2016-06-08

Sleepwalking once again into war, this time nuclear

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

http://static.kremlin.ru/media/events/photos/big/fdPIA2gpDXpa3tZvdgqJMuvwDGr5tDAx.jpeg

http://static.kremlin.ru/media/events/photos/big/fdPIA2gpDXpa3tZvdgqJMuvwDGr5tDAx.jpeg

Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, scares me. He compares in Frontline Ukraine the current international tensions over Ukraine with those over the Balkans prior to World War 1. He further compares the dynamics between NATO/”Wider Europe” and Russia with those between Western Europe/UK and Germany prior to World War 2.

frontlineukraineOn the one hundredth anniversary of World War I and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the start of World War II, and 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Europe once again finds itself the cockpit of a great-power confrontation. How could Europe have allowed itself to end up in this position, after so many promises of ‘never again’? This is the worst imbroglio in Europe since the 1930s, with pompous dummies parroting glib phrases and the media in full war cry. Those calling for restraint, consideration and dialogue have not only been ignored but also abused, and calls for sanity have not only been marginalised but also delegitimated. It is as if the world has learned nothing from Europe’s terrible twentieth century. (Sakwa, R. 2015, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, I.B. Taurus, London. p. 1, bolding mine in all quotations)

Sakwa continues:

The slew of books published to commemorate the start of the Great War reveals the uncanny similarities with the situation today. The war cost at least 40 million lives and broke the back of the continent, yet in certain respects was entirely unnecessary and could have been avoided with wiser leadership. If key decision makers had not become prisoners of the mental constructs that they themselves had allowed to be created, and if the warning signs in the structure of international politics had been acted on, then the catastrophe could have been averted. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 could well have remained a localised incident if Europe had not already been poised for conflict. (p. 1)

Those are disturbing words.

Europe in 2014 has once again become the crucible of international conflict, harking back to an era that has so often been declared to be over. Today, Ukraine acts as the Balkans did in 1914, with numerous intersecting domestic conflicts that are amplified and internationalised as external actors exacerbate the country’s internal divisions. (p. 3)

So far I have only read the first two chapters but I read them while the news was hailing as historic the rise and rise of Hillary Clinton towards the White House. And that makes the insights and warnings of Sakwa’s book even more scary. Sakwa documents Hillary Clinton’s attitude towards Russia as epitomizing the worst of the blindly destructive and culpably foolish that beset the leaders who stumbled into war in 1914.

I found Sakwa’s description of Ukraine, both historical and contemporary, most enlightening. I had not grasped just how deep-seated are the roots of the divisions in Ukraine that we are now witnessing, or how ancient is some of the puerile and fascist sounding anti-Russian talk coming out of Ukraine’s leaders today. Nor had I realized how equally ancient are the voices of pluralism seeking partnership with Russian and other Slav peoples.

Most depressing is the way the EU has tied itself to advancing the very divisions and conflicts in Europe that it was originally founded to obliterate. There is a pattern expressed in the books I have been reading. Afshon Ostovar in Vanguard of the Imam shows how the Iranians in response to 9/11 were offering much practical information and assistance to the United States to enable them to locate and capture the al Qaeda and Taliban targets they most wanted, but how the US rebuffed these efforts because they came from Iran. Sakwa shows the same pattern of Western rejection of anything coming from an increasingly demonised Russia.

In this context, here is some of what Sakwa tells us about Hillary Clinton’s views on Russia:

A very different approach was adopted by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in President Barack Obama’s first administration from 2009 to 2013. In her memoirs Hard Choices she stresses US global leadership and the country’s commitment to democracy and human rights, which is hardly surprising, but more disturbing is the harsh inability to understand the logic of Russian behaviour. As long ago as 2008, during her failed presidential bid, Clinton asserted that Putin, as a former KGB agent, ‘doesn’t have a soul’, to which Putin riposted that anyone seeking to be US president ‘at a minimum […] should have a head’. She interpreted actions in support of independent Russian political subjectivity as an aggressive challenge to American leadership, rather than the normal expression of great-power autonomy in what Russia considers a multipolar world of independent nation states. She takes a consistently hawkish view of the world, urging Obama to take stronger action in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, but when it comes to Russia her views are particularly harsh and unenlightened. She considers Putin a throwback to a nineteenth-century world of zero-sum realpolitik, intent on rebuilding the Russian Empire through Eurasian integration. Through this prism, she interprets Russian actions in Georgia in 2008 and in Crimea in 2014 as part of an aggressive strategy, rather than as defensive reactions to perceived challenges.

. . . Her Cold War stance is reflected in her parting injunction to Obama that ‘the only language Putin would understand’ is ‘strength and resolve’. (p. 33)

A word search (I have not yet read past chapter 3) takes me to the following:

Hillary Clinton packed the State Department with ‘Democrat’ neoconservatives with a messianic and Manichean view of the world. Clinton herself had few achievements in her four years as the American foreign minister, and has since concentrated on positioning herself as a potential candidate in the US presidential election of 2016 by scoring easy points – and there are no easier points than Russia-bashing. (p. 217)

. . . .

For months the West has been demonising President Putin, with figures such as the Prince of Wales and Hillary Clinton comparing him with Hitler, oblivious to the fact that what set this crisis in motion were those recklessly provocative moves to absorb Ukraine into the EU. (p. 253, quoting Christopher Booker, ‘Fresh evidence of how the West lured Ukraine into its orbit‘, Telegraph (8 August 2014).)

Added since I made the comment below:

Even the Cold War architect of Containment, George Kennan, was horrified:

The implications of NATO enlargement were substantively debated. In an interview with Thomas Friedman in 1998, the doyen of international diplomacy and the architect of the original policy of ‘containment’ of the Soviet Union in the post-war years, George Kennan, was unsparing in his condemnation. Kennan spoke with dismay about the Senate’s ratification of NATO expansion plans:

220px-Kennan

Kennan


I think the Russians will 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 anyone else […] This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed on to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way.

Not for the first time the ‘superficial and ill-informed’ nature of Congressional discussion was condemned. Equally, he added words that remain a portent for today:


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.

(Sakwa, R. 2015, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, I.B. Taurus, London. pp. 45-46)

 

What can we do?

23 Comments

  • 2016-06-09 02:40:36 UTC - 02:40 | Permalink

    “This is the worst imbroglio in Europe since the 1930s”

    -Probably the 1960s.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=6jb9AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA142&lpg=PA142&dq=%22the+most+terrifying+of+the+Cold+War%22&source=bl&ots=ifpC9U7aOh&sig=ToRwsRjWFtzVGkofX96xioNIjag&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYh-_Dl5nNAhVSNFIKHcCuBvQQ6AEIJjAC#v=onepage&q=%22the%20most%20terrifying%20of%20the%20Cold%20War%22&f=false

    “while the news was hailing as historic the rise and rise of Hillary Clinton towards the White House”

    -The weight of history says this is unlikely:

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/04/history-is-not-on-the-democrats-side-in-2016/

    Fortunately, the Donald was the least anti-Russia candidate of 2015-16.

    I, myself, am Russian-American, so I’ve always found most of the anti-Russia grandstanding by media figures in America stupid. The worst of these during the primaries were Christie and Rubio, both of whom are now Trump supporters.

    It’s interesting that Trump has formed behind him a coalition of rivals.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2016-06-09 04:08:36 UTC - 04:08 | Permalink

    Even the Cold War architect of Containment, George Kennan, was horrified:

    The implications of NATO enlargement were substantively debated. In an interview with Thomas Friedman in 1998, the doyen of international diplomacy and the architect of the original policy of ‘containment’ of the Soviet Union in the post-war years, George Kennan, was unsparing in his condemnation. Kennan spoke with dismay about the Senate’s ratification of NATO expansion plans:220px-Kennan


    I think the Russians will 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 anyone else […] This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed on to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way.

    Not for the first time the ‘superficial and ill-informed’ nature of Congressional discussion was condemned. Equally, he added words that remain a portent for today:


    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.

    (Sakwa, R. 2015, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, I.B. Taurus, London. pp. 45-46)

  • j f d'auria
    2016-06-09 06:25:06 UTC - 06:25 | Permalink

    great , enlightening and depressing.

  • Eliza
    2016-06-09 08:20:22 UTC - 08:20 | Permalink

    First- sorry for my language.

    “I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe”.

    Maybe it’s true? People from Tallinn to Tbilisi used to live under Russian regime long before 1917. But now those nations have chance to integrate whit EU. That integration brings great opportunity for civilizing whole society. Russia, whit mafia-like government and great sentiment for “imperial times” sees that as a threat. That’s why majority of Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, etc. finds NATO essential.

    I’m writing this from eastern Poland and for me it’s clear, that relations between RUS and UKR are far more complicated than Richard Sakwa show on his book. One just can not say, that anti-russian sentiment in Ukraine is caused only by, as You said, “puerile and fascist sounding anti-Russian talk coming out of Ukraine’s leaders today”. Soviet occupation over those lands had not only ideological aspect, but also ethnical. Nations such as Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, whose and lived there from centuries suffer in millions of victims. Timothy D. Snyder wrote interesting book about that: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlands .

    BTW I love Your blog Neil! Great job!

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-06-09 10:39:04 UTC - 10:39 | Permalink

      Hi Eliza. Glad you like the blog.

      Your viewpoint about Russia, history and the experiences of Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, etc and others is certainly covered in depth by Richard Sakwa, along with the related strong desire of those peoples to integrate with EU and come under the NATO umbrella. The horrors of the “Holodomor” (“the hunger extermination” of the Ukrainian people under Stalin) are addressed directly by Sakwa, too. Further discussed is the way this event has shaped the national identity of many Ukrainians and the debate in Ukraine itself over its genocidal intent, etc.

      Dismaying as it often is to the people directly involved, scholarly analysis attempts to understand and describe the various points of view from an outsider perspective. The people being described may not always like the outsider’s arms-length perspective.

      Fwiw, here is a section from Sakwa’s book where he addresses Snyder’s “Bloodlands”:

      The struggle for the lands between Russia and Western Europe has endured for as long as the modern European state system has existed.1 For centuries Russia and Poland contested a territory with shifting boundaries and evolving identities. In our era Ukraine suffered inordinately from the clash between the two great totalitarian despotisms of our time, Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. The larger region became what Timothy Snyder calls the ‘bloodlands’ (what are today the modern states of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states) in which some 14 million non-combatants were killed between 1933 and 1945, with Germany responsible for twice as many deaths as the USSR. Even before then, what Snyder calls ‘the Soviet famines’ in the early 1930s saw at least 3.3 million die of hunger in Ukraine and the Kuban as Stalin allowed whole peoples to perish.2 This catastrophe of almost unimaginable proportions affected Ukraine most deeply, and is today represented by nationalists as the Holodomor, the deliberate genocide of the Ukrainian people. As late as 1989 Melvin Croan identified the region as the seismic fault line across the continent.3 It remains so to this day. The Ukraine crisis has signalled the return of the Baltic–Black Sea conflict system, described as ‘the Intermarium’ by Vadim Tsymbursky. It is here that two visions of Europe come into contention: on the one side there is ‘Wider Europe’, with the EU at its heart but increasingly coterminous with the Euro-Atlantic security and political community; and on the other side there is the idea of ‘Greater Europe’, a vision of a continental Europe, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok, that has multiple centres, including Brussels, Moscow and Ankara, but with a common purpose in overcoming the divisions that have traditionally plagued the continent. Two actual and potential orders in Europe interact and clash in Europe today, generating contestation in the borderlands. (p. 22)

  • Eliza
    2016-06-09 12:28:25 UTC - 12:28 | Permalink

    Thank You, Neil, for that fragment from Sakwa’s book.

    Intermarium is important word in public discuss in Poland nowadays. That’s because of our “imperial” tradition of Commonwealth, but also because Russia leaders want to build “greater Europe” on partnership with Berlin, Paris, maybe Rome but not with, for example, Warsaw, Vilnius or Riga. Something like a neocolonialism in the very heart of Old Continent. Both projects have two common problems – one is history, full of blood. And of course only the Empires ruled from Moscow or Berlin shed that blood. Second problem is low level of civilization here, communist heritage and earlier traditions of Russian absolutism or socage. That’s why even if western goverments would have deepest possible understanding of this part of world, and clean intentions, that will be not enought to ensure peace. Putin maybe not devil himself, but he is only human, put in very specific circumstances and historical context.

    Besides all that, I hope there will be no another great war. Why? because all eastern europeans want to live like those from west. Civilizing process will rather continue here, i think. We want to read controversial biblical blogs, learn that difficult language of Yours and enjoy our barbecue 😉 or, go to holidays in tuscan palace, if you are Putin:-)

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-06-09 19:43:55 UTC - 19:43 | Permalink

      Completely understood! Your feelings and experiences in relation to Russia and the West and Europe are well understood. We see them reflected regularly in the media and anyone who knows immigrants from Eastern Europe in Australia soon learns that they firmly hold to the same kinds of views that you have expressed here. Any historian worth his or her salt will recognize and acknowledge and respect your world-view. And Sakwa certainly does: he describes the very thoughts that you yourself have outlined here and explains that they are a very real factor to be understood by any historian.

      Your experiences, beliefs, understandings of the world, of Russia, of Europe, are not disrespected or denied by Sakwa or other historians or specialists who are analysing and attempting to understand the dynamics of the larger picture of what is happening in the world.

      The good historian also studies the evidence for the Russian point of view, too. That does not mean he or she treats Russia as a saintly power. The point is to have an evidence-based understanding of all points of view and the dynamics among them. It is just as important to understand Russian voices as it is to understand those of the Poles, Ukrainians and others. If we only hear the perspective of one side, or insist on rejecting the perceptions of another as false, then we are guaranteed a situation of never-ending conflict.

      Russia, in fact, and the evidence is clear, had no objection to east European groups joining the EU — until, that is, NATO took over and betrayed the original vision of a Europe turning away from “the logic of conflict”. As Kennan himself said, there was absolutely no need for NATO to take on the stance that it did after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      As the Communist systems collapsed from autumn 1989 onwards, there was a fundamental consensus in countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic in favour of liberal democracy, market reform and, above all, the ‘return to Europe’. There were domestic debates, setbacks and contradictions, but overall political, social and geopolitical goals lined up. The accession wave of May 2004 included not only the Central and Eastern European states of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, but also the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (together with the Republic of Cyprus and Malta). In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined, and in July 2013 Croatia. This was an exemplary manifestation of the ‘Wider Europe’ model of development, and it undoubtedly delivered substantial benefits to the countries concerned. No less important, there was no external resistance at this point to EU enlargement. On its own it posed no security threat to Russia, and it was only later, when allied with NATO enlargement and the aggressive promotion of Western democracy, that expansion encountered resistance. (p. 27)

      Most tragically it was the subsequent proposals of Russia to form a new truly inclusive European security treaty to be sure the old divisions of Europe that had led to past wars would not be rebuilt. NATO powers dismissed this suggestion and opted to a return to a Europe dominated by regional conflicts once again — as per the days preceding 1914 and 1939. Hence America, Russia and Europe are poised once again for conflict.

  • Griffin
    2016-06-09 18:30:27 UTC - 18:30 | Permalink

    I’m worried that taking this too seriously plays into the hands of the Right. Which wants to cast it as the revival of the cold war. Thus actively repolarizing the situation between east and west. And really, restarting the cold war. With its danger of WWIII.

  • 2016-06-09 19:44:22 UTC - 19:44 | Permalink

    “Her Cold War stance is reflected in her parting injunction to Obama that ‘the only language Putin would understand’ is ‘strength and resolve’.”

    Putin understands the language of ‘strength and resolve’ perfectly; it is evident he does so by his rebuilding of Russia’s strength and has so far shown steely resolve and restraint in the twin disasters of Syria/ISIS/Iraq and the Ukraine.

    Dmitry Orlov last week posted this warning from several Russian-Americans plus some US luminaires that if the United States were to keep bear-baiting Russia into World War 3, the United States will find itself at the very least with no economy, no working infrastructure and no government; and at the very worst, it will be reduced to a radioactive ashtray.

    In other words, WW3 is death to America! Ugh.

    PS Reblogging this at Fin des Vioes Rapides (if Peak Oil Were No Object) at blogspot-dot-com.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-06-09 20:43:24 UTC - 20:43 | Permalink

      Vote Hillary, risk human extinction by nuclear war; vote Donald, risk human extinction by unprecedented global warming. Do we prefer to go with a bang or a whimper?

      • 2016-06-09 20:44:54 UTC - 20:44 | Permalink

        I prefer neither.

      • David Ashton
        2016-06-09 23:34:08 UTC - 23:34 | Permalink

        On this analysis wouldn’t time be on the side of a 4-year Trump presidency? There’s an unexpectedly novel reason for US citizens to vote for him. Trouble is, the rest of us have no say in the outcome.

        • 2016-06-11 17:37:01 UTC - 17:37 | Permalink

          Those of us in the USA who live in safe GOP-majority states have no say in the matter, either. We have this curious thing called the Electoral College that gives a skew to the popular vote for whoever occupies the Office of the President.

          I live in Louisiana, for example. It will definitely go for Trump.

          • David Ashton
            2016-06-11 23:25:38 UTC - 23:25 | Permalink

            Another thing wrong with the US electoral system, to my English eyes, is your system of massive donations by rich people and interests. Sanders reportedly stated that he will now back Clinton to bring political control away from the one per cent (which Obama appears not have attempted during two terms) and back (?) to the “people”.

            Research into Clinton’s past and present millionaire backers makes this a shade problematic, although at the time of writing I do not know whether Trump has accepted final-fight money from Adelson – thereby reviving the old “joke” that, in America, Democracy perennially means government of the people for the people chosen by the Chosen People.

            The current bridge-building by Israel with Russia and Sunni regimes, plus the emergent international reach of China, bring new complexities which neither Clinton nor Trump are likely to handle very successfully, though for different reasons.

            In the UK we have the problem of “safe” and “marginal” seats, so that the House of Commons does not reflect the numbers of total votes cast for the parties. A referendum on a particular issue can yield a straight vote, but the less about the forthcoming EU choice, and the level of “debate”, the better, which might in any case stick me “in moderation” for straying outside the blog-boundary issue of Ukraine and NATO.

  • 2016-06-09 20:44:24 UTC - 20:44 | Permalink
  • 2016-06-09 20:53:18 UTC - 20:53 | Permalink

    Well here’s what the CFR has to say about Trump and Russia;

    http://www.cfr.org/campaign2016/donald-trump/on-russia

    Trump’s not consistent on Russia! Not good.

  • dn
    2016-06-12 19:46:28 UTC - 19:46 | Permalink

    Good God, what is with all these people thinking that they can take Donald Trump’s supposed dovishness seriously? He’s not a dove or an isolationist; to the extent that he’s anything at all, he’s an old-fashioned advocate of brutal pre-WWI-style colonialism, as intelligent commentators of both left and right understand:

    http://www.vox.com/world/2016/5/27/11608580/donald-trump-foreign-policy-war-iraq-hillary-clinton
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/no-trump-isnt-an-isolationist/

    He supported the war in Iraq, supported intervention in Libya, he still thinks we should “bomb the shit out of ISIS”, and he will be first in line to cheerlead for any other war, particularly if it’s against brown people. He has no substantive views apart from a general racist/colonialist mindset (of a pre-WWI mold – have you heard him babbling about taking Iraq’s and Libya’s oil?) and a nose for what will win applause. If the war-with-Russia drums actually start to beat, he will be right out in front of the parade. The idea that there is less danger of nuclear annihilation with him at the helm than Clinton is ridiculous.

    That said, yes, the American paranoia about Russia is pathetic and Clinton is a mindless hawk and I don’t trust her judgment on foreign affairs any farther than I can throw her.

    • David Ashton
      2016-06-13 00:05:58 UTC - 00:05 | Permalink

      The comments on The American ‘Conservative’ article are also worth perusal. I don’t see much evidence that Trump wants to kill foreigners because they are “brown”.

      Who is war-drumming against Russia, and why? Not even American [neo] ‘Conservatives’ now that Bibi has made yet another overture to Putin. Soros? – but he is backing Clinton.

      But what a choice for the West, and what a comment on the way the US political system works!

      • dn
        2016-06-16 05:19:09 UTC - 05:19 | Permalink

        Of course Trump denies that he “wants to kill foreigners because they are brown”. He just openly opines it’s morally acceptable and even desirable to go into their countries, conquer them like they did “in the old days” (i.e. of William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt – remember the Maine!), and take control of their natural resources by force of arms. But not kill them, oh no, never!

        As for “who is war-drumming against Russia?”: nobody in particular, yet. That’s why I said “if”. Part of what I meant to convey with my first comment is that Trump, besides his virulent nationalism and racism, is not actually as independent of the US foreign policy establishment as people seem to think. His history is one of expressing vaguely anti-establishment nationalist views while effectively conforming to the conservative orthodoxy – or worse – every time a major substantive decision has to be made. His positions on Iraq and Libya show the exact same pattern: start out by claiming to be pro-intervention; then, after things go south, claim to have always been against intervention, but suggest that as long as we’re already there we might as well take the oil, and screw morality. In reality, of course, this is all bullshit in the Frankfurtian sense; in the course of the current campaign Trump has already shown a willingness to outsource substantive policy questions to mainstream GOP institutions – see his “short list” of potential Supreme Court nominees, all vetted by the likes of the Heritage Foundation – and there is no reason to believe that he would not do the same with every other department of government. Who’s going to be his Secretary of State, of Defense, etc? My guess is they will all be mainstream conservative types, i.e. members of the same gang that blundered into Iraq in the first place.

        • 2016-06-16 19:35:52 UTC - 19:35 | Permalink

          It is also the same gang that kept screwing the working and middle classes after the Democratic technocrats had their turn. Now the rural white working classes are considered by Republican insiders as “those people” who should just get a U-haul hi-cube van and look for jobs elsewhere in the country and as those who are superflurous to the US economy. One Republican wag actually wrote in the National Review something to the effect that they are a drag on society and that should just die already.

        • dn
          2016-07-20 18:51:24 UTC - 18:51 | Permalink

          Not go all “I told you so”, but, well, I told you so:

          Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

          When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

          Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

          “Making America great again” was the casual reply.

          Outsourcing all of domestic and foreign policy to the GOP establishment. Note that Mike Pence, Trump’s actual VP pick, is a hawk who voted for the Iraq War during his Congress stint, is hostile to Russia, and has used Cold War-type rhetoric (“a new Iron Curtain”, “our policy of conciliatory diplomacy [with Russia] has failed”, calls for new missile defense systems) to describe the present state of affairs in Eastern Europe.

  • RoHa
    2016-06-15 04:49:13 UTC - 04:49 | Permalink

    I’m not sure “sleepwalking” is the right word. To me, they seem to be awake and aware of what they are doing. They just don’t seem to realise how disastrously stupid it is.

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