Wages of Arrogance

A quarter-century of American diplomatic arrogance toward Russia, and the exploitation and temporary ruination of the Russian economy by the combined forces of Washington, Wall Street, and the Harvard Economics Department, are currently reaping their just deserts.  (See “Wreckers and Builders,” by Anne Williamson.)  Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the possibility for rapprochement between the United States and Russia was a real possibility.  (Kissinger did not wait on the fall of the People’s Republic of China to establish relations with Beijing.)  But America’s smugly superior hectoring of the Kremlin to turn the country into a liberal democracy in the Western style, having made reconciliation impossible, further ensured that the Russians would do just the opposite of what the Americans wished, domestically and abroad—and not just the “near abroad.”  In short, the United States created her own new rival over the grave of the old one.  Because the Russian establishment lives in the real world, and its American counterpart in a make-believe one, that was a very foolish thing for it to do.  For this the U.S. is now paying a price—in humiliation, certainly, and perhaps in global power and reach as well.  In its attempts to deal with the Kremlin,...

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