 than risking war with Russia as part of the U.S. government’s self-appointed role as the world’s international policeman.