Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff at PostGlobal

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Germany

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. He overseas the fund's policy programs. He was previously the Washington bureau chief of the German newsweekly, Die Zeit. Close.

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Germany

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. more »

Main Page | Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Authoritarian Bully & Imperial Wannabe

Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin elite claim that the West has ignored, neglected, underestimated or bullied Russia for more than a decade. Perception can mirror reality. But we also need Russia -- the Russia unafraid to use its gas exports and UN Security Council veto for its own interests. Russia will need close attention again.

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Venkat:

People who want to read Dr. Elst can go to http://www.bharatvani.org/books/pp/ch2.htm. It is available free to read.

Hopefully, I wish some abdicating their 'faith' in these pseudo-prophets after their reading.

Venkat:

As I have been mentioning earlier the present conflicts on earth are driven by these two evil desert cults. Putin/Bush/Blair/ Musharaf or Al qeda are not the source of trouble but only the tools of these cults. Let's eradicate these pests for a better world. I quote Dr Elst below:

(From the book "Psychology of Prophetism: A Secular Look at the Bible" by Koenraad Elst)

Prophetic monotheism and Sanatana Dharma


"In the past century, people belonging to the Hindu-Buddhist cultural sphere have started projecting the characteristics of their own spiritual masters on the monotheist prophets. Thus, when Jesus says: “The Kingdom of God is among you”, meaning “I, Jesus, am the Kingdom of God”, these good-natured Orientals take it to mean: “The Kingdom of God is inside of you, waiting to be discovered through meditation.” They have started to say that the prophets were a kind of yogis who taught their followers a way to attain a divine state of consciousness.


In fact, prophecy is radically different from yoga: it means allowing an outside entity, which in the case of monotheism is called Yahweh/God/Allah, to blow certain consciousness contents into your mind. Consciousness is not turned inward, but is (or believes it is) communicating with another Being. Moreover, the mind is not being emptied of its contents and made to rest in itself, as it is in yoga; on the contrary, it is being filled with a message beyond one’s control. The prophet receives a certain information: prophecy is like talking, though with an unusual partner via an unusual channel; but yoga is silence. Lastly, if it is correct that prophethood is a mental aberration and a delusion, then that makes it the very antithesis of yoga, which is an undisturbed and realistic awareness of pure consciousness.


Yoga is not an erratic and disturbing experience which befalls you and drives you to tirades of doom and to outbursts against your fellow men. It is a systematic discipline and makes the practitioner calm and serene. The word yoga means discipline, control (it is also translated as “uniting”: not the soul with an outsider called God, but the mind with its object, i.e. concentration). Since its field of working is consciousness, it is not interested in outward experiences such as recognition and glorification, or martyrdom. There is nothing dramatic about yoga, in stark contrast to the dramas enacted and encountered by the prophets.


The most remarkable difference between the prophets’ discourse and that of the rishis, is certainly this. The prophets all talk about themselves a lot. They think they are very special, this one person in this one body is different from the rest and has an exclusive relationship with the Creator. But the rishis talked about a universal way, a world order in which we all participate, a state of consciousness we can all achieve. If God is defined as that which transcends all worldly differences, the One above the Many, then this universalism is far more divine than the prophets’ exclusivism.


What Hindus who have been trapped in a sentimental glorification of Jesus and other prophets will have to learn, is that the essence of Hindu Dharma is not “tolerance”, or “equal respect for all religions”, but Satya, truth. The problem with Christianity and Islam is superficially their intolerance and fanaticism. But this intolerance is a consequence of these religions’ untruthfulness: if your belief system is based on delusions, you have to pre-empt rational inquiry into it and shield it from contact with more sustainable thought systems. The fundamental problem with the monotheist religions is not that they are intolerant, but that they are untrue, (Asatya or Anrita).


At this point many Hindus will be sincerely shocked, they will object, and Christian polemists will express the same objection: “By denouncing some religions as untrue, you are making a pretentious claim to knowing the ultimate truth.” In the case of Christians who know and believe the essence of their religion, this objection is highly insincere, as they themselves are confidently claiming to possess the ultimate, God-given truth. Otherwise, the objection against absolute truth-claims may be valid. The point is that by denouncing the defining beliefs of Christianity (and similarly, Islam) as untrue, we are not making a claim to know the final truth. The quest for the final truth remains open. When scientists find that a certain hypothesis is empirically disproves, they henceforth treat it as untrue and move on to more promising hypotheses; this does not imply a pretentious claim to ultimate truth. It is simply that once a belief is found to be untrue, we should not burden ourselves with it anymore, so that we can keep ourselves free for something more true.


There are other respects also in which Christianity and Sanatana Dharma are radically different. Christianity worships a suffering convict on the cross, and consequently glorifies suffering. To a woman who was heavily suffering, mother Teresa wrote: “You should be grateful for this suffering. It is Christ’s way of kissing you.”


In a sense, there is something to it that “hardships are the spice of life, they mould the perfect man”. Even so, the unabashed glorification of happiness is a far healthier attitude than the glorification of suffering. Hardships will come anyway, but it is morbid to focus the mind on them unnecessarily. When Christians hear Chinese people wish each other “much wealth” or in fact “much money”, on New Year’s day, they find it rather shocking. When they see depictions of Lakshmi or Ganesh, with all their opulence and well-being and endless generosity, they find something is very wrong. At any rate, it is a kind of iconography which you will not find in any church.


Like Christianity, several Sanatana traditions, esp. Buddhism, focus on suffering. But they have an unambiguous verdict: suffering is the problem, we offer a way out of it. The common-sense position of mainstream Hindu sources like the Bhagavad Gita is that suffering is a fact of life, that we have to bravely face it, that enduring it makes us stronger; but not that we should glorify it. In Christianity, a straightforward remedy against suffering is always resented as a bit selfish; since we are sinners, suffering is what we deserve.


This attitude to suffering is symptomatic of the single most harmful characteristic of Christianity: its lack of balance. In traditional Pagan and secular systems of ethics, the principle of the Golden Mean is duly emphasized (Aristotle, Confucius, Buddha); by contrast, Christianity fosters a sentimental extremism.


The only Bible books that consist of lucid observations about life, are non-prophetic books like Proverbs and Qohelet (Ecclesiastes). They belong to a section of the Old Testament called Ketuvim, “Writings”, for which no divine source is claimed. Their source is just human and normal, rather like any collection of quotations or “Collected Proverbs from the Middle East”. These sayings range from the trivial and uninspired to the witty and the profound. Some good, some not so good, a few gems: your average human product. These human sayings have some good advice to offer on how to conduct life; in the prophetic revelations, it is hard to find any such good advice.


Prophetism has caused innumerable hardships without giving anything valuable in return. Not one of the valuable things in the cultures dominated by it, can be traced to their prophetic-monotheistic component. Its source has more often than not been mental darkness. Today, there is no justification for keeping humanity in the mental prison of prophetism any longer."


by:Koenraad Elst

The Self is the sun shining in the sky, The wind blowing in space; He is the fire
At the altar and in the home the guest;
He dwells in human beings, in Gods, in truth,
And in the vast firmament; He is the fish
Born in water, the plant growing in earth,
The river flowing down the mountain.
For this Self is supreme!
(Katha Upanishad II.2.2)

Venkat:

I already live in one- dictatorship under pseudo-secular run by a former Italian bar dancer and the Pope's "darling"

Walter:

Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff,
I find it hard to swallow reading such a one sided article from a journalist working for Die Zeit.
In my opinion the missile defense system proposed by the U.S. is not needed at this time and certainly not in Europe. Already at the beginning if the Iraq war the Bush administration has exploited Polish politicians to join the coalition of the willing.
The missile defense system is another repetition of this practice and the EU would be well advised to stop it. With the unification of Germany NATO promised not to install offensive military capabilities against Russia in the former East Block countries. I think it is entirely reasonable that Russia is suspicious. Once installed, the missile system can be modified. Furthermore why not install the system in Turkey - a NATO member?
I think Mr. Putin's proposal is very reasonable and should be examined.
Mr. Putin deserves credit for installing some order in Russia after the chaotic times under his predecessor. Russia should be given some time for democracy to develop to the equivalent of Western European countries. Mr. Bush's rhetoric is double talk. Certainly your article may endear you U.S. audiences but your opinions expressed are not representative of the mainstream in Germany.

moscow:

A fact-leaning discussion in WP? You've gotta be kidding me. Show me a single thoughtful discussion here about Russia. This is just a zoo of Russophobic paranoics. And this is, I have to admit, is somewhat entertaining like a freak show. What puzzles me is how you can discuss it seriously.

Jams:

Moscow,
There's a big difference between thoughtful fact-leaning discussion, and throwing slurs at others. Calling someone brain-washed because you disagree, and can't think of a valid argument, is neither discussion nor insight.

Venkat,
Since you like dictatorships please move to one and enjoy. If you don't become the darling of the dictator, check back in a decade and we'll compare notes on which system gives the better life to the most people.

Venkat:

Democracy is as bad as dictatorship. Many get elected only with a 3rd of people voting for them. The rest are sick of the politicians, their sleaze, womanizing and plunder. Maybe they learnt the tricks of the trade from the 12 "apostles" who elevated an ordinary self confessed Jew redeemer to Godhood. Marketing as a tool was fine tuned by the Church and politicians quickly learnt them. Panchayati Raj of India is the solution which the 1000 year holocaust and 400 year inquistion by smelly europeans who hardly knew about bathing, cleaning teeth or personal hygene, destroyed.

Democracy is really mobocracy and the Bush's and the Reagans are no different from their Al Capones are Gambinos. So none need worry that Russia does not have mobocracy- they have their brand which they'll fine tune. Who can forget the rigged election that this chimp Bush won. Right from the Supreme court filled with partisan judges right upto the election official it was rigging at its best. Did Indira Ghandy ghost give the Bush's coaching classes?

moscow:

One more brief comment. Take some of the most Russophobic media: WP, Times, WSJ, and Economist. In WP 90% of all comments textareas are disabled in my browser. This one is a rare exception. This is some weird bug. In Times most of my posts are being censored. WSJ and Economist simply don't have any comments. This way you live in the zoo of your own kind and feed each other with this Russophobic propaganda. Good luck with that.

moscow:

Jams, dude, when you talk about respect don't forget that you are that poor ignorant american who is being brainwashed by your media. Washington Pravda is called so for a reason. When you talk about absence of "free press, an independent judiciary, free and fair elections" all you have in your brainwashed brain is assossination of Politkovskaya and Khodorkovsky sentence. You've been told that Putin is reponsible for the first and Khodorkovsky is the innocent victim of the regime and you are are very comfortable with this propaganda. The neo cons are becoming so extremely hostile exactly for the reason that their propaganda is not working and they are losing any respect [not they they had much of it]

jams:

Seems like few here, actually, care to address Russia's desire for respect. The topic keeps shifting to how horrible 'others' are.

When I see Putin dismantling democracy in Russia, or see him bully his direct neighbors, it doesn't cause me to respect Russia. It causes me to fear it. Fear and respect are two different things.

What would cause me to respect Russia? A free press, an independent judiciary, free and fair elections, a country where businesses can't be stolen by cronies of the Kremlin, and a country where bribes don't have to be paid for basic services. Also respect would come, if Putin wasn't creating a Hitler-like youth movement to bully foreigners, and to bully other nations for invented wrongs.

I think Russia and the US have differing definitions of respect. Russia destroys freedom of the press and are shocked that the US doesn't suddenly respect them more. They can't understand that in the American culture giving freedom, and not destroying it, is what causes respect.

While it is true that the US can elect horrible leaders, the system has a self-correcting mechanism. Presidents have real term-limits, and they can't force through changes in the constitution and take sole power. Any left-over abuses tend to get fixed in a few election cycles. It's not a perfect system, and it sometimes takes too long, but, so far, there doesn't seem to be a better system that protects the liberty of its citizens.

Venkat:

Atheist why should West learn how to treat "Islamic pigs" from the Russians? Instead it can ask The Pope, the vatican and the different denominations of the Church situated in your Bible Belt. You Yanks sit on occupied territory after usurping looting and killing all the natives and you Guantomo Bayed the natives in reservations. Don't you preach. Remember Islam is only 1400 years old compared to your 2000 year bigotry. Give them another 600 years and they will also act like you and talk of democracy, life and liberty after killing the balance 50 million to equal your score of 150 million. Islam is the other side of the coin of the christian cult. Both should be destroyed.

lonewolf:

ohmygod!!! putin is going to aim missiles at europe!?!? did anyone really believe that the russians ever really quit aiming missiles at europe? did anyone really beleieve the u.s. eliminated all of our low level strategic warheads from europe? how totally utopian. what we need here is to return to the good 'ole days of nixon and kissinger to scare the hell outta them. bush doesn't understand that by playing the part of the bull in the china store, he doesn't really scare anyone anymore. putin is offering to let bush come to the caspian sea and get the oil. but thats only if bush can take it from him. so far, by getting two of our airbases yanked out from underneath of us in central asia and the russians signing a new deal to put in the first new pipelines coming from turmenistan and kazakstan, bush seems to be at the disadvantage. never underestimate the russians. hitler and napoleon did and look where it got them. if bush thinks he can dirty he is no match for putin. and as far as the poles go, well, they've never been smart enough to stay out of anybodys way. once again they seem to be inviting disaster.

Atheist, Boston, USA:

Despite the barbaric nature of Russian society, we Westerners can still learn important Russian ideas. One of the best such ideas is classic Russian techniques for dealing with Islamic animals. Visit the following web link.

http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/08/8938ce7e-5d54-45db-bd1c-92032901db38.html

The upper right of the web page at the above link has the following useful story for American strategists.

"Russia has had direct experience in dealing with Hizballah. In 1985, extremist groups in Lebanon linked to Hizballah kidnapped four Soviet diplomats, one of which was later killed.

International media at the time reported that the kidnappers received parcels with the decapitated heads of their close relations in order to secure the diplomats' release. However, speaking to TV-Tsentr on July 8, KGB Colonel Yury Perfiliev, who at the time headed the KGB's Beirut station, said the media reports were just a KGB bluff aimed at pressuring the kidnappers.

But according to Perfiliev, he met with the then-leader of Hizballah, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadallah, and told him that the Soviet Union could not tolerate such a humiliation. He said that if the kidnappers were not released then the Soviet Union could accidentally fire a nuclear missile in the direction of the Iranian city of Qom, where Ayatollah Khomeini and other top Muslim clerics lived. The three remaining prisoners were subsequently released."

The Iranian thugs have run amok with their nuclear research, which is a front for developing a nuclear bomb. The Kremlin can offer the Pentagon useful suggestions for dealing effectively with these Islamic animals.

mohammad allam:

muscular diplomacy,bully and imperialist.what are the wrong words for russia.west want that russia just be good boy by saying yes dad in security counsil,west policy towards muslim countries,loosing natural resources,oil and gass for westren mulinational companies etc.
every nation wants a word in international affairs,if russia cannot express and follow the free foreighn policy then what is the use of being a super power? in present time west is angry due to russian hurdle in case of iran and china and missile issue.you go with your misslie in the backyard of russia and ask russia to keep quit.if west is really a good in dealing then let have a joint missile system in russia and russian controll.the biggest question is that west want a missile shield there but against whom?
so donot worry the good boy russia will good untill west doesnot make it a naughty one.

Espi:

Respect can either be earned or demanded. To earn respect a nation needs to develop a strong economy and a strong military along with accoutrements of soft power based on its culture. This is a long term project with uncertain results. Russia has a strong military and thanks to oil, a strong economy. Yet it has not been given due recognition by the US. Hence the recourse to "demanding" respect through generation of fear.

Russia has shown it is ready, willing and able to take on the US be it US criticism of authoritarianism in Russia, brutal crushing of the Chechen rebellion, warning Ukraine, Georgia of severe consequences if they continue to challenge Russia at American instigation and finally threatening US to keep off Central Asia. It is a continuation of this tough posture that Russia opposes installation of US anti missile defences in Eastern Europe. Weakened by Iraq and the unwinnable battle in Afghanistan, the US is in a chastened mood and Russia knows it has no stomach for another armed adventure. Hence the US needs Russian help in getting Iran to go offline with its nuclear program and to bring stability in Eastern Europe including Kosovo, Ukraine and Georgia. In this effort Putin has the wholehearted approval of Russians unlike Bush who is distrusted by most Americans.

Holding a weak hand, the US has to get off its high horse and treat Russia with genuine respect if it wants to regain its lost initiative in world affairs.

moscow:

The author is so full of sheet that it is pointless to argue here. And no, he got it completely wrong. The main problem is not [respect] but that you are to much filled up with sheet to deal with you honestly. [The Washington Pravda becomes extremely Russophobic lately. I wonder why?]

Venkat:

Why did the US shelter Interpol's most wanted criminal, Archbishop Paul Marckinus http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special16/articles/0504priests-retire04.html.

Read Koenraad Elst http://www.bharatvani.org/books/negaind/ to know why syncretic societies of India and Asia need Putin against the likes of Bush's and Blairs, wolves in sheep clothing,.

Putin is no worse than these racialist, bigoted pale skins that dot Europe and occupy the territories of present USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Chile. Genocidal freaks with a penchant for child abuse stop preaching.

Venkat:

Why did the US shelter Interpol's most wanted criminal, Archbishop Paul Marckinus http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special16/articles/0504priests-retire04.html.

Read Koenraad Elst http://www.bharatvani.org/books/negaind/ to know why syncretic societies of India and Asia need Putin against the likes of Bush's and Blairs, wolves in sheep clothing,.

Putin is no worse than these racialist, bigoted pale skins that dot Europe and occupy the territories of present USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Chile. Genocidal freaks with a penchant for child abuse stop preaching.

Venkat:

Why did the US shelter Interpol's most wanted criminal, Archbishop Paul Marckinus http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special16/articles/0504priests-retire04.html.

Read Koenraad Elst http://www.bharatvani.org/books/negaind/ to know why syncretic societies of India and Asia need Putin against the likes of Bush's and Blairs, wolves in sheep clothing,.

Putin is no worse than these racialist, bigoted pale skins that dot Europe and occupy the territories of present USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Chile. Genocidal freaks with a penchant for child abuse stop preaching.

reporter, USA, http://theclearsky.blogspot.com/:

The G-7 is an organization of the major, prosperous democracies committed to Western values. When we Westerners admitted Russia into the G-7, creating the G-8, we expected that Russia would modernize along Western lines.

We were wrong.

Instead of strengthening Western society, the Russians have assaulted it. The Russian police routinely and savagely beat participants in peaceful human-rights demonstrations. The Kremlin has systematically taken control of independent television stations and ordered them to broadcast pro-Kremlin "news". The Russian government has also conspired to assassinate journalists. Read about Russian brutality at the following link.

Speak truth to power
--------------------
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9257663

Now, Vladimir Putin has threatened to aim Russian nuclear missiles at Europe. Prior to Russia's entry into the G-8, no member of the G-7 has ever threatened nuclear annihilation against another prosperous, Western democracy. Read the shocking story at the following link.

Vlad and MAD
------------
www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9304071&CFID=8373994&CFTOKEN=18041815

Threatening nuclear annihilation against Europe is serious business. We Westerners must respond.

We should expel Russia from the G-8.

Venkat:

We've had enough of Macaulays and Germans preaching democracy. Russia did not colonize as much you West Europeans did and who wrought untold miseries, loot plunder and rape wherever you went. The living proof is the occupied territories of Americas, Australia and New Zealalnd. Take back your "cousins" from these occupied territories and then start preaching. How many have you killed in 2000 years of Christian bigotry - 150 millions. And you talk of Putin, a bulwark against European imperialism.

Remember Rome and Greece were great civilizations till Christianity came along, today they are gutter societies. Banish Islam and Christian cults from the face of earth and we won't have to be bothered about much lesser dictators like Putin. What about the fraudsters and cassocked goons who spread their poisonous tentacles all over the world with their doctrine of total falsehood, how do they compare with "Russia's Kremlin's elite" as you call these defenders of Asia.

gary:

anybody remember teddy kennedy sending a message to the soviet unions leader telling him to confront reagan during the 1980's? if america is so bad why does everyone want to live here?

gary:

never forget that putin was part of a regime which killed millions. socialism has a track record and it ain't good.

M. Stratas:

Putin wants respect for Russia. There is nothing wrong with that. The United States has remained powerful after the disintegration of the USSR. There is really something wrong with the thinking that only America should have the power. Look what has happened to us under Bush: we invaded and have destroyed Iraq, established more military bases around the world, spend more money on the military and more weapons, threaten every 3rd world evil country with economic embargoes, kidnap terrorists and put them away in 3rd world countries that torture people, put up secret detention centers. We have actually adopted some practices that Soviet Russia used to do. We think we are so steeped in democratic principles - think again.

anton:

russia's economy is some 14% the size of gringolandias. its population 47% our size. and dropping. while ours is growing. their army was
kicked out of afghanistan. and has had a very hard
time subduing some 700,000. chechens. it tries to
bully estonia (a country less than 1% its size), has killed tens of thousands of chechen civilians with the most inhumane munitions. tortures opponents of its regime routinely. kills reporters that don't toe the line. robs oligarchs who don't go along with the kremlins robberies. and has few friends in the world. as well as suppresses all
political dissent. ie most public demonstrations.

it will never again be a superpower. it will at best be a giant france with lots of natural resources. which does make it a significant country, but hardly what it once was.

ataa

Salamon:

A Reader:

Did you not read Russia has sown up all major oil fields gas fields within the old USSR, with all pipelines going through Russia. your hope of alternative oil/gas routes are pipedreams similar in value as Bush's democratic ME.

Being a Bostonian, perhaps you shold worry what your presidential candidates plan on doing to better life in the USA [Health Care, New Orleans, infrastructure, investment re Globnal Warming, etc] rather than what they would do to Russia - for the simple answer is they have to put up with Russia, except if these ambitious politicians want to go to war with A bombs. IO do not presume that an ATOMIC WAR IS AMONG YOUR WISHES.

A Reader, Boston:

Dealing with Russians these days is like trying to handle a burn victim - anything you do hurts them. They were proud of their military parity with the West and can't accept that if their weapons are off the table, they're just a large, under-developed supplier of raw materials to the rest of the world. With a Security Council veto. Lowering the cost of hydrocarbons by ending the war in Iraq, developing new technologies and ensuring alternative routes for pipelines to supply Europe would help temper the current unpleasant assertiveness.

With the public waiting to see who Putin picks to follow him, there doesn't seem to be much chance of any political change soon. They're even writing in the papers about amending the Constitution to allow Putin to come back after a year out of office for up to 14 more years. It wouldn't hurt to start asking presidential hopefuls (in the US) what their ideas are for dealing with Russia.

lonewolf:

of course we need russia, and more than ever i might add. if putin were a little better in the public relations dept. he would have bush over the barrel. putins latest shenanigans is to discuss moving the so-called "missile shield" into azerbaijan. ironic is it not that this is dead center of two-thirds of the proposed oil and gas pippelines comong out of central asia, and well within reach of afghanistan. everyone knows that defensively based missile would be used as offensive weapons if the need so arose. and since defensive missiles for the most part don't work at all, this was a gambit that putin used very well. all he had to do was to throw the 'ole oil card on the table and good king george took the bait.this also allowed putin to for the most part assure himself of at least a better than fair share of the oil wealth encircling the caspian sea. why not use oil and gas as economic weapons? sure beats spending billions of dollars on spendy little ventures like the wars in afghanistan and iraq, right? a little less on the risky side, and i might add, a lot less deadly.

Paco:

If the previous answers were put forth by idiots, I am afraid of not being able to describe the one that qualifies them. If that is being a liberal -whatever that may mean, i still do not understand it- count me in. From Europe, the bully is the USA, there are no russian bases here, there are USA bases and I'd love to see them go.

Saint:

"Mike" you sound simnple and narrow-minded. Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff is discussing Russia. Can we not discuss a specific, independent topic like this without you shoving your personal liberal agenda down our throats?

Saint:

The two who reponded so far sound like narrow-minded idiots. Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff is discussing Russia. Can we not discuss a specific, independent topic like this without you liberals shoving your agenda down our throats?

OD:

NATO promised Russia in 1991 that it wouldn't build bases in former Warsaw Pact countries. That promise was immediately broken, in fact the US has built bases right inside the former Soviet Union itself.

NATO promised Russia in 1998 that it wouldn't put advanced weapons in any former Warsaw Pact countries. It is now breaking that promise with this ridiculous ABM system that is so obviously aimed at Russia. And, of course, the US also unilaterally tore up the ABM treaty to do it.

Since the end of the Cold War, the US has advanced on every front and has troops in places like: Mongolia, Tajikistan,

Basically, the Russians abolished communism, detargeted their missiles, withdrew from eastern Europe...and America responded by ringing them with hostile bases.

While Russians wanted to feel that they had reformed their system and were building democracy, pundits and hawks in Washington successfully pushed an alternative narrative of 1989-92 - that the US had "won the Cold War" by beating Russia in an arms race.

In the mid-90s, while other countries were beating swords into ploughshares, taking the peace dividend, America's military budget began to rise again for no apparent reason...besides arms industry lobbyists.

These powerful lobbyists congregated in thinktanks like the Project for a New American Century, whose ideas became American policy when its members (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolowitz, Perle, Libby etc) entered government with the coming of the Bush Administration.

America has since started an unprovoked, illegal war as part of the PNAC prescription for achieving American strategic dominance and pre-eminence, as they like to call it. America’s military spending today is greater than the other 191 countries of the Earth combined. America has troops in 132 of the world’s 192 countries, and that number grows every year.

Even Britain, America’s sidekick, has a HIGHER military budget than the supposed bully Russia.

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff’s complaints about Russian bullying and intimidation are as convincing as the similar plaints of Joachim von Ribbentrop, a fellow admirer of “muscular diplomacy”.

Mike:

Authoritarian bully and imperial wannabe? When I read this title I thought the article was going to be about Bush. For it is Bush who has invaded, destroyed and is still occupying a country that was no threat to us (a war crime by the standards of Nuremberg) and has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people - so that his oil cronies could rip off Iraq's oil.
We have no shame.
And the hypocrisy of it all when we take the high moral ground.
We have no shame.

bigger pic:

Muscular Diplomacy is fine, if you like. But the Russian's biggest job in the near/mid future is to keep the Jews from fomenting the revoloution they so stridently desire. Nothing changes.
Read some inside journals and the innards of the "think tanks".
And note this administration likes the idea of cold war...or at least follows the neocons like a donkey. (the path to...)
And sir, do you MIND that Russia uses it's veto and oil to forward it's interests?

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.